Get to Know Your Unicameral: Sen. Carol Blood

Photo courtesy of Nebraska Legislature

Emily White

Carol Blood decided to run for the Bellevue City Council in 2008 because—as she put it—“why notme?”

She was watching the city council meetings and was frustrated that no strategic plan was in place.

“I was very surprised that the third largest city in Nebraska had no strategic plan,” Blood said. “If you don’t have a strategic plan when you’re a municipality, you’re basically just writing checks. You really can’t budget effectively without a strategic plan.

Blood ran and won the election and won again in 2012. Then, she looked ahead.

“I realized that a lot of the issues that we had at the municipal level was because of how state statute is written,” Blood said.

After a narrow defeat in the 2014 election, Blood took another shot at the Legislature in 2016 and defeated the incumbent.

“I feel really proud of my first two years,” Blood said. “Everything I promised I would accomplish, I’ve already accomplished. And I’m pushing forward and working quite hard for my community—especially for our veterans and our military families that play a very important role in my district.”

Blood represents District 3, located in Sarpy County and covering parts of Bellevue and Papillion. Because of the close proximity of Offutt Air Force Base, her constituency includes many active and retired service members and their families.

“No matter where you’re located in Nebraska, you have to understand the fact that we need Offutt Air Force Base,” Blood said. “I make that a priority, because for myself and Senator Crawford, who’s in District 45, Offutt Air Force Base is literally our backyard.”

Right from the start, Blood knew that more must be done to support, in particular, military families. Among the measures she has supported are those that would help people in military families find work, education, and affordable, reliable health care.

“Keeping these people here in Nebraska, we’re keeping a highly educated workforce, we are keeping tax dollars, and we are keeping jobs,” Blood said.

Blood has her eye on other policy areas this session as well, including women’s health. A measure she introduced in January would exempt the sales tax for supplies related to breastfeeding and would also exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws.

“We really need to embrace our moms here in Nebraska,” Blood said. “When we push initiatives like breastfeeding, we should be doing everything in our power to make women feel safe and wanted in our communities if they choose to breastfeed in public.”

Now halfway through her first term, Blood thinks the two most important things she’s learned in this role are to stay above politics and focus on policy, and to listen to every voice–not just the ones that are loudest.

Bottom line, Blood says her bills revolve around solving problems.

“I don’t have a lot of sexy legislation, because it’s not really important to me to get the headlines all the time,” Blood said. “It’s important for me that my constituents come up to me and say, ‘Hey, I really appreciate this bill; this made a difference in my life.’ That’s why I’m a public servant.”