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Looking at investments in Nebraska’s communities

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Recently, I visited Gering to commemorate Nebraska’s longest, continuous celebration: the Oregon Trail Days. The event reunites family and friends and welcomes guests from across the state. I was honored to give brief remarks at the 82nd annual Old Settlers Luncheon this year and spend time celebrating in several of western Nebraska’s vibrant communities.

For the past two years, I have been working closely with the administration to make sound investments across Nebraska in both rural and urban areas. Together we have secured federal grants for several communities in our state from a variety of federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Transportation. These grant awards are highly competitive, and they reflect the excellent qualities of each community.

For example, Nebraska secured much-needed funds including about $3.3 million for runway projects at Beatrice Municipal Airport and Aurora Municipal Airport and over $67,000 to update our state system plan in Lincoln. This funding resulted from months of planning from our state and local government leaders and meetings with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, where she heard directly from Nebraskans on infrastructure and the effects of heavy overregulation. I was also pleased to work with the Secretary to bring a $25 million grant for the Lincoln South Beltway and an $18 million grant to fund the Heartland Expressway. Additionally, I have worked with the Secretary to continue support for the critical Essential Air Service program for the Kearney and Scottsbluff airports.

Nuckolls County was awarded $50,000 by the USDA for its new fairground facility. The Economic Impact Initiative Grant will allow young livestock exhibitors to showcase their hogs, cattle, sheep, goats, horses, and other animals while enjoying updated accommodations. The fairgrounds are an important component of 4-H programs for our children. This funding will ensure educational opportunities continue for the next generation of agricultural leaders.

The USDA also recently announced that St. Paul will be awarded a rural development grant. This $300,000 investment will help expand and update the Howard County Medical Center with new exam and procedure rooms to provide better care for the local residents.

In Jefferson County, assistance is on its way to the Village of Endicott. The USDA announced that the village will receive a $30,000 grant from the Water and Waste Disposal Loan program to provide improvements to the local water system. Corroded pipes, detention tanks, and aerators will be replaced and new water meters will be properly installed. Families of Endicott and the surrounding areas can now have the peace of mind they deserve knowing that their loved ones are drinking clean and safe water.

Finally, I was excited to announce the Great Plains Black History Museum, Archives and Interpretive Center was awarded with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This well-deserved grant will provide free educational programming to teach African-American history in the Omaha community. All 24 of the programs will be constructed with the help of history professors in the area and will be a source of inspiration to all those who visit the museum.

These investments will spark growth and promote economic development for our state’s future. Nebraskans are known around the world for our core values like caring for your neighbor, good will, courage, and patience. I am proud to fight for our people and our communities. I will work hard to continue building on the positive impact we’ve made so far.

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.

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