Dear Governor Ricketts:
“Nebraska grit.” This is a characteristic you cited repeatedly in your State of the State address in January. You remarked that, “As a people, Nebraskans have a heart for their neighbor, a firmness of character, and they demonstrate resilience and fortitude.”
Less than two weeks later, on January 21, 14,000 to 17,000 Nebraskans came together in Omaha, Lincoln, and Loup City, to demonstrate many of these values (Omaha World Herald, Jan. 22, 2017). These are 130 of our stories. We urge you, please, to read them.
We are concerned that the futures we had envisioned for our children and grandchildren, neighbors and friends won’t be as bright as we’d hoped, that our elected representatives in Washington or Lincoln aren’t representing us. That our voices are being dismissed as shrill, isolated, unrepresentative, and out-of-state. That your campaign promise to “grow Nebraska” may do so at a high cost to Nebraskans who need us most.
We believe that you, your colleagues, and all of us in this binder want tomorrow to be better than today. You have the power to help make that happen, and the privilege of and responsibility to amplify and act on the voices of your constituents.
And so we ask that you read these stories and take them to heart. We ask that you take action on issues and concerns contained in these pages. We ask that you be open to hearing viewpoints that may be different than yours but are no less valid, no less Nebraskan. As you have remarked, “Disagreement can be good when it challenges your ideas, and that helps you come up with better ideas, better solutions” (Omaha World-Herald, Jan.8, 2015).
Governor Ricketts, we are your constituents, and we are marching proudly, through our actions and calls and words. We are thinking carefully about who respects and represents our views, and whom we should trust to make this state and this country better for our children, for yours. We invite you to join our march, or at least understand our views.
“Our families, our friends, and our neighbors are relying on us. What’s more, we have a chance to give a voice to the voiceless, to improve lives, and to craft policies that build a brighter future for generations to come” (Gov. Pete Ricketts, State of the State, 2017).
This is why we march.
Valerie K. Jones, Why I March Nebraska Contributor
Andrea M. Riley, Why I March Nebraska Creator