Surrounded by her three sons, daughter-in-law, mother and a former governor, Deb Fischer made it official on a sunny Tuesday morning in front of her childhood home in Lincoln.
In case you’ve been living in a cave, she’s running for the U.S. Senate, seeking the seat now held by Ben Nelson. Fischer said her primary goals will be to strengthen the economy, balance the federal budget and revitalize communities.
She said she wants to help America regain its financial strength, and expressed concern about the national debt approaching $15 trillion. She said she will work to repeal President Obama’s health care program and is “not going to play politics with our security” but will instead give troops the tools they need to do their jobs.
“I believe in a limited and an effective government,” she said.
She said she will bring “real and genuine” change “rather than political posturing and sound bytes.” Nelson has been a “rubber stamp for the failed economic policies of the Obama administration,” she charged, and represents the Obama and D.C. agenda, not Nebraska.
“I’m not a career politician,” she said. “I’m a wife, mother, rancher, small business owner. It has not been my lifelong ambition to be a U.S. senator.”
While Fischer lived in Lincoln from age four until she got married, she has lived in the third district for the past 39 years. She and her husband and three grown sons all ranch together in Cherry County.
She began her public service career on the Valentine School Board before serving two terms in the Legislature — where this year her profile was raised when she proposed and successfully shepherded to passage a new roads funding bill that will devote a portion of state sales tax revenue to road construction projects.
She joins a field of four vying for the Republican nomination: Schuyler investment adviser Pat Flynn, Attorney General Jon Bruning, State Treasurer Don Stenberg and Omaha truck driver Spencer Zimmerman.
Former Gov. Kay Orr introduced Fischer at the press conference, saying she’s a “fine woman who has the leadership skills that will be good for Nebraska.” Fischer’s father served in Orr’s administration, and was chief engineer for the state Department of Roads.
“She’s a true conservative, she’s a woman of integrity, she’s a woman of intelligence,” Orr said. “I’ve made my choice.”
Asked about how she would overcome the name recognition Bruning and Stenberg have, Fischer said, “I realize I don’t have the name recognition” they do, but said she already is accustomed to putting 30,000 miles per year on her vehicle just representing her legislative district, and is willing to do the work it will take to win.
Standing outside the family home, Fischer’s mother, Florence, said she can see her daughter going to Washington, D.C.
“I knew she’d go somewhere” with her life, Florence said. “She’s always had a good mind.”