Education Nebraska Politics

Our Lady Crush on Machaela Cavanaugh (LD6 Endorsement)

Today, we’re going to share with you one of our many lady crushes on Nebraska’s ballot: Machaela Cavanaugh.

In District 6, Cavanaugh is running against Ricketts’ appointee Theresa Thibodeau for a seat in the legislature representing central/West-Central Omaha (LD6).  And folks, Nebraska needs Cavanaugh and we announce our endorsement today.  She is dedicated to the community, honest, has a strong platform and she cannot be bought.  Her opponent can say none of those things.

Cavanaugh has experience with community organizations and politics alike. She has worked at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, Opera Omaha, the American Province of the Servants of Mary, and as a staff assistant to U.S. Senator Ben Nelson in Washington, D.C.

Thibodeau, however, is a Ricketts toadie.  When the previous legislator chose to vacate her seat early, Thibodeau was hand-picked by the billionaire governor because of her ties to her pro-death penalty sister (an Omaha City Councilwoman), and because she would carry out the governor’s wishes without complaint.  And like a good little lapdog, she has followed commands and allowed herself to become a pawn in Rickett’s plan to buy his way to complete control (hint: that’s a plutocracy, and countries all over the world have fought for centuries to end such rule).

Thibodeau should also be judged by the company she keeps.  Her campaign donations show that she has to write a BIG thank you card to Ricketts for the $15,000+ he personally gave- 13% of her total donations.  Swain Construction also gave her over $15,000.  Maybe you remember them from the news? After making $100,000 in donations to Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, they have been able to hoard more than 50% of the dollars intended to help Omaha small businesses for themselves. Coincidence? We aren’t the only ones who think not. The infamous Charles Herbster also puts in an appearance — a wealthy donor who spent a cool $1.8 million to try to elect Beau McCoy (who? haha)  as governor, and donor to the pro-death penalty PAC, and to Republicans like gun lover Mike Hilgers, dirty Jean Stothert, and convicted criminal Andy Stebbing.

Donations as listed on For the most accurate numbers, you can look at the filings yourself, or wait for them to update on dataomaha.

Machaela Cavanaugh’s campaign, meanwhile, is operating with a mere 38% of Thibodeau donations, (give to Cavanaugh here!) and yet is managing to maintain a dynamic campaign and connect with real voters and working people donors, by agreeing to expand their health care, fund Planned Parenthood, and protect transgendered persons from workplace discrimination.

Cavanaugh’s platform is one that working people and elderly alike would benefit from:

  1. Strengthening schools by standing up to “attempts to divert public school money to private corporations” (ie: avoiding charters, and voucher systems)
  2. Cutting property taxes, which have increased out of necessity in response to state funding cuts to education, and could be remedied by proper state funding to schools and by reversing corporate tax cuts and incentives that hurt our bottom line.
  3. Helping Omaha families and seniors afford healthcare by expanding Medicaid and working to lower drug costs.

    Machaela Cavanaugh shares our enthusiasm for Medicaid expansion

In contrast, Thibodeau is focused on:

  1. INCOME tax relief (yeah, THAT’S the problem*)
  2. Allowing private schools to drain money from the public school system through charters and vouchers which have no consistent track record of success and have been plagued by scandal and theft (Exhibit A, Exhibit B)
  3. Expanding the criminal justice system rather than examining the laws that have ballooned it for years.  Instead she is concerned about “decisions about paroling inmates and the shortage of employees
  4. Squashing women’s rights through her anti-choice platform – saying “from conception to natural death, I will protect and defend innocent human life.” (SHE’S PRO-DEATH PENALTY? HOW IS THAT A *NATURAL* DEATH??)

(If you need a more visual comparison of the two candidates, try this one)

Last but not least, people generally hate politics because they believe “politicians lie”.  You hear it all the time, and yet, you will often find that only one side is misleading you if you care to research- and in this case, Machaela has a genuine, issues-based, and positive campaign centered on FACTS- a novel concept in the age of Trump- as shown in her video.

But Thibodeau has been dishonest and demeaning.  She has run multiple baseless attack ads.  She has mailed misleading postcards like this one, where she *pretends* like she was protecting the University system from budget cuts, when ACTUALLY she voted FOR the $2.9 million in cuts, and is really just trying to brag about the second vote, that no one took seriously, which would have cut even more, as if that’s a move that “protects education.”  She also claims to protect education from budget cuts, but what does she think charter schools do?  Nebraska’s dedicated teachers aren’t falling for it- their union endorsed Cavanaugh- and released a demand of apology from Thibodeau where they remind voters in District 6 that “Omaha Public Schools are now forced to cut $26 million from programs for students, and Westside voters were forced to increase property taxes to make up for state aid shortfalls.” (Ps. Merv Riepe pulled the EXACT SAME STUNT with a nearly identical postcard- so PLEASE District 12, you must vote to bring back Steve Lathrop this election!)

Nebraska, Omaha particularly, Thibodeau has shown us who she really is, and we must believe her.  Send her home and elect Cavanaugh on November 6th and be proud of a legislator who was selected by the PEOPLE and who won’t be bogged down in partisan politics, but will instead be focused on real Nebraskans and their urgent needs.

(Check your district here)

*Sarcasm aside, school funding comes from three sources: local property taxes, state funding, and a much smaller, and more targeted (i.e. for special education) amount, from the federal government. If one decreases, the others must make up for it. The property tax issue across the state is due to the low level of state funding for public schools, the third lowest in the country. Typically state expenditures are made up of individual and corporate income taxes. In Nebraska, the proportion of income to property taxes is wildly out of wack, putting the burden of funding our excellent public schools on local communities.