This week, the Lincoln Journal Star endorsed Jeff Fortenberry to represent Nebraska’s CD1 in Congress. I’m sure you, oh loyal reader, will by now have noticed, that we at Seeing Red support his opponent, Jessica McClure. Today, I want to share with you my (somewhat fleshed out) Letter to the Editor that I sent to the Lincoln Journal Star, because I have very little faith they will publish it.
I first encountered Jeff Fortenberry at a town hall at Lincoln Southeast High School in the spring of 2017. He made it clear through his lengthy PowerPoint that he was not there to listen to constituents. He continued to meta-communicate that he didn’t care to hear from us when he held the only mic and refused to share, even with a constituent standing in front of him. He memorably put the mic behind his back. Several women of color stood for a long time, ignored by the Congressman until a larger group stood and demanded he call on them. He made it clear whose voices he would listen to. Since then, he’s installed a buzzer on his office door, again communicating that he doesn’t want to hear from us. I spent a solid year calling and visiting his office. Getting a straight answer on where he stood on an issue was impossible. After a while, I just assumed he would be voting with the Trump agenda based on his previous votes. And when he voted to dismantle the ACA, it was clear our voices were not being heard.
Jessica McClure has consistently made a point to listen to her constituents since she threw her hat in this race. She has been going door to door to speak with constituents, not just in densely populated Lincoln, but across our large, diverse district. Since the summer of 2017. And she takes feedback. She listened intently to the condensed version of my undergraduate introduction to US Education course. The first time I spoke to her about the issue of firearms at March for Our Lives, she didn’t really have a position. But through conversations with constituents, she developed a strong and courageous position, which she shared during a powerful speech at the state Democratic Party Convention in June. She listens. She learns. That’s just who she is as a person. She’s a scientist with a law degree. But Jessica also has a heart and will fight to protect healthcare for her family, my family, and your family. Her willingness to listen, her keen intelligence, and her heart make Jessica McClure the right choice to represent Nebraska’s CD1.I believe in this woman and her genuine care and concern for the people that live in our district. Please check out her webpage if you’re still undecided, and reach out to us, reach out to her campaign staff if you have questions.