Nebraska’s military is now a key constituency in the competitive 1st Congressional District race
Walking around the base, a visitor sees evidence of thousands of jobs dependent on military paychecks: from giant defense contractors like Northrup Grumman to fast food outlets serving airmen after their shifts. Tom Deall, Bellevue’s Chick-fil-A Franchise Manager, says, “The level of community engagement and support is very high.”
Deall, a retired Air Force colonel, discussed understanding life “on both sides of the fence” in communities hosting military installations. If he had the chance to meet the candidates, “I would say to them, make sure you understand all the aspects that the military community brings to them.”
When the redistricting changed the boundaries of the 1st District, it doubled the number of registered voters in Sarpy County working on base or having jobs benefiting Offutt.
Bellevue and Papillion are cities where Pentagon policy has a direct impact on local government.
Michelle Andahl, director of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce, cites a current example. The Department of Defense (DoD) is pushing military installations nationwide to move more service members off base residences. In Sarpy County, this is impacting the already tight housing market.
For Andahl, this illustrates how a representative can help solve problems within his district.
“We’re hoping that whoever ends up representing us after November 8 will certainly be proactive in thinking about this stuff,” she said, hoping for “a little more creative thinking about what’s going on than we don’t. we didn’t have”. to be dealt with before.”
Jeff Fortenberry represented the 1st District for over a decade, but resigned in disgrace after being convicted of lying about campaign finance fraud.
In a special election held to fill the vacancy in July, Flood defeated Pansing Brooks.
In interviews with Nebraska Public Media News, the candidates talked about bolstering the state’s economic recovery by hosting the facility.
Pansing Brooks cited a program she supported while in the state legislature offering tax breaks to those leaving military service to keep them in Nebraska’s workforce because ” they were all courted in Iowa”.
She said it’s important to find appropriate methods to retain and attract those retiring from the military, who “are incredible people who have spent many years serving the country doing really important things, including security, cybersecurity”.
Flood hopes Congress will consider additional federally-backed Small Business Administration (SBA) loans for veteran entrepreneurs.
“There are many men and women who have served their country very admirably who remain in Sarpy County, and they should have access to the SBA in a very special way so that they can build businesses.”