Two years ago on my first week as a state senator I wrote in my very first weekly update:

“This past 8 days have been a whirlwind of activity. The 105th Legislature convened on Wednesday, Jan. 4 and immediately after we were sworn in, the Legislature went about the business of electing committee chairs for the various committees. No one can remember the last time 3 freshman were appointed to committee chairs. The Lincoln paper referred to the 4th of January as a “political earthquake.” I have been appointed to be the Vice-Chair of the Govt., Military and Veteran Affairs Committee with Sen. Murante as Chairman; and I am also serving on the Banking, Commerce, and Insurance Committee.”

As I watched the 13 new senator’s experience the first day of the 106th Legislature this week, I couldn’t help but be reminded of what my staff and I experienced.

Julie and Tony (staff members) were both also brand new to their roles and were just as wide-eyed and overwhelmed as I was. Fresh off his most recent deployment to Afghanistan, Tony remarked the last time he had been in the Capitol building was on a field trip in 4th grade.

Julie was no stranger to the Capitol, being a very active citizen in many political issues. She had just moved all the way from Cheyenne, Wyo. to be on my staff.

The past two years have been a steep learning curve for all of us, but we’re making a lot of progress and have become the best team in the legislature.

I was honored this year by my colleagues to be elected the chairman of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee.

I am now assigned to the Education Committee, where I think I’ll have more to contribute than I did on the Banking Committee.

I continue to Chair the State Tribal Relations Committee.

Being a committee chairman, I am authorized two more full-time staff members.

I have promoted Julie Condon, my Administrative Assistant/Officer Manager to the Clerk of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

Her replacement, Rebecca Daugherty, is a wonderfully talented young lady who has worked in the legislature for some time. I’d also like to welcome a fine attorney, Mr. Dick Clark, to the team. He is the legal counsel for the committee with many years of experience working in various legal roles in state government.

In his private practice, he is one of the best attorneys in the country for gun-related cases. For the third time in two years, we’ve also got a brand new office in Room 1423, back on the first floor just inside the south door of the capitol.

Bill introduction comprises the first 10 legislative days of the session. When it is all said and done, I will introduce more than 20 bills this session – a number of them brought to me by constituents. The last election changed the political composition of the body, so all the new faces will definitely influence the direction we go. It’s too early to make any predictions, but I remain hopeful we can finally get something passed on property taxes. This remains my No. 1 priority.

 

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call. Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at; tbrewer@leg.ne.gov. Mail a letter to; Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1423, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509 or call us at (402) 471-2628.