Teachers and associated professionals are a major contributor to the success of businesses within the 43rd district. The community of Chadron has benefited tremendously by the location of the college in that community. We can't afford to let our educational sector wither away due to insufficient funding and I will work to bring tax dollars back to the 43rd district.
The economic value of tourism to a community is tremendous, and largely undeveloped in our region. The merchants and businessmen in Valentine have demonstrated what a successful tourism industry can do for a community. While all of us do not have a beautiful river in our backyard, Valentine's successful development demonstrates what potential is there for the remainder of the district. The 43rd offers more diversity than any other region in the state--beautiful farms, unspoiled ranches, spectacular forests, historic forts, great museums, quirky sculptures, world-class hunting, and great ecotourism--but we need to promote the area as a unit to travelers who want something unique and different. From hunting to hiking, the 43rd is largely undiscovered by tourists around the world who look for remote and unique areas to visit. We can profit from these eager travelers if communities can coordinate and promote themselves. As your senator I will work to bring visibility to the district's unique offerings. Promotion of the tourist industry can bring big dividends to Nebraska and a little seed money from the state could go a long way toward building the business. We're the "dark spot" on America's nighttime grid and the "white spot" on the Verizon telephone map. Why not promote our remoteness?
We must preserve and build rural health initiative programs across the district. The five hospitals (Alliance, Chadron, Gordon, Valentine, and Ainsworth) all face significant capital needs in order to remain competitive with hospitals in larger communities. These hospitals are major employers in each of their communities and most corporations looking to locate in a community assess a community health care system before committing to locate in that community. Equally important to the vitality of many communities are the assisted living and nursing homes which house our elderly. Nebraska's rural Senators will need to be vigilant in protecting these businesses. I promise to place the preservation of rural hospitals, nursing homes and clinics at the top of my list because our communities will be much poorer if they are gone.
Small Businesses, Professionals, and Manufacturers:
These entities are the unsung heroes of every community. The people who make up these businesses are often serving on their church council, as the leader of the boy scouts, on a library board or working as a Teammate in the local schools. They are the first to be asked for a donation for every worthy cause and always step up to make a community event a success. It is extremely important that we foster stability among small businesses in our communities. Since there is such a high rate of failure among small businesses, it is vitally important that the state of Nebraska do everything it it's power to protect and promote the ones who survive. I would like to appoint a group of small businessmen across the district to meet with me from time to time for advice on the particular needs of their community and the general health of the small business community in general
The Coal Industry and Burlington Northern Railroad:
Although coal is not produced in Nebraska, the proximity to the coal fields in Wyoming has benefited the 43rd district in immeasurable ways. The Burlington Northern Railroad generates the largest payroll in the 43rd district and is responsible for over $325 million in centrally assessed property which supports seven of the sixteen school districts in the 43rd and seven of the 13 counties in the district. Coal is America's most abundant source of raw energy and this tremendous natural resource will be the primary driver of America's electrical grid for the foreseeable future. Let's build on the investment BN has made in our region by building partnerships with the railroad for further development and investment in the 43rd. Associated rail industries are another key employer in Box Butte County.