Jessica McClure is running as the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Nebraska’s District 1 — which includes cities Lincoln, Norfolk, Bellevue and Fremont — with campaign issues like healthcare, education and human rights, according to her website.
She said she decided to run because Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act last year.
“My daughter was diagnosed with something chronic right before he made that vote,” McClure said. “I just got annoyed with that. I was like, ‘You can’t just take that away from people. A lot of us need this.’”
She said people should hold him accountable for that vote, like she’s doing by running.
McClure started her campaign in support of “Medicare for All,” but when she noticed voters weren’t excited about the idea of leaving insurance plans they liked for public plans, she said she modified her position to support a public option to the existing Affordable Care Act. The public option, she said, would allow people to keep employer-provided insurance plans.
“As far as college students go, making sure people can stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26 is absolutely vital to retain,” she said.
Providing access to services in rural communities is a theme that appears in many of McClure’s top policy positions. This means everything from rural healthcare to high speed internet.
“Access and affordability of healthcare in rural areas is to the point where it’s concerning,” she said. “It’s going to take a couple years to fix what’s happening.”
McClure cited the closing of hospitals in rural areas as a big issue. One thing she said she especially wants to work on is expanding access to primary care.
When it comes to education, McClure said her priorities are debt relief, decreasing interest rates for student loans and promoting education in underserved areas of the country — not just to universities, but to community colleges and trade schools as well.
Protecting human rights for women and the LGBTQ community is also important to her.
“There are people in office who are running on family values, but they’re not including my friends in those definitions of their family values,” she said. “Someone has to stand up against this. Civil rights should not be debatable.”
McClure said she wants sexual orientation and gender identity to be included in protected classes under the Civil Rights Act. She said she also wants to legislate the Title IX guidelines addressing campus sexual assault. The guidelines were overturned by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last year.
According to her website, McClure was a chemist before she moved into regulatory work and worked with places like the EPA, FDA and USDA which ultimately inspired her to go to law school.
McClure said her work in both science and law gives her experience in how the law can be used to protect people and in reading and explaining complicated research.
McClure won the Democratic primary election on May 15, and according to Ballotpedia she earned 66.1 percent of the vote. She beat Dennis Crawford, who received the Democratic nomination in 2014. This is McClure’s first time running.
“I didn’t like it that my congressman wasn’t listening to me,” McClure said. “That’s how I started running and how I built my platform. I talked to people and I made sure that the things that people in this district care about were part of my platform.”