Primary Colors

Last week’s primary elections came and went, with the top vote-getters advancing to the November elections. Thank you to our poll workers and election officials who serve and protect our free and fair elections. Thank you, as well, to those whose road to the November elections ended on Tuesday night. Putting your name in the public square to stand for election takes courage and commitment to service, regardless of the outcome.

Turnout was not as high as projected by the Secretary of State’s office- perhaps thanks to the lack of many competitive primaries outside of more local races. Since both Dennis Schaardt and Bob Hallstrom advanced to the November elections to represent Southeast Nebraska in our Legislature, I’ve been asked several times if I’ll be making an endorsement in the race. I won’t be endorsing either Bob or Dennis for several reasons- most importantly because I think they’d both do a solid job of representing District 1 in Lincoln.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned during my campaign in 2020 came from a higher-ranking elected official who graciously refused to endorse either candidate in my race because the official had positive relationships with each candidate. It’s always a bit of a disappointment to be turned down, but the message attached to the rejection stuck with me.

“While I appreciate you and your opponent reaching out for my support, I find myself in the awkward position of hoping both of you somehow emerge with a win in November. I know whichever one of you works the hardest, consistently provides a listening ear to constituents, and best outlines your vision for your region will walk away victorious. My endorsement (or lack thereof) probably won’t tip the scales much and shouldn’t stand in the real work of earning the votes of your constituents.”

I embraced that message wholeheartedly by knocking 15,000 doors and hosting events in every town across our district, even outside of election years. I hope to have a positive relationship with whoever finds themselves getting sworn in at the Legislature next January. Looking at the splits from primary night, it seems like it will be a competitive race. Both candidates have a lifetime of experience and service in Southeast Nebraska. Both know how our state government works. Both also have clearly defined visions for their representation of District 1.

Dennis and Bob are both strong candidates to represent our district- in my mind, at least. My prayer is that whoever emerges victorious in November- in any election on your ballot- works to earn your vote and serve their future constituents selflessly and tirelessly.

Serving as your state senator for six years has been the privilege of a lifetime. You’ll be in good hands with either Bob or Dennis as your next representative in Lincoln.

As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln NE 68509-4604; telephone: 402-471-2733; email: jslama@leg.ne.gov.

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