Hannah Michelle Bussa
State Sen.Carol Blood announced her run for governor of Nebraska on Sept. 13.
Blood said she decided to run for governor because the country has turned to a narrative of “us vs. them.”
“This narrative is about contempt, distrust and fear and it’s poisoning our society,” she said. “I believe Nebraskans can do better and see opportunities for effective change if we can work together, bridge these divides and transform this division and contempt into understanding and connection.”
She said she wants to bring true transparency to the residents of Nebraska.
The governor is part of the executive branch of the Nebraska government, which is made up of six elected officials and a handful of state agencies. Blood said the governor appoints the leaders of the state agencies, has the power to sign or veto legislation, has influence on the budgeting process and helps direct state agencies in tandem with the legislature.
On Blood’s campaign website, she has four key issues listed: prosperity for all Nebraskans, maintain public safety and improve public health, invest in Nebraska’s infrastructure and encourage education. These are the key issues she will focus on as she travels during her campaign.
“Nebraska needs to prioritize making Nebraska feel like home and lift up all Nebraskans regardless of who they are, what they look like, how they identify, or where they are from,” Blood said. “We have the power to dismantle bias, prejudice and stereotypes. It starts with our governor leading by example.”
Part of Blood’s “encourage education” issue includes addressing student loan debt.
“I believe we need a new approach to student loan debt relief and look forward to working with young adults to find ways we can start helping those who are drowning in school debt,” she said.
“I believe much of this starts at the beginning when the debt begins, before it becomes overburdening.”
Nebraska has been debating funding a new prison. Blood previously worked in the prison system, in a maximum security men’s institution for six years.
“I can tell you that the issues we are seeing are not new issues,” she said. “They are systemic issues that have never been properly addressed and are now more problematic. Until we have a prison system that really does help to reform these individuals that will one day be your neighbor, it is not going to change anything building a new facility.”
She said lawmakers must address the staffing issues, training issues and the lack of rehabilitative services.
As abortion policy debate faces a new era, Blood said the conversations around issues that pertain to women’s bodies need to be more respectful.
“It’s not appropriate to make our bodies political,” she said. “I’ve yet to see any bills that pertain to men and their reproductive rights. This is a sensitive issue because it has been made into a wedge issue and used as a marketing tool to give or take away support of good candidates. We need leadership that will find a balance and help to educate Nebraskans on what tools should be made accessible to help women from having to even make any hard decisions such as abortion.”
Blood said she has always prioritized Nebraska’s most vulnerable and will continue to champion causes that uplift Nebraskans with disabilities and others who are struggling.
On the environment, she said it is important for Nebraska to be responsive to issues, and not drag them out. This ultimately hurts residents and the land where they live.
“We can do better in all of these areas,” she said. “We’ve not seen our current executive branch championing these issues with anything but words. It’s time for timely action.”
Blood is currently the only Democrat who has announced a run for office. In April, two Republicans, Jim Pillen and Charles Herbster, announced their campaigns.
“I don’t see myself as a Democratic woman running in a Republican State,” Blood said. “I see myself as a Nebraskan running for public office in Nebraska. That is my mindset.”
Blood said she doesn’t waste any energy on attack ads – she will win her race by knocking on doors and making personal calls.
“I can tell you that all those attack ads are proving my point,” she said. “That politics has become this weird vortex of political discourse where they use logical fallacies to fool people into believing things that are simply not true about good candidates and what they support.”
Blood said she thinks Nebraskans are smarter than the attacks and are sick and tired of this rhetoric.
“We have more in common than we do differences,” she said.
Blood said she believes she is best fit to be Nebraska’s next governor because Nebraskans want to be heard.
“We need a leader who is willing to extend grace and does not lead by instilling fear in our citizens with half-truths and outright lies, or by creating pretend issues that distract from our real issues of concern – like keeping young adults in Nebraska (especially in rural areas), addressing environmental issues that are urgent such as Mead and Alvo, Nebraska, or how we protect our landowners along the XL Pipeline who had land stolen from them through eminent domain that is now owned by foreign companies who can do whatever they want with that land now,” she said. “Property rights is about feeling safe on your land, being able to drink your water and eat what you plant. All issues that have been ignored for a decade. It’s time for somebody to step in and let Nebraskans know that it is not us vs them but all of us who must work together to make Nebraska better.”
Blood’s campaign website can be found here.
The primary election will be held on May 10, and the gubernatorial election will be held in November 2022 as Gov. Pete Ricketts terms out.