We must protect and conserve our natural resources which will play a major role in economic development in the future of the 43rd District. Our resources include:
Our greatest natural resource. Sadly, we export most of our young people, despite the tremendous investment we have placed in them over the course of their 13 years in school. The strong work ethic and high educational standards which Nebraska is known for must be emphasized and encouraged as we strive to bring in industry which can give the region an opportunity to reverse the population decline. Cooperation between communities needs to be developed and strengthened. I will work to build jobs in the district and keep our people at home where they want to stay.
While it is clear to me that we must manage our water consumption more carefully, it is also clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to water use within the state of Nebraska is irrational and unfair. There are large portions of the 43rd district where additional irrigation could enhance income opportunities for landowners with negligible effect on the water table. Broad limitations on drilling in areas with a huge water surplus are counter to good business sense, and I will fight for less state control and more regional decision making as it relates to drilling of irrigation wells.
We must encourage the development of alternative energy as long as this development does not drive up the cost of energy used by consumers. Tax incentives have been put in place over the past few years to make Nebraska competitive with neighboring states for the construction of wind turbines. Entities like the Cherry County Wind Association should be encouraged to move forward in securing commitments for construction of turbines across the district, and we must lobby for the construction of more transmission lines to further the industry.
Grasslands and Livestock:
Marketing agreements have come into existence for Nebraska's livestock owners which can offer each ranch the opportunity to add value by making a few modifications to their operating procedures. At the same time, weather conditions in southern states and high grain prices which result in the conversion of range to cropland have resulted in the smallest cattle herds since the 1950's The opportunity for sustained profitability on Nebraska's ranches has not been this solid for many years. As your senator I will fight to defend the industry, work to promote alternative value-added programs for our producers, protect the brand as the primary means of cattle identification, and vigorously oppose efforts by HSUS and others to impede the industry.
Farmland and Crops:
Record high commodity prices have been a blessing to the farmers in the 43rd district. Ethanol production and the continuing concentration of cattle feeding in Nebraska will continue to keep Nebraska's grain prices high into the foreseeable future. I will oppose any effort to restrict and over-regulate Nebraska's farming industry.