My New Planned Parenthood License Plate

If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever buy a vanity license plate, I would have given you an emphatic “no”. A license plate is utilitarian; its purposes are to identify your car for law enforcement and prove you paid your car taxes, but not much else. Political statements belong on bumper stickers or license plate holders. My license plate holders support Husker Women’s Basketball and Husker Baseball.

However, that changed forever in Nebraska when the Nebraska Legislature approved a “Choose Life” license plate and politicized license plates in Nebraska. During the debate on these plates, many senators argued that the plate was not political. However, that lie was exposed when Governor Ricketts signed the bill into law authorizing the new plates, calling it the first pro-life legislation signed into law in Nebraska since 2011.

Pro-life legislators conceded that the bill was necessary because they were not able to get 250 supporters to pay $70 each for a pro-life license plate.

However, those of us supporting Planned Parenthood believe that there are more than 250 people willing to pay $70 for a license plate supporting women’s right to choose. I have purchased my plate, and I encourage others to buy a plate and/or contribute $70 for an individual who would like this new plate but cannot afford it. You can purchase your plate or donate funds for others to have a plate here.

I believe in the resistance, and I believe it will be a long, hard four years ahead of us. We can take some joy in the Nebraska Unicameral standing up to the governor and reinstating funding for Title X clinics in Nebraska and in the election of two Democrats to the Lincoln City Council, including Bennie Shobe, a candidate endorsed by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. But I can assure you that every day I drive my car with my “My Body, My Choice” Planned Parenthood license plate, it will put a smile on my face. Please join me.

Why should we care about the Georgia 6th?

I live in the First Congressional District in Nebraska. Why should I care about the Georgia 6th?

Let me tell you a story. In 2008 I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Breast cancer research got me an early diagnosis through a screening mammogram. DNA testing of my tumor showed that I only needed surgery & radiation treatment, not chemotherapy.  Nine years later I am still cancer free. I am grateful for the breast cancer research that occurred before my diagnosis and formed the basis for my treatment protocol.

In 2009 one of my closest friends, Myrta Hansen, died from endometrial cancer. I was sad; I was angry; and I wanted to do something bold and maybe just a little crazy. I found what I was looking for in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. For those of you who don’t know, the 3-Day is a 60 mile walk, 20 miles a day for 3 days. In addition, you have to fundraise in order to participate. I somehow talked my college roommate, Judith Siminoe, into doing it with me. We trained, individually since we live in different states. I even walked the Lincoln half marathon as part of my training. We raised money, and we talked to everyone we knew about the 3-Day. We told them that Komen raises money for breast cancer research and screenings. How could there be a better cause?

We did the 2010 walk in Seattle. For me it was a life changing experience, and I felt empowered and as though I had done something significant. Walking for three days with breast cancer survivors and people who had lost family members to breast cancer was incredible. Seattle

I signed up for the 3-Day in Washington, DC for 2011. My friend Marcia White agreed to walk with me, and four friends went to crew. Crew members work day and night to enable the walkers to complete their walk. We had torrential rain in DC, and those crew members were heroic in their efforts to keep our campsite free of mud. BTW who knew that rats ran out of the sewers in Chinatown and would run through the groups of walkers. Our walk ended at the White House and the Washington Monument.WhiteHouse

I signed up to walk the 3-Day in 2012. On January 31, 2012, the Komen Foundation announced they would no longer fund Planned Parenthood breast cancer screenings. I was just getting ready to start fundraising and training for the 2012 walk. I was shocked and angry; I followed Facebook late into the night as 3-Day walkers and other Komen supporters voiced their support for Planned Parenthood over the Komen Foundation. Hundreds of walkers vowed never to walk or raise money for Komen again; I was one of them. Andrea Mitchell interviewed Komen CEO Nancy Brinker in what became a PR disaster for Komen. The interview is here. An excellent analysis of the entire situation is here.

It soon became clear that Karen Handel, a newly hired Komen executive, was behind the move to cut Planned Parenthood off from future Komen funding. This is the same Karen Handel who is running against Jon Ossoff in the Georgia 6th. Part of my mission in this new normal is to do everything I can to make sure that the anti-choice, Planned Parenthood hating Karen Handel is not elected to any public office. An analysis of the Georgia 6th and Handel is here.

So I am asking you to consider a donation to Jon Ossoff’s campaign even if you don’t live in the Georgia 6th, because we all know we don’t need another anti-choice, Planned Parenthood hating congressional representative in the House of Representatives. #Flipthe 6th

And remember to vote in the Lincoln and Omaha general elections on May 2, 2017. I am endorsing Leirion Gaylor Baird, Bennie Shobe, and Maggie Mae Squires for City Council and Zachary James for Airport Authority.



















February 19, 2017 – 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9066

February 19, 2017, is the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which ordered the internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. It is also the day when Allegiance will be shown nationwide for the second time. Allegiance is the musical production which appeared on Broadway for a short time, was filmed and was shown in theatres around the country on December 13, 2016. Allegiance stars George Takei and Lea Salonga and depicts one Japanese American family’s journey from February 19, 1942, to  the present. See the trailer here.

This movie is important because many people still bear the scars of the internment. I saw the movie in December, and it was a very difficult experience for me. It was hard to see dignified Issei (1st generation Japanese Americans) and their families be herded onto trains, race tracks, and barracks while they tried to show their loyalty to their new country by obeying this incredibly racist and unjustified policy. Second generation Japanese Americans (Nisei) were less accepting, probably as a result of being more Americanized. They were also almost all U.S. citizens, born and raised in this country.

The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found: “In sum, Executive Order 9066 was not justified by military necessity, and the decisions that followed from it – exclusion, detention, the ending of detention and the ending of exclusion—were not founded upon military considerations. The broad historical causes that shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership. Widespread ignorance about Americans of Japanese descent contributed to a policy conceived in hate and executed in an atmosphere of fear and anger at Japan. A grave personal injustice was done to the American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any probative evidence against them, were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II.”

The movie has received some criticism for some historical inaccuracies which you can read about here. But I believe it captures the fear, anger, and despair of the people who knew they were loyal Americans but were imprisoned for their ancestry alone.

This movie comes out at a pivotal time in our country. Unless you are Native American (Indian), you come from a family of immigrants. They may have come to this country on the Mayflower, or they may have come last week. They came for various reasons – seeking religious freedom, involuntarily as slaves, involuntarily as prisoners, seeking a better life, fleeing war, starvation, and genocide, or innumerable other reasons. But for those of us who are descended from immigrants, we have no right to deny to today’s immigrants and refugees the hope and promise that was given to our families.

There are Day of Remembrance and Never Again activities planned all around the country to honor the memory of those interned by Executive Order 9066.

Allegiance is showing in Lincoln at the Marcus Grand and in Omaha at the Village Point Cinema and Twin Creek Cinema.  All showings are at 12:55 pm on Sunday, February 19, 2017. I could not find any other Nebraska showings, but you can check here. I encourage you to see the movie if you can.

Update on the Nebraska Legislature – Tuesday, February 14, 2017, is Day 29 of the session – still no permanent rules.