Senator Joni Albrecht
WEEKLY UPDATE May 8, 2020
Even in the midst of a pandemic and unprecedented world-wide economic disruption, we have much to be thankful for. In addition to daily COVID-19 updates from many sources, this past I was honored to be selected to host a telephone prayer meeting for the Nebraska National Day of Prayer. Many faith leaders and individuals from across the state focused on the COVID-19 issue and prayed for those that are sick, their families, for loved ones unable to be at the bedside of those that are hospitalized, and for our Governor. I lifted up Health Department Directors, Emergency Managers, First Responders, doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers, as well as the Governor and his team who have worked so hard to protect us throughout this crisis.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in District 17, with cases in Thurston and Wayne Counties reporting much lower numbers than Dakota County. For up-to- date information on the virus and resources in Nebraska, go to firstname.lastname@example.org; for national information in English and several other languages, https://www.cdc.gov/covid19 click on CASES in the US., :
Remember to watch the Governor’s press conferences in English at 200 PM Mondayy through Friday, unless advised to the contrary. You can tune into the Governor’s message in Spanish on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:00 PM. You can also tune into the Governor’s Live Town Hall meetings on Thursday evenings at 8:30 PM.
APPRECIATION is essential. Nebraskans doing their part has had the desired impact of protecting our health care resources so that each person who needs treatment can receive it. My thanks to each of you for doing your part. There are those who have gone beyond the personal sacrifices of social distancing and who have served their fellow Nebraskans. While they are too numerous to name, the Governor has made it a point to thank many heroes among us.
During his press briefings last week, Governor Ricketts designated May 6-12 as Nurses Week across the state and recognized the month of May is National Nurse’s month. Nurses in Nebraska and throughout the world provide vital, front line work every day and especially during this pandemic. They put aside their own self-interest to care for and invest in the well-being of other Nebraskans. Exhibiting great love and self-sacrifice, we should all take time to thank a nurse this month.
The Governor also designated the week as Teacher’s week, noting that even though education may not be taking place in the classrooms as usual, teachers across the state are continuing to help our children learn and reach their dreams through creative distance learning and communication. Governor Ricketts recognized public, private, and homeschool teachers, recognizing the responsibility each has assumed to instill character and raise up the next generation of Nebraska citizens. Special thanks to all of our dedicated teachers, whether long term or newly COVID-19 “converted”.
Finally, the Governor extended a heartfelt thanks to members of the Nebraska National Guard for their amazing involvement in the Coronavirus response since early February. From the date that the Governor and Maj. Gen. Bohac held a briefing on Feb. 6 about the plan to house Americans at Camp Ashland as they evacuated from China, and continuing through implementation of TestNebraska, the Nebraska National Guard has worked diligently to help slow the spread of the virus and serve Nebraskans in any way called upon to serve. Guard teams have been in 29 different cities, 26 counties, and have worked with 18 local health departments, racking up over 33,000 miles to collect thousands of samples to date. Members have also helped staff sites, distribute food alongside Food Banks, and helped procure and distribute Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
We need to be so proud of our High School and College Graduates! The class of 2020 will have unique stories to tell as they go through the rest of their lives. This school year has been challenging, to say the least. While many students may have thought it was nice to forego classes, for our seniors, the time was to be filled with a lot of “last things” that seniors missed. The last class, last final, last time entering and exiting school buildings as a student. Even without these experiences, and without traditional proms and graduation, our seniors were able to shine. Creativity and innovation played key roles in Zoom planning meetings, Senior Shout outs and graduation parades. I was delighted to send out congratulatory letters to so many graduates in all three counties of District 17. We wish the graduates the best life has to offer as they move into their future full of expectations and anticipation. There is reason to be incredibly proud of each of them.
We also want to wish the children who are now officially “dismissed” from school for the summer a happy and healthy summer. And, we gratefully acknowledge the parent heroes whose super powers kicked in quite unexpectedly when they had to transition from parent to teacher, teacher’s aide, and school counselor within a very short period of time. The creativity and commitment to doing their best as Nebraska’s newest “homeschoolers” has been uplifting. Excellent job, heroes!
AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS are experiencing unprecedented difficulties as processors experience disruptions and are offering significantly less for livestock in particular. As a result, many are facing the heartbreak of having to destroy livestock that they have raised, fed, and readied for market. Those that are able to get their livestock to market are facing huge losses with offensively low offered prices. As a farm family who also raises cattle, my family feels the heartbreak of having livestock ready for market, with no place to take them. As a resident of Nebraska, we recognize the tremendous contributions of our agricultural community.
The reports of the need for livestock depopulation in place of to market meats is more than concerning. Lawmakers and the Governor are taking the concerns of farmers and ranchers very seriously. The Nebraska Attorney General has joined 11 other state Attorneys General in calling for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into possible market manipulation. United States Senator Deb Fischer, who serves on the Senate Agricultural Committee, has been seeking solutions to the problems created by COVID-19 on the cattle industry. She, too, has requested investigation into price gouging, as demand for beef and other meat products has increased during the crisis, while prices being paid to farmers and ranchers has decreased. The federal government has also announced plans to purchase agricultural products from producers for distribution to those who need it. My office continues to monitor the situation and to have frequent conversations with farmers and ranchers, the Governor and Director of Nebraska Department of Agriculture. We will work hard to keep District 17 in the loop.
As always, I invite you to let me know your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or suggestions by contacting me at email@example.com or by calling my office at 402.471.2716.