Due to other commitments which tend to monopolize my time these days, I’ve been hesitant to continue the GiN tradition of publishing candidate profiles for fear I could not do them justice. However, it occurred to me today that the GiN archives are a goldmine of information about a few of the current crop of office-seekers, and I thought it might prove interesting -- and entertaining -- to open the vault, dust off a couple of those forgotten gems, and see if they can shine any light on our choices coming up in the primary election on May 13th.
I was surprised to find we here at GiN have paid quite a bit of attention to Tom Carlson's activities as a state senator in the Unicameral, particularly during his second and final term. What follows is a sampling of articles in which Carlson plays a part, some in major and some in minor (supporting) roles, arranged with the most recently published articles first. A summary of each article as it pertains to Senator Carlson is included here, but I encourage you to follow the links provided and reread them for yourselves. The exercise is truly enlightening.
1. In November of 2012, just prior to the general election, GiN published three articles and produced a video about proposed Nebraska Constitutional Amendment 3, an amendment which would have extended term limits in the state. The Nebraska Constitution currently permits state senators to serve two consecutive four-year terms (i.e., eight years) in the Unicam. Amendment 3, if it had passed, would have extended that to three consecutive four-year terms (i.e., 12 years). SENATOR TOM CARLSON WAS THE SPONSOR OF AMENDMENT 3 AND HE MADE THAT MEASURE HIS PRIORITY BILL DURING THE 2012 LEGISLATIVE SESSION.
- NE Term Limit Extension Sponsor Tom Carlson: Two Minds or a Forked Tongue? Carlson's floor remarks in which he attempted to explain why he sponsored Amendment 3 bordered on incoherent, leading Shelli and I to conclude: "Senator Carlson’s statements on the Unicameral floor on February 22, 2012 (p. 39 on the transcript) urging his fellow State Senators to vote for his legislative resolution on the proposed amendment reveal he’s either of two minds about whether it’s really justified or he’s speaking with a forked tongue." We then quoted Carlson's remarks and urged readers to judge for themselves. (It was from this article that the image featured at the beginning of today's article was taken.)
- After some superb detective work, Shelli discovered that advertising in support of Amendment 3 leading up to the election and featuring Senator Carlson was purchased by a PAC misleadingly named "Nebraskans to Preserve Term Limits" with $5000 donated to it by the Nebraska State Education Association, a public employee union. Moreover, none other than Senator Tom Carlson was revealed to be the Assistant Treasurer of the PAC. Read more about it in NE Teachers Union Funded Term Limit Extension Ads.
- VIDEO Exclusive: NE Teachers’ Union Wants “Pet” NE Senators to “Stay”: The primary purpose of this article was to introduce a video about Amendment 3 and Senator Carlson's and the NSEA's apparent efforts to obscure the source of funds he received to advocate for passage of the term limit extension amendment.
2. NE Amendment 4: Should State Senator Salaries Be Increased? During the same legislative session, Senator Carlson supported Nebraska Amendment 4, which would have increased the salaries paid to members of the Unicameral. Amendment 4 was defeated by the voters at the November election.
3. Senator Carlson voted to expand the state Medicaid program to pay for prenatal care for women who are in the United States illegally, women who fail to abide by Medicaid regulations, women who are incarcerated, and women who fail to meet federal Medicaid eligibility standards in other ways. VIDEO NE State Senators Debate & Vote LB599 Medicaid Expansion for Illegals contains embedded video of Senator Carlson speaking on the floor of the Unicameral in support of the measure and it chronicles his votes in support of the legislation.
4. Tom Carlson introduced one of the nine bills proposing to amend the statutes governing the Commission on Industrial Relations (CIR) in Nebraska. We analyzed all the bills, including Carlson's, in Budget Buster Fix: Prohibit Collective Bargaining By Public Employees, concluding that Carlson's proposed amendment would do little, if anything, to solve the very real problem with public employee salaries and benefits in the state.
5. Carlson voted to eliminate the position of State Treasurer during the 2010 legislative session. See Nebraska Needs A State Treasurer! Vote NO on Amendment 2 (2010) for a discussion of that issue.