Every election cycle, the staff at the Nebraska Catholic Conference gets a frequently asked question: “Where can I find information about [insert candidate for public office] and their stance on [insert important political issue]?” We are asked about issues such as the right to life of the unborn child, religious liberty protections, marriage and human sexuality, immigration, poverty, school choice, the death penalty. We are also asked about public offices ranging from local judges to the governor, from state senators to the President of the United States.
Finding much needed information about candidates can sometimes be difficult and time consuming—and other times it can be nearly impossible to find. But it shouldn’t have to be that way, which is why we want to make your life a little easier as you prepare to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
To help you better understand the public policy positions of candidates for public office, the Nebraska Catholic Conference has re-launched its candidate survey. The survey is designed to provide you—the voter—with critical information about some of the biggest issues facing our state and nation and where candidates for public office stand on these issues. The information can be found at www.NebraskaCatholicVoter.com. As well, it will be published in an upcoming issue of the Southern Nebraska Register and, depending on your parish, in your parish bulletin.
The Candidates. We focused on the races that have the most statewide impact. Unsurprisingly, there are more races than the Nebraska Catholic Conference can survey. As they pertain to the Diocese of Lincoln, the races include:
U.S. Senate: Deb Fischer vs. Jane Raybould; U.S. House of Representatives – 1st District: Jeff Fortenberry vs. Jessica McClure; U.S. House of Representatives – 3rd District: Adrian Smith vs. Paul Theobald; Governor/Lt. Governor: Pete Ricketts/Mike Foley vs. Bob Krist/Lynne Walz; Secretary of State: Bob Evnen vs. Spencer Danner; State Treasurer: John Murante (unopposed); State Auditor: Charlie Janssen vs. Jane Skinner; Attorney General: Doug Peterson (unopposed); State Legislature: LD4: Robert Clements vs. Susan Lorence; LD24: Mark Kolterman vs. Stephanie Nantkes; LD26: Matt Hansen vs. Bob Van Valkenburg; LD28: Patty Pansing Brooks (unopposed); LD30: Myron Dorn vs. Don Schuller; LD32: Laura Ebke vs. Tom Brandt; LD34: Curt Friesen (unopposed); LD36: Matt Williams (unopposed); LD38: Marsha Fangmeyer vs. Dave Murman; LD42: Mike Groene vs. Judy Pederson; LD44: Dan Hughes vs. Stephanie Malcolm; LD46: Adam Morfeld (unopposed)
The Questions. In the Nebraska Catholic Voter Guide, we pose 14 different statements to the candidates and ask them whether they “Support” or “Oppose” the statement. The statements asked are as follows:
1. Full legal protection for the life of every unborn child throughout pregnancy, from the moment of conception.; 2. Changing Nebraska state statutes to replace references to husband and wife with gender-neutral terms.; 3. Creating new protected classes for sexual orientation and gender identity in Nebraska’s anti-discrimination law.;
4. Maintaining policies that allow DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) youth and young adults to obtain state-issues drivers licenses, in-state tuition, and professional licenses.; 5. Implementing scholarship tax credits to increase educational choice for parents and their children.; 6. Protecting foster care and adoption providers from government discrimination on the basis of the provider’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.;
7. Adopting Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska.; 8. Providing taxpayer funds to entities that perform, counsel in favor of, or refer for abortion.; 9. Considering the impact on the environment and public health when implementing natural resources public policy.;
10. Repealing the state’s use of the death penalty while preserving the alternative of a life sentence without parole.; 11. Increasing taxpayer funded access to artificial birth control for low-income women and men.; 12. Implementing a resolution that maintains that pornography is a public health crisis and that the state must take appropriate actions to address the pornography crisis.
13. Maintaining and, when necessary, increasing budgetary provisions to low-income residents’ access to basic necessities, such as food, housing, and healthcare.; 14. Legalizing euthanasia or physician assisted suicide.
Pray. Study. Discern. While we asked questions covering a broad array of topics, we know our list is not exhaustive and that there are many other questions you could ask. And nothing should stop you from sending an e-mail, making a phone call, or writing a letter to your candidate—after all, they are seeking to win your vote and serve you. With this information, we hope that you are better situated to pray and discern about how you will cast your upcoming ballot on Nov. 8.