Legislature Nebraska Politics NEGOP

Let’s Talk About This Legislative Staff Exodus

Once again, we’re getting a choice between two not great options rather than finding a better way

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Back on December 10 we learned that over 40 longtime Legislative staffers quit ahead of the 2023 legislative session. This has caused major problems including reports not being finished on time or at all, and some new staffers flat-out refusing to learn how to do their jobs. Speaker Arch’s solution to this problem is more training and restructuring of the positions.

So let’s see. The unicameral has become such a shithole that 40 career-long staff quit. There is zero introspection about that. The trash humans now in the Legislature filled those positions with cronies who turn out to be unwilling or unable to perform basic components of the job. Someone suggests that they centralize clerk work – which is an “efficiency” move that has been foisted on other institutions, like the University, who now have centralized business centers instead of departmental staff who had previously developed decades-long relationships with people and had some agency in their work, but now are disconnected from all that and don’t want to spend decades in the new “efficient” jobs. And now the ever so efficient conservatives suddenly see the value of having localized staff. What nobody is suggesting apparently is keeping localized staff but cleaning up the cronyism and other dysfunctional working conditions.

When the new school of hardline GOP Trumper folks came in, some staff left immediately. We had already started to see the erosion of the legislative body over the decade leading up to that, during which the Republican members of the non-partisan Legislature started acting like stooges for the last two Republican governors instead of running their own branch of government. We’re talking about staffers who had been there for decades and worked for members of both parties with no major issues during their long careers just not being able to stomach coming in to work for this new set of brainless automatons. Before term limits, legislative staff were smart people who cared about policy. After, they became whatever creeps were working on GOP Senator’s campaigns.

Senator Lippincott’s Legislative aide Haile McAnally (formerly Kucera) at the January 6 insurrection. Since then she has spent more time at fake beauty pageants than at the Capitol learning how to do her job (or learning how to count apparently).

The cronyism is very evident in the way our congressional delegation chooses staff. Being a page or other staffer used to be a position ambitious college students got, regardless of their actual politics. It was a way that politicians created a pipeline for talented young adults from their state. Now it is a way of rewarding which TPUSA miscreant pwned the most libs, or which aging white supremacist kisses the most ass. The whole thing is incredibly sad. We’re headed down the same path as Kansas already did to massive failure, and it’s going to hurt us even worse because of the Unicameral structure and nonpartisanship being totally disrespected.

Senator Ben Hansen’s aide Christina Campbell, who assaulted a Planned Parenthood worker in the rotunda during the protests last session, with her bestie Haile McAnally (Kucera) at a Trump rally last year.

But wait – it’s not just the Republicans. The Dems are increasingly identifying themselves as the party of expertise, as compared with the GOP, who are more blatantly about power politics. Clearly, having long-serving, skilled staff who care about governance is preferable in nearly every way to having partisan hacks doing a shitty job. But it’s also increasingly pushing the Dems into a) elitism, where only those with certain degrees/training/status are worthy of listening to and b) apolitical technocrats where they claim to be “pragmatic” or just on the side of “the evidence” as if there were a position outside of politics. Governing according to b) allows the Dems to deny their own politics, which are increasingly conservative overall, with the exception of a few liberal social policies. It’s leading overall to the situation where you find Dems leading polls in categories where levels of democracy are measured. More and more people would like to suppress widespread democratic participation because the masses are stupid. They want a technocracy led by credentialed elites. That’s not helpful, either as a winning politics or as a democratic goal for our country. Clearly, the lack of expertise and the unwillingness among the current staff to acquire it is not just a concern among Democrats, or the Journal Star article wouldn’t have been written.

While we are 100% not going to endorse the appointment of slimy, incompetent GOP political hacks in civil service roles, it is highlighting that once again, we’re getting a choice between two not great options rather than finding a better way. It would be good if we could find a way to value expertise in these positions through valuing people by constructing good jobs that lift up and empower people across the years, training them to be ever better while on the job (getting paid while learning). The people of the state are better served by these being good jobs that attract and encourage good people to stay, in part by valuing the work and skill they show on the job. So it seems to us that while Dems are too preoccupied with “expertise”, and the GOP with “political alliance”, both would do much better focusing on what kind of staff system attracts people that can and *want* to do the job well. If we look at this from the point of view of the people who were doing the work, it would result in a better government for all of us as well as better jobs for the staff, clerks, and aides.