Two Favorite People

February, 2019

Lincoln -- What's not to like about two Nebraskans who have been turning heads recently. One should get the Pulitzer Prize for journalism and the other should be elected President of the United States.

The Pulitzer

If you read the Omaha World-Herald, you know of reporter Henry Cordes' series on how the board responsible for managing the Omaha Public Schools' pension fund lost hundreds of millions of dollars to bad judgment and fraud. The jaw-dropping stories are investigative reporting at its best. Not only that, the OWH has published large pictures of those responsible for the incredible waste. This should make everyone who touches pension funds, or holds any position of trust over public finances of any kind, shiver with due alarm as to their own performance.

This is not the first time Henry Cordes has dived into looking at fraud, waste, and abuse of public monies. For this latest work, on top of his lifetime achievement, he should be in line for a major award.

The Presidency

Lately when I've been asked for whom I'd like to vote for president in 2020, I tell them I have a Nebraskan in mind. He was born in West Point, Nebraska, and graduated from Butte high school and Chadron State College. He is a retired master sergeant in the Army National Guard. He taught English in China for two years and high school social studies in Mankato, Minnesota, for many years thereafter, where he was also a football coach. He went on to become a congressman from Minnesota and more recently was elected governor there.

I met Tim Walz last summer on Capitol Hill, in the Cannon building where he was hosting a meeting on soil health and conservation. He was a member of the House Agriculture Committee and arranged for the meeting to be held in the Veterans Affairs Committee's hearing room, as he was also a member of that committee. Unfortunately, I did not get into a sufficiently long conversation to compare notes with him as a fellow Nebraskan.

What a fine president he'd make: decent, knowledgeable, experienced. He was rated as having the 7th most bipartisan voting record in the House, demonstrating his ability to bring people together. Even Nebraska Republicans would have to give him a look, despite his being a Democrat (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party). A lot of veterans from the enlisted ranks would like the idea of a master sergeant in charge of the Department of Defense, especially if the 2020 alternative is a draft-dodger. Many former high school football players would like the idea of a coach in the Oval Office, who could send poor performers for a lap around the White House when they need it. Governor Tim Walz for President!