Omaha is well-known across the nation for its rising political scene.
Located in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, Omaha has provided many publicized races in the past few years. The district voted for then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008, splitting from the rest of Nebraska. The congressional race last fall between incumbent Brad Ashford and challenger Don Bacon wasn’t called until 6:30 a.m. the day after election day. And last spring, the two mayoral candidates for Omaha each brought in one former presidential candidate to support their races – Bernie Sanders and Scott Walker.
This kind of activity means that there are many opportunities to get involved in Omaha, whether you are looking for a career in politics, looking for friends who think like you do or just want to volunteer a little time for your favorite candidate. There are three ways that you can get involved while you study here at UNO:
1) Join a club on campus, or start your own! There are several groups on campus that focus on political issues, whether they support candidates, parties or ideals.
Some campus groups support political parties, like the College Democrats. Others, like Maverick Students for Life, discuss singular issues. There are also groups that exist to defend certain sets of ideology.
One new chapter coming to campus this fall is Young Americans for Freedom. “We just want to show the campus that you don’t have to be afraid to be conservative, and we want to give conservatives a place to belong,” says Chris Brady, the secretary of the new student organization.
Students are also encouraged to start their own club at UNO. If you can’t find a chapter dedicated to your favorite topic, find a few friends who are also passionate about the idea and visit the Student Involvement Office inside the Milo Bail Student Center.
2) Write letters to the editor! This is a terrific way to have your voice heard. Our opinion section regularly publishes letters written to our paper about various political topics, and even issues outside of politics occasionally. If you like to write and feel like your opinion isn’t being fairly represented on campus, you can write a letter to The Gateway and ask for it to be published.
3) Volunteer with a campaign or organization in your spare time! Currently, the next major election is November of 2018, when Senator Fischer and Congressman Bacon come up for re-election, as well as several other local candidates. This may seem like a long while away, but campaigns are already gearing up for another round! For example, former Congressman Brad Ashford is running for Congress to try to get his seat back from Congressman Bacon; however, he first faces Kara Eastman in a primary election.
In his victory speech last November, Congressman Bacon credited his youth volunteers as “the game-changer” in his campaign. Whose game will you change at UNO?