Fortenberry hosts Lied Lodge Zoom town hall

Julie Davis
Nebraska City News-Press

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry used technology to meet with some of his constituents in Nebraska City Wednesday afternoon.

Fortenberry hosted a town hall meeting on the Zoom platform from the lobby of Lied Lodge and Conference Center. He was joined by Austin Mackrill, vice president of Arbor Day Farm, to discuss the Arbor Day Foundation’s tree-planting efforts and its involvement in a project Fortenberry has requested Department of the Interior funds for: expanding and sustainably managing Lincoln’s urban tree canopy.

The Arbor Day Foundation brand is recognized and respected, said Mackrill, who added the foundation has broad-based support for its mission.

“Planting trees is one thing we can agree on,” he said.

Fortenberry said he would like to see the ADF/Lincoln effort become a template for urban forestry efforts across the country. The proposal has made it through the House Appropriations Committee and will continue to be discussed as the budget process continues this fall.

The congressman also said he would like to see corporations and other organizations take the lead in helping the Trillion Trees Initiative succeed, although he sees government’s involvement in the project as critical.

In response to a question about his support for tourism in southeast Nebraska, Fortenberry said that he continues to support the Arbor Day Foundation and Lied Lodge, and he has had a steady dialogue with the Lewis and Clark Center, a place he appreciates for keeping “that aspect of history alive.”

Fortenberry answered questions on a wide range of topics during the town hall, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. withdrawl from Afghanistan, critical race theory, the Care for Her Act, support for small businesses, and mandatory vaccinations.

In addition to visiting Nebraska City, Fortenberry met with the new commander of Offutt Air Force Base, Col. Kristen D. Thompson, in Omaha, and attended the Madison County Rodeo during his day-long visit to Nebraska.

Jeff Fortenberry