GAC Summary: Legislative District 6

Senator Machaela Cavanaugh (Incumbent)

Members of the GAC with Senator Machaela Cavanaugh

Senator Machaela Cavanaugh has spent four years in the State Legislature. She currently serves on the Health and Human Services, & Transportation, and Telecommunications committees. Machaela originally ran to advocate for a focus on developmental disabilities in the legislature, and plans on continuing to do so, as well as advocating for Paid Family Medical Leave and investment in broadband and telehealth. She is a mom of three and is passionate about her work in the committees she serves on.

When asked which public services are most important to her, she stated there were too many to choose from. She would like to expand investment in SNAP benefits, the childcare subsidy program, public education, and workforce development within the Department of Labor. She also stated that the unemployment application system should be simplified to lower the barrier of access. Moreover, she wants to invest in tax assistance programs in low income communities.

Machaela states she will work to ensure public services are fully funded.

When asked how federal infrastructure funding should be allocated, she states that reinvesting in aging infrastructure should be a priority, such as roads and bridges. She also states that broadband could be invested in at the same time when roads are torn up, reducing the amount of labor and time required.

Machaela strongly opposes the privatization of state services, and sponsored the bill that ended the privatization of child welfare within the State of Nebraska. Recently, she wrote a letter to the Attorney General, urging him to recoup the funds that were lost through St. Frances Ministries. Moreover, she states that privatization leads to a lack of transparency, and that the government cannot always be run like a business.

She supports the right of Nebraska State Employees to unionize, and states that she would like to see legislative staff unionized as well. She also supports ensuring state employee wages are equal to or greater than inflation. 

When asked if she supported paid parental leave, she states that she supports it, but it’s not quite enough. She is a proponent of Paid Family Medical Leave, which would provide paid leave for anyone with a family medical issue.

In order to end staff turnover and vacancies, Machaela stated the main issue was “Pay, pay, hours, pay, and pay again.” She strongly supports raising state employee wages.

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

Machaela states that her tenacity and aggressive personality help her to get things done, and that she “doesn’t legislate to get re-elected, but to do what’s best for Nebraska.” She loves talking with her constituents, and wants to leave the impression that even if they may disagree, she is there to represent. 

When asked if she considered herself divisive, she states she has heard that about herself, but calls it “malarkey.” She cites her first bill in legislature, which was prioritized by a Republican senator, and her work with Senator Arch in ending child welfare privatization, “It’s easy to say I’m divisive, but when you look at my record, I’ve accomplished a lot.” Machaela also stated that she wants to champion labor in the State of Nebraska, as labor has “been on the offensive for too long.”

Christian Mirch

GAC members with Christian Mirch

Christian Mirch is a ten year veteran Omaha police officer and an attorney. During his time in law enforcement, he saw firsthand the real-world effects of legislative policies, despite their intentions. As an attorney, he saw families struggling, and having his own child inspired him to run for legislature. 

The public services Christian states he most often uses include the Secretary of State’s office, especially when filing legal documents. He also frequently uses roads, files taxes, and public transit. He states that he’s probably used every public service without being aware. He states that he would like to see improvement in child welfare services, and states the necessity of building a new prison to assist in overcrowding issues. Furthermore, he wants expansion of job training programs for incarcerated populations, and states that the State of Nebraska should “capitalize on a workforce we have but aren’t utilizing.”

Christian states that he would work to ensure that public services are fully funded. He cites his law enforcement background, and understands how detrimental it can be to work without proper equipment or reliable funding. 

When asked how federal infrastructure funding should be allotted, he stated his biggest concern is investing in outdated infrastructure, notably roads and bridges. He also states that there are opportunities to fund and expand the Department of Health and Human services and the new gambling system as a stream of revenue.

Christian opposes the privatization of the child welfare system or any health and safety related program. However, he believes there are other areas of opportunities, such as a short-term workforce that may provide public jobs later on. He also states that public/private partnerships may be beneficial in the short-term if also providing public jobs, but he believes that the legislature must ensure the length of the contract does not overrun its term.

Christian supports the right of Nebraska State employees to unionize, and supports ensuring state employee wages are equal to or greater than inflation. He further states that he doesn’t want to give up benefits in exchange for higher salary, and would prefer to achieve both. Moreover, he supports paid parental leave.

To fill vacancies and end agency turnover, Christian believes Nebraska must recruit people into the state, lower property taxes, and improve pay and benefits. He cites several benefits important to retention, such as retirement investing and ensuring safe worksites, especially within correctional facilities.

Christian supports the current rules of the filibuster, but states that he wouldn’t engage in one, as he prefers a yes or no vote. Moreover, he states that he prefers committee chairs to be elected through votes on the record to ensure transparency.

Christian states that he is the best candidate because he is a cooperative negotiator. He understands that running against an incumbent can be tough, but the biggest difference between him and his opponent is that he is trustworthy and straightforward. He also states that, while his opponent is a reliable vote, she is divisive. He wants to build trust, and he states that he is the person that can “get us to that 33.”