March 13, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Keeping Our Communities Safe

March 13, 2023

Keeping Our Communities Safe

One of government’s primary responsibilities is to keep people safe. Elected officials make laws that keep the peace and protect us from violent criminals. It’s an idea that seems like common sense to an overwhelming majority of us. Yet in recent years, loud voices on the far-left crying “Defund the Police” have pushed policies threatening that most basic role of government.

We saw it firsthand in our nation’s capital. The D.C. Council recently passed a law that would have reduced the punishments for crimes like murder, burglary, and carjacking. They did so just as those very crimes were on the rise. Carjackings rose for the fifth year in a row. For the first time in nearly two decades, D.C. had over 200 murders a year for two years in a row. Common sense tells us that cutting the penalties for these crimes while they’re being committed more often would cause more harm than good.

Now, why does D.C. crime matter or why does Congress have a say in it? The truth is Washington, D.C. belongs to all Americans, including Nebraskans. The Constitution calls for the District to be the “Seat of the Government of the United States.” It’s every American citizen’s right to visit our nation’s capital and engage directly with their representatives. They should be able to do that without fearing their lives because of D.C.’s soft-on-crime policies.

In the short time I’ve served our state in the U.S. Senate, I’ve already met with dozens of Nebraskans in Washington. Students, young families, business owners, firefighters, and Nebraskans from all walks of life come to my office to make their voices heard. As their Senator, I refuse to stand by and let the city they have a constitutional claim to fall to criminals. 

Last week, I joined Senators from both parties to stop the D.C. Council’s dangerous new law. President Biden and House Democrats were initially against our efforts. Every American deserves to feel safe not just in their hometown, but all across America. We deserve better leadership than what we have received from President Biden and his far-left allies in Congress.
If liberal cities want to learn how to lower crime, they should look no further than Omaha. Law enforcement’s community engagement efforts have helped reduce the violent crime and homicide rates in my home city of Omaha three years in a row. Nebraska is one of the best places in the nation to live, work, and raise a family – in large part because we do not take public safety for granted. In Nebraska, we support men and women in law enforcement, and we vigorously prosecute violent crime. While other states fight over law enforcement funding, we are expanding our Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island so agencies can get officers trained quickly. Our highly trained law enforcement officers do incredible work keeping our neighborhoods safe and we need to make sure that they have all the tools they need to do their jobs with excellence and integrity.

Along with Senator Deb Fischer and the rest of my colleagues in the Nebraska delegation, my staff and I are here to serve you. Contact my team and I anytime by phone at 202-224-4224, on my website ricketts.senate.gov, or via email contactricke@ricketts.senate.gov. I am humbled and honored to serve our great state and will continue to work to protect the Good Life from Washington overreach.