Congressman Brad Ashford says he lobbied for specific projects during his trip on Air Force One with President Barack Obama, but he’s not sure how the president’s stop to Omaha will impact his re-election campaign.
Ashford says he lobbied for the University of Nebraska Medical Center to get the new Ebola unit, for Offutt Air Force Base to get a runway upgrade, and for money to build a new Veterans Administration hospital in Omaha.
“We had a chance to talk about that, but mostly we were talking about his vision,” Ashford says. “We’ve got to look at America five year, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years down the road and the only way to get there in a positive way is to break the gridlock of the old politics.”
Ashford says he talked with the president about how Nebraska approaches state government, with a non-partisan, one-body legislature. Ashford also says he wanted the president to see the progress Nebraska is making economically and the vibrancy of Omaha.
Ashford is a Democrat in his freshman term after defeating veteran Republican Congressman Lee Terry. He has a huge re-election campaign ahead of him.
How the president’s decision to make Omaha his first stop after delivering his final State of the Union address affects that race is unknown.
“I have no idea what it does for me politically,” Ashford concedes. “What it does for me is make me very proud to see all these people here. I mean, that’s what it does for me.”
Baxter Arena on the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus held slightly under 10,000 people who crammed in to see the president’s visit last week.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]