Here is the transcript of Senator Ebke's first speech on the floor of the Nebraska legislature, which she gave during the Rules debate on Thursday, January 15th. For a video clip of the speech, go to the bottom of the post:
The chair recognises Senator Ebke.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I rise today in support of Senator Kintner's proposed amendment to the rules.
As a lifelong Nebraskan, I remember actually coming to this great building on an elementary school field trip, and I remember the semester of 8th grade Nebraska history that we took.
I remember the great stories about George Norris, and I remember how we were told about how we are the only unicameral legislature in the country, and that our unicameral works because the people are the second house.
Mr. President, unlike other legislatures, there is no other body across the hall that can provide a counterweight to our mistakes or simply our impulses. Our counterweight are the citizens who sent us here -- and they deserve to know how we vote, on everything, including those leadership votes.
Because, even though this is only my seventh day in this august body, it is clear to me that those we elect as leaders have a lot to do with how the legislation moves through the body.
I understand the impulse for maintaining secret ballots. It's a very human impulse. Most of us don't like to hurt others' feelings, and we operate under the expectation that a ballot cast in secret amounts to the avoidance of hurting those feelings. But we are all adults here. And we owe each other honesty, more than we owe them a promise of comfort.
We are all elected to serve the people of our districts, and we owe our constituents transparency in our actions so that they can hold us accountable, or maybe even occasionally they will pad us on the back.
The second house cannot do its job if we cast secret ballots.
I ran on a promise of transparency. I told the voters in my district that I would post every vote on social media -- and I did that before anybody was running against me -- whether I had a Republican or a Democrat running against me. That was part of the deal. I was going to be as transparent as possible. And I have posted all of those votes, including the leadership votes that I made, last week on social media.
I told voters that they might not always agree with my decisions, but I would listen to them, consider their positions, and tell them why I voted the way I did.
I have enough confidence in the people of the 32nd legislative district to believe that they will judge me fairly, should I decide to run for reelection in four years.
I hope that my colleagues trust their constituents as well, and will vote to support the amendment, and vote for more transparency.
Thank you, Mr. President.
In the below video, Senator Kintner outlines the spirit of the proposed amendment:
In the below video Senator Ebke's first floor speech (transcribed above) is recorded, beginning at time mark 05:45.