Nebraska’s newest Congressman is adjusting to life in Washington.
Democrat Brad Ashford of Omaha, who served in the non-partisan Unicameral, says he has found that Congress places a premium on partisanship and seniority in the making of law.
“There isn’t the natural human interaction that happens, for example most particularly in our Unicameral, where laws are made really based on building relationships one person at a time,” Ashford tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Ashford moved from the Unicameral to Congress when he defeated incumbent Republican Congressman Lee Terry in November to win the Second Congressional District of greater Omaha.
Ashford held a local swearing-in ceremony in Omaha this morning.
Ashford has joined the United Solutions Caucus, made up of House Democrats and Republicans working together on policy.
“To actually try to develop policies that the group can agree on that would be obviously nonpartisan and would address some of the more difficult issues like immigration, energy, and taxes,” Ashford explains.
He says the group is sowing the beginning seeds of a larger effort to remove so much of the partisanship of the process.
Ashford is the only Democrat in the Nebraska Congressional delegation. He doesn’t see that as a problem, though. He considers Sen. Deb Fischer a good friend from their days together in the Unicameral, where he also got to know Congressman Adrian Smith. Ashford says he knows Congressional Jeff Fortenberry well.
Ashford says he only recently met Sen. Ben Sasse.
Ashford doesn’t believe it makes any difference in his working relationship with the rest of the delegation that he is the only Democrat.
“I don’t see any problem or impediment to those relationships at all.”