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Congressman Jeff Fortenberry
“Fortenberry”. Just sounds like an American name, doesn’t 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. He’s “living the dream”. But who is Jeff Fortenberry? He is none other than the United States congressman representing Nebraska’s 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. 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 Bachelor’s 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 (Fortenberry’s district) are involved in Nebraska’s main business- agriculture. Farming and agriculture is a huge part of Nebraska’s economy. Corn is a main crop, which lead to the area’s as well as Fortenberry’s 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. Nebraska’s 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. Fortenberry’s 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 city’s 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 America’s 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 people’s 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 develop
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