2020 Primary Voters’ Guide: U.S. Senator for Nebraska

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 U.S. Senate

Matt Innis (R):  No response received.

Chris Janicek (D):
Website: http://chrisforsenate2020.com
Occupation
: Owner of CakeBox and CupCake Omaha -Property Investor
Education: Mary Our Queen Catholic -Archbishop Ryan High School -University of NE – Omaha
Current Public Office, dates held: None
Past Public Office, dates held: None
Military experience: None
Volunteer experience: Youth Emergency Services -Nebraska Aids Project -Big Brothers/Sisters -Stephen Center -Open Door Mission

Dennis Frank Macek (D):
Website: www.macekforsenate.com
Current Public Office, dates held: None (N/A)
Past Public Office, dates held: N/A
Education: BA Marquette University; MA University of Arizona; Extension courses U of Cal; qualified for Ph. D in English Education University of Texas at Austin (degree not completed); finished HVAC program at Capitol City Trade and Technical School Austin, TX
Military Experience: N/A However, sporadic contract work for U. S. military 1973-1975, Pacific Theater (Zukeran, Okinawa, Japan
Volunteer Experience: McGovern campaign, 1971; Dave Domina for Senate campaign, 2014

Ben Sasse (R):  No response received.

Larry Marvin (D):  No response received for biographical information.

Alisha Shelton (D):
Website: http://sheltonforsenate.com
Current Public Office, dates held: N/A
Past Public Office, dates held: N/A
Education: Masters of Science in Clinical Counseling, Masters of Science in Human Services, Bachelor of Science in Psychology Pre-Medicine.
Military Experience: N/A
Volunteer Experience: I volunteer with several organizations. Most recent Center for Holistic Development, providing free therapy to clients. I serve as the regional program, planning, & development co-coordinator for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, past president & more .

Gene Siadek (L):  No response received.

Andy Stock (D):
Website: http://andystockforsenate.com/
Current Public Office, dates held: None
Past Public Office, dates held: None
Education: B.A. UNK; M.A. UNL; Ph.D. U of Colorado; and J.D. University of Texas School of Law
Military Experience: I served as a medic in the Nebraska Army National Guard.

Daniel M Wik (D):
Website: http://wiksenate.com
Current Public Office, dates held: 2016 Democratic Candidate US Congress Nebraska District 1
Education: 1976 White Earth Indian Reservation Mahnomen, MN. 1980 BA Biology/Chemistry. Concordia College, Moorhead, MN 1985. Doctor of Chiropractic. Northwestern Health Sciences University. 2000 Doctor of Medicine. St. George’s University School of Medicine.
Volunteer Experience: Medical Lobbying, American Medical Association, American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, Wisconsin Medical Society.

Angie Phillips (D):
Website: http://angiefornebraska.com
Occupation: I spent over a decade working with at risk youth and families before becoming a community organizer.
Education: Studied Behavioral Science at Bellevue University
Volunteer experience: I’ve spent the last 4 years organizing for humanitarian aid and human rights advocacy. My focus has centered on women’s rights, immigration reform, and social and economic justice. I also founded and chaired the DCDP Women’s Caucus.

U.S. Senate Candidates’ Responses

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

Chris Janicek: We must invest in our election infrastructure to protect the integrity of our elections. Congress’ primary focus needs to be securing our elections from foreign influence. 17 U.S. intelligence agencies found Russia interfered and attempted to influence the 2016 elections with most agreeing that they did influence the outcome. Russia itself announced it plans to do it again in 2020. Robert Muller’s report stated “they are doing it as we speak.” The federal government must act with the urgency, force and funding that this threat to our democracy deserves. The threats of cyber attacks on paperless voting machines has to be addressed immediately. Congress must put a plan together to protect back-end election management systems with paper audit trails. A national law requiring all votes to be recorded on paper would be the easiest fix. States then will be required to conduct statistically sound, risk-limiting audits after every election so the results of our votes are accurate.

Dennis Frank Macek: Pass legislation that coordinates the U. S. Cyber Command with the private sector in evolving and deploying ENCRYPTING SOFTWARE and other products to protect our infrastructure–INCLUDING our election process–from cyber attack and mischief; also pass legislation that partners the Department of Energy and relevant federal agencies with the private sector in maintaining U. S. WORLD LEADERSHIP in developing–and deploying–ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. Concurrently, Congress must ensure that the work of our first lines of defense–the U. S. intelligence agencies and diplomatic community–cannot be subverted. That kind of work should be fully enabled. If it results in calls for implementing specific sanctions or other forms of retribution, Congress must act accordingly and promptly.

Larry Marvin: We should already have severe penalties in place. I will help get them updated.

Alisha Shelton: As a U.S. Senator I would introduce an election security bill than request all voting machines run independently of the internet. We need research completed on our entire voting infrastructure with recommendations on protecting voter information and the integrity of the voting system. The bill would also address foreign influence by mandating all candidates enter this into their quarterly reports. Election Day should be a National holiday and voters should be automatically enrolled upon turning 18.

Andy Stock: Our democracy is at stake and we need to dedicate the money and resources necessary to insure our elections are free from foreign interference and influence. Obviously, bolstering our cyber security capabilities would be a key component of any congressional bill addressing this issue.

Daniel M Wik: Cyber Security Technology investment should parallel US Military Cyber Security Technology. The key to success is testing security in non-election years on local elections to perfect all flaws.

Angie Phillips: We have evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections. It is Congress’s responsibility to defend the U.S. voting system from foreign influence. We can safeguard American elections by updating election infrastructure and mandating paper ballots and post-election audits. I support the Protecting American Votes and Elections (PAVE) Act of 2019 to help ensure the integrity of our elections is protected. This Act would replace insecure voting machines with reliable, secure hand-marked paper ballots and gives states the funding needed to defend their election systems. The PAVE Act will also ban internet, WiFi, and cellular connections for voting machines and creates minimum cybersecurity standards for voting machines, voter registration databases, and electronic poll books. To combat the spread of disinformation, I also support reinstating the cybersecurity coordinator at the National Security Council and additional sanctions for countries that engage in election interference.

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

Chris Janicek: Science backed evidence establishes that climate change is real. Under this current administration we can forecast more attacks on the environment right now and in the future. I will work tirelessly in challenging the lawlessness of environmental protections being lifted and work towards reducing carbon emissions and clean water legislation. I will advocate relentlessly for solutions that will protect people, farms, animals and the planet, now and for the future. The United States must re-enter the Paris climate agreement and work with other countries on a global scale. We must invest in wind energy, solar, geo-thermal, nuclear, hydro and all other forms of green energy. We must stop new fossil fuel exploration and phase out leaking and polluting pipelines. Our environment is suffering, wildlife is struggling with a loss of habitat and starving. We cannot wait, we must take action now. We must elect better representatives. I want a democracy to live in and a planet to live on.

Dennis Frank Macek: Begin eliminating the root CAUSES of global-climate changes. For openers, fossil fuel must no longer be subsidized. As a U. S. Senator from Nebraska, I will sponsor and fight for legislation– to immediately deploy in all U. S. electric power systems the best market-based technology utilizing 100% SOLAR ENERGY or 100% MIXED sources of renewable energy, to facilitate–immediately–free-market development of technologies to use renewable sources of energy FOR MOST FORMS of transportation, to partner with states and cities and private industry to modernize our electric-power grids FOR USING 100% RENEWABLE-SOURCED energy. Moreover, I will press for U. S. WORLD LEADERSHIP in stopping global-climate warming. Here our diplomatic community must weigh in with Congress, for instance to oblige Brazil to stop destroying our planet’s “lungs”–the Amazonian Rain Forest. Always I will support scientific and technical innovations, such as carbon sequestration.

Larry Marvin: Climate change is scientific and I also want to know their reports on the climate that caused Nebraska to be covered by water possibly millions of years ago.

Alisha Shelton: In order to lessen the effects of climate change I support the Green New Deal, moving to 100% clean energy by 2030. We currently have Nebraskans farmers who are practicing regenerative farmer and not receiving incentives for this, while farmers and ranchers in California do. I support this being a federal program where all farmers and ranchers can benefit and take pride in saving our environment.

Andy Stock: I support the goals of the Green New Deal and many of the proposed programs but I would put more emphasis on a carbon tax and directly redistribute those receipts to every man, woman, and child in America on a monthly basis. A carbon tax works by putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, giving companies an economic incentive to lower their emissions. Individual consumers are also incentivized to make greener choices because it would make goods produced by companies that emit less greenhouse gasses cheaper than goods from companies that emit more. A “revenue neutral” carbon tax simply means that whatever revenues the government collects from its carbon tax should be redistributed to all citizens equally. Making a carbon tax revenue neutral is important because it would make the new tax an economic stimulant rather than depressant. Moreover, it would help compensate citizens for the damages they have suffered from greenhouse gas emitters.

Daniel M Wik: 1. 50% Ethanol & biodiesel will drastically reduce carbon emissions, save imminant farm bankruptcy, and Nebraska has the ethanol processing capacity to start in 120 days. 2. Nebraska is one of the highest wind capacity states in America, as technology investment develops wind energy will become self sufficient and profitable self sustaining. Wind energy has the capacity to lower property and income taxes in Nebraska. 3. Ethanol byproducts feeds livestock, is more nutritious, and cheaper than feeding livestock corn, producing more nutritious protein food sources. 4. 50% decreases Mideast Oil Imports, increasing American Energy Independence. 5. 50% Ethanol decreases Chinese Export Manipulation and American dependence on trade negociations, and creates another export product for the United States which will decrease overseas carbon emissions, as this must be a world wide participation.

Angie Phillips: We must take swift action to reduce the effects of climate change. The United States should re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement as well as work to surpass those goals. We must end our reliance on fossil fuels and move toward 100% clean energy by decarbonizing electricity, vehicles, and buildings. Nebraska can lead the way in carbon sequestration with regenerative agriculture. Regenerative organic agriculture could remove more than 100% of the current CO2 emissions while building soil health, maintaining crop yield, increasing crop resilience, and improving profitability. Regenerative organic agriculture also increases water absorption and reduces runoff and the release of toxins into our water supplies. We must also work to end and correct environmental injustices placed on marginalized communities including Native people who have been disproportionately impacted by companies that place profits over the preservation of Native lands and sacred sites.

What are your thoughts on immigration policy?

Chris Janicek: Our current immigration policy is not working and is a violation of human rights and current immigration law. Immigrants crossing the border through legal ports of entry seeking asylum should be documented and within 48 hours have a legal decision on residency. It is costing the U.S. taxpayer hundreds of $millions and destroying families and lives in detaining immigrants that could be integrated into our workforce and economy. They are coming here in search of a better life. Immigrants who cross the border illegally should be exposed to our legal system to determine eligibility for documentation and/or returned to their country. Those that break and violate our laws should be deported. The United States has close to 900,00 DACA (deferred action for early childhood arrivals) protected immigrants. This protection could be revoked at any time under the current administration. I advocate putting all DACA members on a path to citizenship. The U.S. is the only home they have known.

Dennis Frank Macek: It has to be realistic and pragmatic. We in the U. S. are extremely fortunate to have foreign-national STEM professionals here on work permits, green cards or student visas. We need to KEEP ‘EM HERE–whatever that takes. Any such measures should transcend quota numbers. In any year, the USA does not have infinite capacity to accept immigrants. Moreover the number of new arrivals annually shouldn’t exceed reasonable limits. Therefore we need immigration quotas that accord with changing realities. Quotas would be–and currently are–of two classes: educated and trained persons who can fill specific needs, and people who offer only basic skills and muscle. We need both. What the quotas should be only the experts can say. I can say with conviction that DACA recipients should have a clear, far less onerous path to U. S. citizenship. They have been–they are–US.

Larry Marvin: Immigration is a twisted and emotionally hot issue. My Savior Jesus Christ was a refugee from the criminal dictator king Herod. We need to update our laws. We have our regular laws on immigration and then we have NAFTA or the new USMCA laws that facilitate businesses and skilled laborers. Our old laws deal with Green Cards or temporary visas.

Alisha Shelton: My thought on our immigration policy is that it needs to change as soon as possible. We need a clear step-by-step process for individuals when they seek asylum that does not separate them from family and force them to sleep at our border. The option to live with American families, while completing steps to apply for asylum should be reinstated. We need a complete immigration reform where adults & parents are granted citizenship after 3 years of DACA with automatic inclusion of their minor children.

Andy Stock: Our government could’ve fixed our broken immigration system long ago but instead it bowed down to corporate masters that demanded an endless supply of cheap, non-unionized labor. The decades old charade of pretending to fix immigration continues to this day. Sadly, under President Trump a disturbing new twist has been added; his administration inflicts needless cruelties on immigrant children and families to further sell the charade that they are fixing the system. They aren’t. To fix our broken system we need to take two steps. One, stop the inflow of new undocumented immigrants. And two, give all 10 million of the undocumented immigrants who are already here—so long as they’ve never committed a crime of violence—free and full citizenship. This would not only profoundly improve their lives, it would improve the lives of all American workers by bringing our shadow economy into the light, making it easier for workers to organize and fight for better wages and conditions.

Daniel M Wik: 1. DACA, no criminal record, 2 years citizenship , not 7, with deportation protection. DACA kids for the most part are American kids and should not live in fear of deportation. 2. Non Citizen Adult Immigrant employed, no criminal record, 2 year citizenship, not 7 years. Labor Unions, not ICE administer to protect from deportation. Law abiding decent people who simply want to work and care for their families are the quality people we want in America. 3. Foreign Worker Employment Administration by Labor Unions monitoring matching American Employers with job openings and Foreign Workers with no criminal record, guaranteed 2 year sponsored job sensable controlling border crossing. If American Employer wishes to permanently hire Foreign Worker, no criminal record, 2 year citizenship. America needs honest working immigrants to contribute to our society. 4. The Border Wall does not solve Immigration, this is a workable common sense immigration solution.

Angie Phillips: Our current immigration system is broken and inhumane. The system has been further strained by President Trump’s harmful executive orders and policies. Millions of migrants, including children, are being detained in unsanitary and overcrowded detention centers. The Remain in Mexico order has endangered the lives of thousands. Seeking asylum is legal and migrants being detained on civil charges should be released immediately as well as all end forms of family separation. ICE has proven to be a corrupt agency and should be abolished. We should return the handling of immigration services back to Immigration and Naturalization Services and implement more efficient ways to address human and drug trafficking. DACA and TPS recipients should have an immediate path to citizenship and there should be an immediate end to the Trump administration’s Muslim ban. We also must address climate change as part of the solution to immigration as it will continue to contribute to the displacement of migrant

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

Chris Janicek: The 2nd Amendment protects the right of gun ownership. I respect this amendment. Over 90% of Americans, including gun owners, support common sense gun laws. I am for enforcing the laws we currently have and recommend the following: 1) Root out the problems that make guns too easy to obtain, regulating easy, unrestricted access. 2) Background checks on all purchases. 3) Registration on all owned firearms. 4) Gun training and a certificate or license to own and operate. Compare to driver’s education and license. 5) Insurance on guns in case of an accident. 6) National assault weapon registry and off premise “assault weapon library” storage with check out accessibility.

Dennis Frank Macek: The Second Amendment is the law of the land, but for the sake of public safety, universal background checks on prospective gun purchasers must be implemented. Too many crazies own firearms that kill or maim; the stats bear this out. Of course we need to close ALL gun-sales loopholes. Collaterally, a person who is not on military duty has no business owning–or using-military or military-style ordnance. ANY military ordnance. Weaponry designed to kill many people fast must be banned and deemed illegal. Public safety and common sense DEMAND that the Congress do this.

Larry Marvin: I stress self defense. The day Congresswoman Gabby Gifford was wounded and others were killed, and elderly woman grabbed the killers gun and hands and s two other men helped her take the gun away from the killer who ran away. So, who do you think would next to be shot if the killer had succeeded to reloaded his gun? Maybe that lady and maybe those two men. So, this is self help or self defense. We have other cases of bystanders stopping mass shootings. We really need mental health coverage on our Patient Protection Affordable Care Act.

Alisha Shelton: My recommendations for sensible gun legislation would include expanding background checks, encouraging manufacturers to implement smart guns, and introduce parental controls.

Andy Stock: I support background checks, waiting periods, closing the gun show loophole, an assault weapons ban, magazine clip limitations, and reinstating the Violence Against Women Act. But we also need to attack income inequality. Countries with less income inequality have considerably lower levels of gun violence. And we need to finally end our failed War On Drugs. The War On Drugs has done nothing to lower drug usage rates and it has had a number of unintended consequences. One of those unintended consequences has been the proliferation of drug cartels and gangs, two large sources of gun violence in America.

Daniel M Wik: 1. I own guns. I support Constitutional Amendement II; right of the people to keep and bear arms. 2. Security backround and fingerprint checks should be the same in gun shops, gun shows, gun swap meets, or any palce where gun commerce is engaged. Honest gun owners do not mind waiting 2-4 weeks for a gun license. 3. Fingerprint Technology, print recognition on each gun much like cell phones, prevents anyone other than the owner from using the gun. This prevents many potential accidental shootings and stolen guns being unable to use. 4. Requiring gun purchases to participate in a one day class parallel to concealed carry classes allows an additional layer of observation of potential malignant gun users. 5. Affordable psychological care is key in preventing mass killings, thus Healthcare reform is key to treating mass killings. 6. Gun laws must be common sense workable solutions, as many highly restrictive gun laws do not work.

Angie Phillips: All Americans are impacted by gun violence and with the majority of Americans are in support of responsible gun legislation. The only thing standing in our way of ending gun violence are lobbyists and organizations like the NRA spending billions of dollars lobbying Congress and spreading disinformation. I will work towards ending gun violence in the following ways through universal background checks, creating a federal licensing system, increasing waiting periods, capping firearm purchases, strengthening anti-trafficking laws, banning high capacity ammunition magazines, prohibit accessories that turn semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic weapons, closing the “boyfriend” loophole, developing federal safety standards, holding manufacturers and dealers accountable, fully funding evidence-based intervention programs and gun violence research, establishing federal safe storage laws, and passing extreme risk protection or “red flag” legislation.

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