With a proclaimed “common sense” leadership style, Danielle Conrad hopes to secure a position in Nebraska State Legislature following the November 8 midterm elections.
Conrad was elected to the Legislature in 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. During her years in the Legislature, she supported the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, voted for the largest tax cut in Nebraska history and fought human trafficking and the opioid crisis, according to her campaign website.
During her time away from the Legislature, Conrad worked as the executive director for ACLU of Nebraska, but resigned in March to begin her campaign.
“I saw these storm clouds gathering on our Nebraska political horizon with that very toxic governor’s race, and I saw what was happening in our beloved unicameral legislature with term limits and key retirements,” Conrad said. “ I thought, if I could possibly do more with my unique experience to try and help more people, I just have to try.”
After winning the primary election in May with a five-point spread, Conrad said she has continued her hard work, knocking on 7,000 doors within the span of eight months.
“I’ve just been struck by how rich those conversations are and how warm the reception is. People really understand what I’m trying to do with my message of ‘positive experience, day one leadership,’” Conrad said.
Conrad plans to tackle Nebraska’s economic and workforce development, especially working to prevent brain drain. She said that one of the ways to do this is by keeping tuition low and affordable while fostering a sense of belonging for everyone in the state.
“It’s about making sure that we have a welcoming environment free of discrimination,” Conrad said.
Conrad also hopes to help Nebraska become one of the 18 states that has developed state-level childcare tax credits to promote affordable childcare for working parents.
“It would really help working families succeed and provide greater access to quality childcare, giving kids a great start in life,” Conrad said. “That’s absolutely intersection and connected with our workforce challenges in keeping young people in the state.”
The second main area Conrad said she would focus on is Nebraska’s budget and revenue decisions, especially as Nebraska receives historic revenues from federal aid and state general funding tax receipts.
“We’ll have an opportunity to make generational investments in infrastructure, childcare, mental health and education – things we haven’t always been able to invest significant resources in,” Conrad said.
Conrad’s third priority is human and civil rights, specifically voting rights, reproductive justice and criminal justice reform.
Proposed Initiative Measure 432 on the Nebraska ballot this year would require all voters to present a valid photographic identification before casting their ballot. While Conrad says she will be voting against the measure, she said she will not be surprised if it passes. If it passes, it will be up to the Legislature to put it into action.
“We’re going to need to have experienced leaders who understand the complexities of voting rights laws to make really critical decisions to ensure that Nebraskans who are eligible to vote are not disenfranchised, in terms of how that is implemented,” Conrad said.
Conrad, a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska College of Law, said she sees the importance of delivering resources to Nebraska’s state and community colleges to keep them strong and vibrant.
“I’m really excited about having all of these opportunities to be at service once again and to make a positive difference for young people, for our university and for our state,” Conrad said.