By Shelli Dawdy
LR 292 survived another set of hurdles Friday, April 9. Although the Government, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee had originally voted 5 – 2 to move the measure to the next step in the process not long after the February 19th hearing, it ran into trouble sometime thereafter. The trouble reportedly erupted as a result of procedural maneuvering. In order to avoid any further obstructions, Senator Fulton re-introduced it with a slight change of language. This re-introduction meant a new number, LR 539, and requirement for an additional (abbreviated) hearing and a new vote by the same Committee.
This legislative session is winding down and there is much work to be accomplished prior to the scheduled closing date of April 14, so not all Committee members were present when Chairman Avery called for a vote. Senators insisted their votes be recorded, ultimately, and in a new vote, the Resolution passed 6 – 1.
It appears there will be a floor debate and full vote on Tuesday, April 13.
It’s time to call and email each of our Senators, urging them to vote “Yay” on LR 539. Ask your Senator to support the rights articulated in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the US Constitution.
If you need to find your Senator, click HERE to locate them with the searchable map on the Nebraska legislature site.
If you would like to review some bullet points on the issue, click HERE.
Below you will find a written copy of the testimony given by Julius Goertzen at the Sovereignty Resolution Hearing. While we will be particularly featuring Julius’ testimony soon, we thought people might enjoy the opportunity to read it now.
Julius Goertzen is a true young gentleman farmer. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts (History Major, Classics / Latin Minor) from Hillsdale College, he returned to Hamilton County, Nebraska, to his first love of farming. He also teaches part-time at a local homeschool cooperative.
Why does a 23 year-old male with a degree in History come back to Nebraska to farm? Furthermore, why am I testifying before this committee on an issue of State Sovereignty properly understood? This is my story. I find myself obligated to represent and defend a cause and conviction that has been championed by many great men throughout American History—these men, just as I, were farmers. If we look back to the debate over the ratification of the Constitution, it was the man writing under the pseudonym ‘Federal Farmer’ that alerted the many states to covet their sovereignty. It was further defended by the small “r” republican and landed Thomas Jefferson in his strict constructionist Kentucky Resolutions. Even later, Virginian planter Robert E. Lee, when asked by President Lincoln to lead the Union forces, refused the position out of duty to his home and state. These three men had in common the protection of our domestic liberties and family farms as well as a stubborn resistance to selling our sovereignty to the next level up in government. I am privileged to live with that inheritance and also privileged to have the chance to defend it here today.
It is customary for farmers to gather over a pot of coffee at their local co-op before the days work begins. As the conversational gossip routinely goes, one farmer will describe the doings of a neighbor as something unorthodox or untraditional to the area. A rebuttal to this observation that I have personally heard goes as follows: “What works on one man’s farm doesn’t always work on another man’s farm.” From my experience, this statement is absolutely true. Growing up I have worked for a couple farmers including my own father and it is amazing to me the different strategies farmers employ in raising the same kernel of corn. But, it is the local farmer that knows his own operation better than any other man in the world, and particularly, he knows better than anyone the business practices that will raise the most food, most efficiently. This is the core of my argument: that which governs most efficient and effectively is that which governs locally.
Many of you are familiar with the Frenchman, Alexis De Tocqueville, who toured America in the 1830’s and observed our democratic tendencies. Among his findings was this axiom he overheard in American townships: “every one is the best and the sole judge of his own private interest.” Just as a mother knows best the likes, dislikes, allergies etc. of her own children, so a man knows best the means by which to provide for, secure, protect, and govern his own household. By extrapolating the implications of this rudimentary principle one can best argue the case of a local as opposed to a federal means of governance.
The more removed the government, the more inhibited it is to govern justly. I use the word “justly” here with absolute intention. Our founders understood that the only just government or the only just manner of having one man rule over another is by the consent of the one being governed. Where there is no consent, there is tyranny. Thus we were given a republican system of representation. Of the three levels that Americans can elect their representation, the local is by far the most important. It is the level that Americans are most able to participate in the formation of the laws they consent to live under. So local government not only governs most efficiently and effectively, but also most justly. If I am frustrated with how a commissioner is representing me, I can tell one of them at church the next morning. This is exactly my point: my consent can be most vocal only when the solution is local. The same applies to state representation. The sentiment that Nebraska knows best how to govern Nebraska is exactly the sentiment Alexis De Tocqueville found in America circa 1830. He observed of America that, “the Government of the States is the rule, the Federal Government the exception.”
This is evidence that there used to be a time when our government adhered to a federal agenda as opposed to a national one and is evidence to the fact that our federal government once understood their enumerated rights as exceptions and left all other powers to the more efficient, effective, and just reins of state and local government. Lastly, I am in favor of this resolution because it memorializes our federal government that it is the words of the constitution and nothing else that is the supreme law of the land.
Thank you, I would welcome any questions.