A moderate case for Don Bacon

Don Bacon is the Republican Representative candidate and incumbent for Nebraska’s second congressional district. Courtesy of Don Bacon for Congress

Kenneth Pancake

(Editor’s note: Kenneth Pancake is a staff member of Don Bacon’s campaign)

On Nov. 6 voters in Nebraska’s Second Congressional District will have a choice to make.

There is quite a lot of difference between the two candidates on issues. But instead of focusing on the contrast of opinion that so polarizes the nation currently, this is a chance to look at other important things like work ethic, likability and bipartisanship. In other words, which candidate will bring home the Bacon?

Congressman Don Bacon is an across-the-aisle hard worker who knows how to get things done. He comes highly recommended from people across the entire political spectrum. He has military experience that we can’t afford to lose, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

First, Bacon has accomplished a lot in his first term. In fact, he has accomplished much more than is expected for any freshman Congressman. So far, he has had eight legislative priorities passed into law. As if that isn’t enough, three more have passed the House of Representatives and wait on the Senate’s doorstep. Compared to any freshman member of Congress at any point in time this number is stunning.

Much of this work hasn’t just taken place with Bacon’s own party. In fact, the Lugar Center (ran by former Senator Richard Lugar and the Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy) ranked Bacon the 127th most bipartisan member out of Congress’ 435 seats in 2017. That ranking puts Bacon in the top third of the House of Representatives.

But Bacon didn’t stop in 2017: in 2018, he teamed up with Democrat Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24). The two took a few days out of their schedules to visit each other’s districts. They were the very first Representatives to complete the Congressional Exchange Program (which has existed for more than 20 years).

The cooperation wasn’t all fun and games—according to RollCall, Bacon “helped Carbajal advance an amendment… aimed at helping military personnel who immigrated to America legally know their rights and how they can become citizens.”

Another highlight was Bacon’s support for not one, but two immigration bills that would have kept DACA youth in the country legally.

This bipartisan work ethic is why organizations, unions and public leaders have all endorsed Bacon, including many who have endorsed Democrats in the past. These include but are not limited to: every mayor in the second district (from both parties), the Omaha Firefighters Union, the Omaha Police Officers Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Omaha World Herald, and eight other labor unions and trade associations, among others.

Why? Because when Bacon arrived at Washington in January 2017, he immediately reached out to groups that both supported and opposed him in the prior election. He and his staff called and asked, “What do you need? How can I help?” Sadly, this can be rare in such a polarized atmosphere. Fortunately, Bacon only gets better when you turn up the heat.

Finally, his military experience is priceless. As the highest-ranking active duty veteran in Congress, the country can’t afford to lose his expertise. With five tours to the Middle East and commands of Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Offutt Air Force Base here in Bellevue, Bacon has experience in cyber-warfare, military readiness and intelligence.

During his command at Offutt, he established relationships with people still in leadership positions, such as senior military staff and local political leaders like Mayor Rita Sanders of Bellevue.

Our nation is very politicized. One letter behind a politician’s name seems to determine a lot these days. But there is one person in this race who is determined to represent everyone in his district. If voters want leadership, hard work, experience and the ability to cross the aisle, they would be well-advised to vote for Congressman Bacon.