While we experienced the harshness of winter weather this week – snow, ice, wind, and bitter cold – I was glad to be home and pleased to have had some very constructive interactions with Nebraskans new to the First Congressional District. It's clear that most Nebraskans, like many Americans, are interested and concerned about the direction of their federal government – and hopeful for a brighter future for our nation.
On Wednesday, we traveled through blowing snow on ice-packed roads to get to Columbus, where we dialogued with constituents at a public "open house" meeting at the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce. On Thursday, the single-digit temperatures didn't stop a large group of new constituents in Bellevue from coming to our open house at Bellevue University for a discussion of the challenges facing our country.
Both Columbus and Bellevue, along with all of Platte County and Polk County, are new parts of the "new" First District. In 2011, the Governor and the Nebraska Legislature approved congressional redistricting, a redrawing of the boundaries of our state's three congressional districts based on the results of the 2010 census. The changes became official with the new term of Congress beginning in January.
As you can see on the map, the First District, reflecting a larger eastward shift in population growth across the state, became smaller geographically and denser in population. Counties in parts of northeast and southeast Nebraska became part of the Third District (which now runs from Scottsbluff to Falls City), western Sarpy County moved from the First District to the Omaha-based Second District, and eastern Sarpy County including Bellevue, as well as Platte and Polk Counties, joined the First District
While it was difficult to part with many friends and familiar faces in the "old" district, I am committed to having a robust presence in the new communities. The meetings in Columbus and Bellevue this week were a very helpful and constructive first step in building friendships, partnerships, and open dialogue with area residents.
While the district lines have changed a bit, we're all still Nebraskans – facing the same inclement weather – who want constructive outcomes in Washington for the good for our country. I want to thank all those who came to visit me this week, braving the elements to attend our community meetings. My office looks forward to working for you and with you in the future.
View a map of the district at http://nebraskalegislature.gov/about/congress_map.php