It has been a great honor to serve South Omaha in the Nebraska Unicameral. I have worked hard to support our neighborhoods by ensuring we provide good public safety, quality education, and well paying jobs. I ask you to look over my record of accomplishments over the past four years and I ask you for your vote.
Thank you for taking time to learn about my service as South Omaha's Senator for Legislative District 5. As a second-generation Omaha firefighter, I understand how vital public safety is to our community. I served as a firefighter for the Omaha Fire Department for 24 years and served six years as Omaha's Fire Chief. Because of my commitment to public safety and our neighborhoods, I prioritized LB641 last year. This bill provided funding for a statewide information and referral hotline, 2-1-1. The 211 Hotline serves individuals all across the state, on a 24/7 basis, to locate services such as food assistance, housing, energy assistance, mental health services, and to provide accurate information in a State of Emergency. During this COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage you to use 2-1-1 for any non-emergency needs or for reliable information. You can visit their website at: https://www.unitedwaymidlands.org/2-1-1/
When I joined the Appropriations Committee in 2017, Nebraska was facing a nearly $900-million dollar budget shortfall. I am proud of the work our committee has done. We have taken that $900-million-dollar shortfall and turned it into a nearly $800-million-dollar surplus, without raising taxes. Because of this, we now have more money for schools, property-tax relief, and our infrastructure. Because of our fiscal-strength we recently had the funds available to pass an emergency appropriations bill to fight the COVID-19 outbreak with unanimous support.
During the current 60-Day Legislative session, I've brought forward a number of key priorities including changing death or disability benefits for firefighters to include breast and ovarian cancers to the list of cancers included for disability or death benefits, and LB 963 which makes resiliency training to help prevent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for First Responders available. Another bill from this current session is LB 965, which recognizes American Sign Language to provide for the teaching of Sign Language in schools, and establishes a language assessment program for young children who are deaf or hard of hearing so that they are prepared when they enter school.