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Weekly Column

April 9, 2012

Nebraskans Bring Clarity to Critical Issues

One of the best parts of my job as a United States Senator happens far away from Capitol Hill. I was home last week to talk face to face with Nebraskans in many cities and towns across our great state. I met with farmers, business owners, students and military heroes. Their questions were probing, their concerns were real and reasonable, and some of their stories were inspiring.

Many Nebraskans are understandably worried about our country's soaring debt, the trampling of their personal rights, and the Administration's overbearing regulations. They aren't just hearing about government overreach, they are feeling it through higher gas prices and health care premiums, and in regulations which are squashing dreams of growing their businesses.

I kicked off my trip by meeting with a dozen business owners about the impact of the new health care law. All have feelings of uncertainty about the law and are fearful they won't be able to afford the mandates it puts forth. Some of those businesses have already determined they cannot afford to grow and hire more Nebraska workers because of the penalties they would face for not buying into a government-approved health care plan for their employees.

I believe the health care law is unconstitutional and must be repealed. Many of these job creators echoed my concerns.

At my community coffees in Kearney, Elkhorn, Wahoo and Lincoln, I heard loud and clear the frustration with the partisanship in Washington and with the federal government's inability to solve our country's fiscal problems. Nebraskans understand elected officials must work together to prevent this country from going off a fiscal cliff, as many predict will happen if we fail to act. I couldn't agree more.

One of the high points of my trip was the privilege of presenting two veterans with Purple Hearts. Victor Mashbein was wounded twice during WWII and waited more than 60 years to be given his second Purple Heart. His discharge order from the Army only acknowledged one of those injuries, so it took some research and documentation to help him verify the second injury.

I also had the honor of presenting Air Force officer James "Scott" George with a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained when his convoy came under attack in Iraq. These men sacrificed so much for our country and deserve our utmost respect and appreciation for their bravery and heroism. It was an honor to personally thank them for their service.

I always appreciate hearing your thoughts and opinions and I encourage you to voice them as often as you like. Feel free to visit my website at www.johanns.senate.gov for schedule information and policy updates. I look forward to seeing you again soon.

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