GAC Summary: Legislative District 46

James Michael Bowers

James Michael Bowers is a social worker and has served on the Lincoln CIty Council. He is a union member of the Nebraska State Education Association and began his career in politics when the state attempted to privatize child welfare.

The public services James has most frequently interacted with include the corrections and child welfare system. He states that he would like to establish the Universal Home Visitation Program across the state, which allows for newborns to have up to three visits from an RN in their first three weeks of life. He states that this program reduces CPS investigation rates, ER visits, suicide rates, and levels of post partum depression. He further states that the State should be tackling the biggest issues that impact quality of life, and fund services that are already established.

James states that he will work to ensure public services are fully funded, and that its “malpractice not to.” He further states that it frustrates him when candidates run on cutting spending, and that the state cannot function on half-funding. 

When asked how federal infrastructure funding should be allocated, James states that it should be up to “state experts rather than politicians.”

James strongly opposes privatization of state services. Moreover, he states that public/private partnerships “realistically won’t go away.” He believes that they seem to pave the way for privatization.

James supports the right of Nebraska State Employees to unionize, and states that if it weren’t for his union, he wouldn’t be making a living wage. He further states that there is “a world of difference between treatment of unionized and non-unionized workers.” James states that he was active in organizing his classification of social workers within the teachers union and was able to make a significant difference in the treatment of his classification.

James supports ensuring that state employee wages are equal to or greater than inflation, and placed great emphasis on greater than. He also supports paid parental leave.

To fill vacancies and end staff turnover, James states that agencies must have strong leadership that “won’t throw others under the bus,” as well as good wages and benefits. Furthermore, he states that strong unions are good for retention.

James supports the election of committee chairs through secret ballot and current rules surrounding the filibuster. 

When asked what differentiates him from his opponent, James states that he respects his opponent, but believes that “fights are more intense,” and now that he’s survived a recall, he’s ready for a fight. He also states that he is endorsed across the spectrum, which proves that he can get things done.

James believes that he can win the election through Democratic voters. He states that he has more name recognition with Democrats, and that his Fraternal Order of Police Endorsement will help win over Republican voters. Furthermore, James emphasizes that he is a union member, and has personal experience organizing and making change through unions.

Danielle Conrad

Danielle Conrad is a former state senator originally from rural Seward county and has lived in Lincoln since the 1990s, when she attended Undergraduate and law school at UNL. She has passed legislation in support of working families, including establishing the Lincoln living wage ordinance, protecting the CIR, and raising the minimum wage twice. In the legislature, she established a loan forgiveness program for rural and public interest attorneys and a scholarship program for children of first responders killed in the line of duty, supported the largest tax cut in Nebraska history and expanded access to health care and child care. She also secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenue for Lincoln by reforming the storm water formula; reforming the cigarette sales tax formula to help finance Antelope Valley; served as a leader to secure a $1 million appropriation for Lincoln to support the 2010 Special Olympics, and increased transit aid. Additionally, she has won advocacy awards for her efforts to increase funding for citizens with developmental disabilities, improve public education & higher education, her leadership on women’s rights, and her work to abolish the death penalty. In 2014, she led the historic citizen initiative to increase the state minimum wage- hand in glove with labor- that captured 60% support statewide.

The public services that Danielle most values include education, infrastructure, public safety, and human services. She attended public schools kindergarten through law school, has two children at LPS, and is the daughter of public employees-an NSEA member and deputy sheriff. 

Danielle states that she will work to ensure that public services are fully funded. She also states she will fight to create new jobs in vital public sectors. Danielle opposes the privatization of public services, and supports the investigation into the St. Francis Ministries contract.

Danielle supports the right of Nebraska State Employees to unionize, and has worked closely with NAPE over the course of her career. She emphasizes that she has championed health and safety for public employees during her time in the legislature, and intends to continue to fight for working families and public employees. 

She maintains that her experience in legislature makes her the best candidate for office, and that her relationships across the state and political spectrum will assist her in accomplishing her goals. She states, “The storm clouds are gathering on the Nebraska political horizon and there is no time for on-the-job training.”