A man of courage, compassion, conviction
Less than 48 hours after Senator Nelson's announcement to retire, pundits and anonymous bloggers are not only writing the seat off to Republicans, but are also disrespecting the years he spent serving our state.
Sen. Nelson is a man of courage. Politicians were doing everything possible to avoid dealing with the policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Senator Nelson saw through the rhetoric on both sides and started to speak about the simple fact that when we ask our men and women in uniform to lie, that puts our national security at risk. He called for the end of DADT and was the leader who got it done.
Sen. Nelson is a man of compassion. During the health care fight, a wife of a preacher who was battling cancer and battling foreclosure on her family's home was also one of many Nebraskans fighting to get health care reform passed. She told her story many times to many elected officials. It was only Senator Nelson who heard her. I have no proof that her story helped ensure Senator Nelson voted "yes" on health care reform, but I do know his "yes" vote gave her hope that cancer could never be used against her as a "pre-existing" condition.
Sen. Nelson is a man of conviction. The pipeline was an issue that captivated our state. Some politicians are standing with the concerns of citizens and landowners while others pretend to be and simply walked away when it was easy to say, "Everything is fine." Senator Nelson remains the only Nebraska member of Congress who is still saying we cannot set arbitrary deadlines on an issue as big as this pipeline. He has remained steadfast in his belief on this and has never walked away from those of us concerned about the risks to the Ogallala Aquifer and our very way of life.
I attended the dedication of the statue in front Senator Nelson's boyhood home in McCook. He was proud that day. He has a lot to be proud of, as do we. Senator Nelson represented our state with a moderate and independent voice. He represented all of us, never his party. Thank you Senator Nelson for being our Senator. You made us proud.
Jane Fleming Kleeb