Fortenberry. Just sounds like an American name, doesnt it? Jeff Fortenberry- the kind of name that conjures up your old hometown best friend, the one who was always successful, fulfilling his dreams, and is living a happy life. Hes living the dream. But who is Jeff Fortenberry? He is none other than the United States congressman representing Nebraskas first congressional district. Recently elected in November of 2004, Fortenberry is a newcomer or freshman member of Congress. He is a strong Republican with big ideas and plans for the state he so obviously cares for.
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Jeff Fortenberry- though not by name alone- is an exemplary American and a strong leader. Nebraska, as a state, tends not to vary much from district to district. The first district is home to approximately 570,421 people; the total population of Nebraska is 1,711,263 people. Most in the first district (as well as Nebraska as a whole) are white; the first district states that they have only 1. 4% black residents and 4. 2% Hispanic residents. Over 86% of Nebraskans over the age of 25 have high school degrees, and 24% continued on to get a Bachelors degree or higher.
Over 67% of people own homes, with the median of the housing values being $88,000. A majority of the people in eastern Nebraska (Fortenberrys district) are involved in Nebraskas main business- agriculture. Farming and agriculture is a huge part of Nebraskas economy. Corn is a main crop, which lead to the areas as well as Fortenberrys interest in producing ethanol as an alternative fuel. Other than agriculture, a main interest and concern for Nebraskan congressmen, there are various other businesses.
There are many people that work in the retail or education industries, with information services and engineering sciences not far behind. Nebraskans believe that they are ones to set their own star and challenge big corporate powers. They would like to create themselves into a player in the international agricultural markets. This proves where there hearts are located- at home, with their fields and farming. Nebraskas voting trends are often discussed because of their consistent Republican ways that emanate the voting results.
The whole state has voted for the Republican candidate in each presidential election since 1972, most likely earlier also. In the 2004 presidential election, the first district voted for Bush in a majority of 59%. There are only seven counties in Nebraska that have more Democrats than Republicans, and none of these are in the first district. In this strongly Republican state, the first district is arguably the strongest and most consistent. Fortenberrys predecessor, Doug Bereuter, was also a Republican. Jeffrey Lane Fortenberry was born on December 27, 1960 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
He studied at three colleges; he earned a Bachelors degree in economics from Louisiana State University, a Masters in public policy from Georgetown University, and a Masters in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. From 1997-2001, he served as an At-Large member of the Lincoln City Council, working on economic development and community revitalization projects. He also helped balance the citys budget, add new police officers, and build a new hospital. In addition, he has extensive experience in the publishing industry as well as experience in small business investing and work as researcher and economist.
He has strong beliefs that Americas strength lies within her families and communities, and that it is important to create economic strength for these people. He supports stronger national security, efforts of international stability, Nebraskan tradition, and is pro-life. One of the main issues and concerns of his constituents involves agriculture. He has written an AG Plan, an extensive plan devoted to his and his peoples views on agriculture. Since so many Nebraskans work on farms, Fortenberry becomes responsible for upholding such values within the government.
He hopes to encourage agricultural diversity, economic development, and export expansion. He also will promote the use of ethanol, which will add value to Nebraskas economic sector. Being on the congressional committee for international relations, it is only fit that Fortenberry is concerned about homeland security and the war on terror. He supports the troops and the Presidents difficult decision to fight the war on terror. He believes that once we build international support and stabilize the region, then it will be feasible to send the troops home.
He rejects the thought of illegal immigration by way of uncontrolled borders and automatic amnesty. He follows many of the Republican views on other hot issues such as abortion, gay marriage, the right to bear arms, and government control. He strongly supports President Bush and his policies while specifically listening and responding to the concerns of his constituents. Jeffs successful 2004 campaign showed him a win with a majority of 54%. He and his opponent, Matt Connealy (D), both had numerous industrial supporters.
Fortenberry was supported (beginning with the highest contribution) by his leadership PACs, the retired, commercial banks, security and investment firms, insurance firms, and law firms. Connealy was supported by law firms, leadership PACs, building trade unions, his own committees, industrial unions, and public sector unions. Fortenberrys biggest individual/company contributors were Berkshire Hathaway, various Republican PACs, Associated Builders and Contractors, Farmers and Merchants Investments, Pfizer Incorporated, the Credit Union Nation Association, and the American Medical Association.
The campaign was very heated, showing supporters of both major candidates talking dirty and making some strong arguments. Connealy criticized Fortenberry for his supposed poor attendance to city council, an issue that became large and important. As it turns out, Fortenberrys minimal absences were due to the event of his daughters open heart surgery. TV ads with these arguments were subject of much discussion. Both candidates vied for the best endorsements, and had debates on issues such as health care. Besides normally being a Republican state, this election resulted in a Republican win.
When the state was redistricted, a much more democratic county (Saline county) was districted into the 3rd district instead of the 1st district. This county would have given the 1st district a higher number of Democratic voters, possibly enough to pull the election. The districting leads to a Republican win. Since there are far more registered Republican voters than Democrat voters in Nebraska, this trend is very likely to continue. In Fortenberrys term, he is likely to work very hard for his constituents in order to be re-elected. He will fight for what they believe in and achieve their needs within the government.
His main priority, judging by his AG Plan, is and will be agriculture and creating Nebraska into a state that is strong and has power. Being a strong Republican, he will continue to support President Bush and the war on terror, as well as other views that the President supports. He will remain being pro-life and anti-gay marriage, views which will affect any votes he must make on this topic. Based on his views on taxation, he will support tax relief, because he believes that it stimulates economic growth. He also will support an elimination of the Marriage Tax and Death Tax, arguing that they are unfair and are burdens to everyone.
He will most likely do whatever will make the people in his district happy, since he will be a very strong candidate for re-election. He will fight to prove that he can be influential and make the best decisions within his inaugural term. Though he may be new to the House of Representatives, Jeff Fortenberry shows very strong potential. He appears to be a role model for all Nebraskans and Americans, living a successful life and supporting what he and others like him believe in. Within his first term, he will likely find further success which will lead to his re-election and increased popularity.