League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha

2020 Primary Voters’ Guide: U.S. House of Representatives, Nebraska District 2

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of 2020 Primary Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

The primary election is May 12. Find out more about voting by mail: Extensive guide | Quick video guide

Candidates for NE-02 Representative

Paul Anderson (R):
Website: http://Paulanderson4congress.com
Education: High School Diploma (1971) Kensington, Ks. Associate Degree (Construction) 2018 Metro Community College
Military Experience: Retired from U.S. Navy Reserve 2008 (21 yrs. Mobilized in 2004 Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005 Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort
Volunteer Experience: Habitat for Humanity (5 yrs.) DAV Volunteer Driver (5 yrs.)

Ann Ashford (D):
Website: http://annashford2020.com
Education: BA, Government/International Studies, University of Notre Dame JD, Creighton University School of Law
Volunteer Experience: Various non-profit Boards including Inclusive Communities, ICAN, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Planned Parenthood

Don Bacon (R): No response received. 

Kara Eastman (D):
Website: http://www.eastmanforcongress.com
Occupation: Business owner, nonprofit executive
Education: MSW Loyola U; BA Pitzer College
Past Public Office, dates held: Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors 2015-2019
Military experience: None
Volunteer experience: Board Member, Nonprofit Association of the Midlands

Gladys Harrison (D):
Website: www.gladys4congress.com
Current Public Office, dates held: None.
Past Public Office, dates held: None.
Education: Graduated Marian High School 1985 Attended College of St. Mary’s Omaha, Nebraska Attended Bellevue University Bellevue, Nebraska.
Military experience: None.
Volunteer experience: Youth Group Leader and Women’s Group Leader Northside Mennonite Church Omaha Riverfront Jazz and Blues Festival Open Door Mission Habitat for Humanity Brew Ha Ha Career Day Mt. View Elementary School Art and Soup VNA Food Bank Celebrity Chef.

Candidates’ Responses

What, if anything, should Congress do to protect the U.S. voting system from foreign influence?

Paul Anderson: As your congressman, I will sponsor legislation, to require, that the federal election, will be done by, voting by mail. If and when this would become law, I would encourage the state of Nebraska to join the states of Colorado, Washington, and Oregon who vote entirely by mail. In my view, this would increase our voting systems integrity and security from foreign influence. Here are some other positives, it would increase voter turnout, save the taxpayers money, allow more time for the voter to educate themselves about the candidates and ballot issues, and possibly eliminate the need for a voter ID law.

Ann Ashford: Voting is our most important right and must be secured from the influence of all bad agents. The House passed the Safe Act and the Shield Act in 2019 and both must be passed by the Senate. The Safe Act provides for voting security, banning voting machines connected to the Internet, mandated cyber security measures, requiring voting machines to be manufactured in the US, and paper ballots as backup. The Shield Act requires any candidate for federal office report any offer of foreign assistance, forbids campaigns from sharing information with foreign agents, and applies the rules to online ads as well as tv/radio. Finally, Citizens United must be addressed to remove the influence of dark money. Transparency must be legislated and enforced to prevent undue influence by foreign or domestic actors.

Kara Eastman: We need to aggressively tighten cyber-security and prosecute officials who illegally take foreign contributions in violation of federal law.

Gladys Harrison:  Congress should do what every is necessary to ensure that our elections are protected from foreign influence. The right to vote is a privilege for everyone born in America, and those who come here and become citizens. There are parts of our Constitution which were added to ensure that we all have the right to vote, and we must be committed to defending that basic right. The House has already voted and passed The For the People Act of 2019, which protects the rights of voters, makes it easier to vote, decreases gerrymandering and limits efforts to purge the voter rolls. What we need now is for the Senate to vote and pass this act to protect our right to vote.

What would you do to lessen the effects of climate change?

Paul Anderson: The low sulfur coal that comes out of Wyoming, is the sole reason I got to enjoy a 35 yr. career with the railroad. The carbon foot print from burning coal and petroleum products, has probably had the largest negative effect on our climate. In my view, the 24/7 availability of nuclear power to generate our electricity, would be the best way to lessen the effects of climate change. Solar and wind generation, are not available 24/7. Congress, also needs to support and encourage, high speed light rail, and electric car production.

Ann Ashford: The House has passed the Climate Action Now Act, HR 9 and it must be passed by the Senate. The Act keeps the United States in the Paris Agreement and requires the President to develop and update annually a plan for the US to meet its obligations within the agreement. Under this Act, the President must include steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, provide clean energy job development in rural areas, slash emissions, and cut off new fossil fuel development on public lands. I will support legislation that will move to de-carbonize the US energy system by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5°C or below. Additionally, I will support actions such as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, sponsored by the Citizens Climate Lobby, that bring all government, industry, and individual citizens together with a common goal.

Kara Eastman: I support the Green New Deal. We need to move to carbon-neutral energy. Basically let’s get everything on the grid and make the grid green.

Gladys Harrison:  To lessen the effects of climate change we must continue to lead, and educate the world on climate change. We must develop a realistic plan that allows us to care for and clean up the environment without causing a loss of jobs or business. We need a plan that creates a win-win situation for all of us, as well as the environment, and that’s going to require a true partnership between government, technology, business, science and unions.

What are your thoughts on immigration policy?

Paul Anderson: I believe that the number of non-citizens should be limited. I would support legislation to do away with the birthright of children, born of illegal immigrants. I also do not favor, building a wall on our north or south border. I would favor legislation that would require all employers, who have non-citizen workers, to provide time off (with pay), to learn how to read, write, and speak the English language. I would also favor legislation, to shorten the amount of time and amount of money, that it takes to become an American citizen.

Ann Ashford: The US immigration policy must recognize our history and role in the world as being the beacon of hope and aspiration. We must never again tolerate children in cages or turning away asylum seekers. Steps to take include: 1) We must provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and their families; 2) Never separate families at the border; 3) Never use for-profit prisons to house individuals coming in at the border; 4) Allow individuals to be in the US while waiting for status determinations, and not require them to return to their country of origin; 5) Once the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, accept a larger share of refugees and asylum seekers; 6) Assuming hiring levels return to pre COVID-19 levels, increase the number of work permits and visas available; 7)

Suspend the operation of detention camps during the COVID-19 pandemic releasing those who have not been otherwise charged with a felony to alleviate the virus propellant effect of detention activities.

Kara Eastman: We need a clean DACA bill passed right away. We need to protect TPS individuals. We need to move away from “enforcement only” policies. We need to fully fund the state department and increase foreign aid to countries that are economically struggling.

Gladys Harrison:  Unless your ancestors were among the indigenous peoples of this country, we are all immigrants—some by choice, and some by force. My vision is that we would continue to be a country that provides opportunities for people to legally come to this country, adhere to our existing laws and ultimately to become American citizens.  I have a member of my family that is a ‘Dreamer.’ Their parents were seeking a better way of life, and they came here as children. This family grew up in America, was educated here, made friends in America, learned to read, write and speak English in America; made memories in America and graduated high school in America. As an adult, they became a tax paying member of our society. This is the only home they know.  We need to create a path for citizenship for ‘Dreamers,’ enforce the laws that we currently have around immigration which legally allow people to come here from foreign countries and ensure that our borders are protected in a safe and sensible manner.

What, if any, changes would you recommend for “sensible gun legislation”?

Paul Anderson: I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment. I would support legislation, that would require, that when a gun is purchased at a gun shop, gun show, from a neighbor, friend, or family it must be registered. Of course, the big loophole with this would be, persons who intend on committing a crime with a gun, won’t be registering their gun. A number of years ago, I saw this on a bumper sticker,” Gun Control is Not About Guns”, I agree with the message.

Ann Ashford: It is possible to provide for sensible gun regulation while protecting 2nd amendment rights. Every life lost to gun violence is one life too many. I would recommend at least the following legislation: 1) universal and expanded background checks; 2) close the boyfriend loophole; 3) adopt national red flag laws; 4) regulate magazine purchases; 5) restrict individuals convicted of hate crimes from purchasing firearms; 6) adopt national red flag laws to permit local law enforcement to obtain a court order to remove firearms from individuals believed to be a danger to themselves/others; 7) fund research into gun violence causes and effects; and 8) enact “no fly, no buy”. Almost 20 years ago, a friend committed suicide using a gun and none of this legislation could have prevented that. But we owe it to our fellow human beings to prevent every loss of innocent life possible.

Kara Eastman: I support red flag laws and universal background checks on the federal level.

Gladys Harrison:  Having been the victim of gun violence, the changes I would recommend for sensible gun legislation are comprehensive background checks, raising the minimum age to purchase a gun, extend requirements for multiple purchases and mandatory training on gun safety.

About Us

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN: 47-6025006). Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha does not endorse the contents of any web pages linked here.

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