(Editor’s note: Nathan Johnson is a field canvasser for Kara Eastman’s campaign.)
Of all the candidates to run for Nebraska’s Second Congressional District in my lifetime, Kara Eastman is one of the most attention-grabbing. After years of uninspiring candidates, we have a face-off between a Republican who votes with his party 97 percent of the time and a fierce challenger who has laid out a vision for a stronger and safer America. This race is one to watch, as noted by outlets like The Nation.
On Nov. 6, students will have the opportunity to vote for someone who represents our values and interests. Instead of running a Republican-lite against an actual Republican, we are witnessing a real race between candidates who stand in contrast to another, rather than being forced to pick between different shades of red. In this race, the contrast could not be clearer. On nearly every issue, Eastman emerges as the clear choice.
Eastman is a social worker who has spent more than a decade fighting for racial, social and environmental justice. At the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, she worked to get lead and mold out of homes where children live. She has run a homeless shelter and an ALS assistance group. She is an experienced problem solver who knows how to make real improvements in the lives of real people.
A key issue in the race is the role of PAC money. Eastman has refused to take a cent of corporate PAC donations. Only 6 percent of her funds are from any PAC, including her own party, which is abnormally small. Her opponent has accepted more than $1 million in PAC money, half of his total, and takes donations from corporate lobbyists. The Federal Election Commission filings tell us everything we need to know about whose interests they serve.
Bacon has had more than $1 million dollars spent on his behalf by the Congressional Leadership Fund. The money paid for ads that fact-checkers have found to be false. They have nothing on Eastman’s reputation, experiences, or positions so they have to lie and misrepresent information to stand a chance.
Eastman leads on the issue of healthcare. She proposes a Medicare for All plan that even the conservative Mercatus Center found would save the United States $2 trillion over the next decade and provide stability for millions of Americans.
Comparatively, her opponent voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act on party lines. The repeal would have canceled health insurance for more than 24 million Americans and would have stripped coverage for pre-existing conditions. This disproportionately impacts students, as Bacon’s votes have jeopardized the coverage of many of us would receive. Eastman’s policies will close the coverage gap and make healthcare more affordable.
On school safety the results are similar. Eastman proposes common-sense gun control solutions like background checks, mandatory waiting periods and limits on weapons of war, whose only purpose is to kill large amounts of people, and closing the numerous loopholes that allow for our laws to be circumvented.
Bacon, however, takes a much weaker stance in only calling for safer schools and opposing Eastman’s positions. Politicians nationwide have said “never again,” but if we want to avoid another Parkland or Sandy Hook, we need more than thoughts and prayers—we need policy change.
Immigration is another defining issue. While Bacon likes to play the moderate, he is anything but. He claims to support DACA recipients but has consistently co-sponsored harsh anti-immigrant bills during his term. If Bacon win’s he will vote for a House leader who will perpetuate the horrific policies we have seen in the last two years, including the heartless separation of families at the border.
Eastman takes a very different path. She supports the DREAM Act without undercutting other immigrants. She has also visited UNO with Rep. Ruben Gallego, a leader on this issue. Her advocacy for humane treatment of our fellow humans seeking a better life is fundamentally American.
On every issue of the race Eastman emerges as the clear choice. Her experience, her service, and her policies provide compelling reasons to elect a strong and capable leader for Nebraska’s second district. If you want change, if you want accountability and if you want a stronger community vote for Kara Eastman on Nov. 6.