PETE RICKETTS, SENATOR FOR NEBRASKA

Star Herald

U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., marked the opening of his local office intended to serve constituents in Scottsbluff Wednesday, April 5.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to be able to continue to serve Nebraskans in the U.S. Senate,” the former Nebraska governor told a crowd of about 30 people that included local mayors, business people and supporters.

Ricketts’ Scottsbluff office is located in Railway Office Plaza— the exact address is 115 Railway St., Ste. C102. Previous senators had their local offices in the same office building and Cassie Nichols will continue to serve as constituent services representative for western Nebraska. Nichols has served in that post for previous senators, Mike Johanns and Ben Sasse.

Locating the office in the same office building makes it easy for people to find when they need help, Ricketts said. And, Nichols serving in the post means that she has the experience to best help people and connect them with the persons and resources that they need.

He talked about an example of a constituent needing help in recent months, a widow whose husband died in Vietnam and his remains weren’t located until 51 years later. He said that the woman learned through media reports that her husband’s remains would be returned to the U.S., but she hadn’t been contacted herself. Representatives of Ricketts’ office were able to make connections with the U.S. Department of Defense and the woman has been able to plan funeral services.

People often turn to constituent services to get assistance for matters such as getting a passport, dealing with the IRS or even when they have hit a brick wall in dealing with federal bureaucracy, he said.

“When I was governor, we focused a lot on how we can do a better job of serving Nebraskans, streamlining our operations, making sure we are doing a better job of providing services,” he said, as he introduced his state director, Brad Stevens, and other members of his staff.

Ricketts’ travels to Scottsbluff to mark opening local office
U.S. Sen. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., cuts a red ribbon with ambassadors with the Scottsbluff-Gering Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the opening of his local office at Railway Office Plaza. Previous senators were also located in the office building, he said, making it a familiar place for people to continue to receive constituent services.

Since being sworn in late January, Ricketts said he is serving on three committees: the Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the EPA and Corps of Engineers, Foreight Relations, and a special committee on aging.

On the Environment and Public Works Committee, he said, he’ll be able to work directly on regulations that impact farmers and ranchers. He’ll be able to put his experience in working on trade issues to work on the Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees the state department, and be able to “make sure we’re getting the most out of our federal tax dollars.” The committee on aging hasn’t been as active, he said, but has had hearings on workforce issues among skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

As a freshman senator, he gave his maiden speech, a tradition for senators to higlight their priorities. In that speech, he said, he spoke on remembering the values and principles that the founders of the U.S. had, values like rule of law, checks and balances and federalism.

“…We need to remember that we’ve created something very special here in the United States,” he said. “And, while we certainly have our challenges, we have lots of opportunities to make sure that we continue to be the greatest country in the world.”

He said he also compared the U.S. to Nebraska.

“Nebraska is what America is supposed to be,” he said in his maiden speech and in speaking during the open house highlighting fiscal responsibility, protecting people’s freedoms, low unemployment and other points. “D.C. could take a page out of our playbook here in Nebraska, about how to run the government, make sure we’re doing a good job of serving people and keeping our taxes or expenses low so we can provide tax relief.”

Ricketts touched on some national political issues, such as speaking about the need for action at the Southern border where he says Biden’s current immigration policies are creating a humanitarian crisis and contributing to an increase in drug trafficking, water policies and the Clean Water Act and the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. He also briefly answered questions or took opinions from attendees on gun control, student loan debt relief and other topics.

Ricketts’ Scottsbluff office can be reached at 308-632-6032. He can also be reached through his website, ricketts.senate.gov or by email at pete_ricketts@ricketts.senate.gov. He also has social media presences on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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