Domina: VA resignation not end of issue
McCOOK, Neb. -- Friday's resignation of Eric K. Shinseki as secretary of Veterans Affairs was the decisive action that was needed in light of scandals at the Veterans Administration, Senate candidate Dave Domina said, but it's even more important that it not take the pressure off to fix a problem that has plagued president after president.
Speaking to supporters at Sehnert's Bakery in McCook, Domina cited one example -- the computer system that keeps track of the health of active military personnel cannot "talk to" the system that keeps track of them once they enter the VA system.
Democratic nominee Domina drew distinction between himself his opponent, saying Republican nominee Ben Sasse favored privatization of Social Security, elimination of cost of living allowances, increasing the age of retirement and has even suggested outright cuts to benefits.
"I don't trust big bankers to run Social Security," Domina said, noting that Social Security receipts exceeded expenditures as recently as 2010, when the banking system run by those same bankers nearly collapsed.
He also blasted Sasse for favoring the conversion of Medicare to a voucher system, and for favoring the Paul Ryan budget, which would cut VA benefits.
Sasse is financed by groups like Americans for Prosperity and the Koch Brothers' Club for Growth, which are dedicated to never seeing a farm bill passed.
Yes, a farm bill was recently passed, Domina said, but it is a five-year bill, while the Senate term he is seeking will last for six. It's guaranteed the farm bill will come up during this term, he said.
We should be way past debating equal pay for equal work, Domina said in response to a question, and while life choices and circumstances play a part, "the law should treat each person as an individual," he said.
The "14th amendment (guaranteeing rights of individuals) ought to be self enforcing by now," he said. Individual liberty "is one area where I think young people have it figured out," Domina said.
While arguments against the Keystone XL pipeline often center on environmental concerns, he said, the easements the company is attempting to impose on landowners is like something he has seen on no other Nebraska pipeline, said Domina, who has represented landowners opposed to the pipeline.
It calls for the pipeline to be abandoned in place once it is shut down, he said, and pushes some liability for spills over on the landowners.
Once the tar sands oil reaches Texas refineries -- owned by the Koch brothers -- processing results in mounds of sludge that will create their own environmental hazards.
Oil companies are still very profitable, he said, and it would not be unreasonable to force them to convert fossil fuel plants to renewable energy like solar and wind. Nebraska and Alaska are at a disadvantage because, as public power states, they are ineligible for tax credits. That issue will have to be dealt with in Washington.
In a prepared statement delivered as part of his "Nebraska Solutions Tour" of all 93 counties in the state, Domina said "Nebraskans like all Americans deserve opportunity equality and the ability to take care of their families. As your Senator I want to end the reckless obstructionism that has been the norm in Washington for too many years. We need to honor the commitments we have made to our veterans and seniors and protect the programs that they have entrusted us with. We need to create economic opportunities and better-paying jobs. Today was an opportunity for me to share with Nebraska voters my pledge to represent all Nebraskans and to be their advocate fighting for our shared principles in the U.S. Senate."
"The U.S. Senate race in Nebraska this year may showcase the most stark differences in principles between the candidates our state have ever seen. It is time to unite, stop the division and come together as Nebraskans -- not Democrats, not Republicans, but Nebraskans."
Raised on a crop and livestock farm south of Coleridge, Nebraska, Domonia and his wife have three grown children.
One of the state's top trial lawyers, he is the Democratic nominee and has been a Democrat most of his life, except for more than 15 years in the late 1990s and 2013, when he was an Independent.