Alumni Spotlight: Wendy DeBoer
State Senator Wendy DeBoer is not only the representative of Nebraska’s 10th district, but she is also an UNO English alumna. Sen. DeBoer was “born in Omaha to parents born in Omaha,” growing up in the Maple Village area of the city. A graduate of UNO’s Master of Arts in English program, Sen. DeBoer would later receive a law degree from UNL, and in November 2018 she was elected to serve in the Nebraska State Senate for her first term. She says that she was motivated to run because “we have forgotten how to listen to each other in the country and the state” and that as a senator she hopes to “listen to my constituents and also to other senators, even if I disagree with them.” The ability to listen to other’s views is supplemented by her experience with English as “literature exposed her to different ideas and different perspectives.” In addition to broader perspectives, she also believes that studying English helped her with “Critical thinking, communicating ideas succinctly, and forming better arguments.”
In the Senate, she is busy working on bills and just passed her first. The bill, currently awaiting Governor Pete Ricketts signature, “would make attempted suffocation a felony rather than just a misdemeanor.” She is also trying to pass a law that creates “an education finance commission to study and provide recommendations for funding public education in Nebraska.” Beyond those projects, she also turned her attention to the overcrowding plaguing Nebraska’s prisons. This year she is prioritizing a bill that “would create a civil cause of action for the non-consensual transmitting of intimate images,” which means that people who send such images become open to being sued in civil court. Outside of bills and laws, Sen. DeBoer “was excited to be appointed to the Legislative Planning Committee” in her first year. The Legislative Planning Committee seeks to identify concerns of the state and assess the impact of previous legislative decisions. The opportunity to be part of the committee cannot be understated “since senators are limited to two four-year terms” and this places Sen. DeBoer in a position to shape the legislature’s future beyond term limits.