March 31, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Nebraska Is What America Is Supposed to Be

March 31, 2023

This week, I gave my U.S. Senate Maiden Speech – a long-held tradition for freshman senators to highlight their priorities in an inaugural speech on the Senate floor. The first time I entered the U.S. Senate chamber, I got chills. The chamber and the Capitol building represent the values we’ve held for nearly two and a half centuries. They represent how exceptional our Republic is.

We must not lose sight of what makes America so exceptional. Our founders threw off the tyranny of a king with an idea; that our rights come to us directly from God – not from a king. Governments are instituted to protect those rights.

Even today, after 246 years, our founding principles are every bit as true. These values – like rule of law, checks and balances, and federalism – are critical to our republic. They’ve created the greatest nation the world has ever seen. We’re strongest when we follow them. We’re never weaker than when we stray from them.

Our American system unleashes the power of individuals to achieve their full potential. In our country, it doesn’t matter where you start. With enough grit and hard work, you can go anywhere. That’s why the world wants to come here. That’s why nearly every major innovation and breakthrough comes from America.

The framers of the Constitution also believed that government closest to the people is best able to serve them. It’s common sense. What works in New York may not work in Nebraska. Our state has shown America what’s possible when the federal government gets out of the way and allows states to lead.

During my time as Governor, we kept the size and scope of government small. We empowered people. We ran government more like a business. We dramatically improved the level of service provided to Nebraska families. We got help to people in need faster than ever before. We made it easier for citizens and businesses to work with the state. We provided billions of dollars in tax relief – including for veterans and seniors by phasing out taxes on their retirement income and Social Security. We attracted new investments and jobs for communities big and small. We employed a record-number of Nebraskans while our state’s unemployment rate reached a historic low.

We made government work better. We proved that we can do a better job of providing services while still controlling our costs. We also proved that we can respect people’s liberty and freedoms while protecting their safety. During the pandemic, we kept kids in school, people at work, and government open. As a result, we were rated the number one best pandemic response state.

All of this reflects Nebraska’s conservative values. In Nebraska, we respect people’s freedom. We value strong communities, faith, and family. We honor our law enforcement and military. We expect a limited, accountable government. We believe in personal responsibility and the boundless potential of the individual.

Nebraska is what America is supposed to be.

But nationally, we’ve strayed from those values. Too many now take our freedoms for granted. Too often we hear resentment rather than reverence for the very principles that make this country great. Too many have forgotten the old adage that a government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.

As your Senator, I will strive to make the federal government work better for the people. I will reject every effort to restrict our liberties and undermine our values. I will work to restore transparency and faith in the federal government. I will work to control spending, curb unnecessary regulation, and limit the size and scope of government. I will work to secure our borders and provide the resources to defend against our enemies. I will work to assure that we have a well-trained, well-led, and well-equipped military to defend us. I will hold this and future administrations accountable to the American people. More importantly, I will always fight for the best interests and freedoms of you, the Nebraskans I serve.

Throughout our history, we have risen to meet every challenge. With our founding values as our guide, we will again rise to meet the challenge of this moment.

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