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One year later: Nebraskans largely staying the course on Trump presidency

It's been a year.

A year of rolling back regulations and surging markets.

A year of antagonism, rhetoric and Tweets.

A time zone separated from Washington, Nebraskans went about their business over President Trump's first 12 months, wishing for unity and a better ag economy and health care reform.

They are a patient lot.

A year ago, as the president prepared to take office, the Journal Star's news team found someone from each of the state's 93 counties, and we posed the same question:

What is your hope for the country in the next four years?

Three hundred and sixty five days later, we dialed those same phone numbers and hit send on emails bound for the same addresses.

Of the 93 people we talked to a year ago, we reached 68 who agreed to answer a new question:

How do you feel one year later?

We heard steadfast support for the president. We heard sparks of anger. We heard frustration.

But for many, the answer could have been a voicemail recording dated 2017. Summed up in one word, many replies were, "Ditto."

That's not a surprise, even in times such as these, said John Hibbing, a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"Stability tends to rule the roost," Hibbing said, noting that most Nebraskans and people nationwide live and work in the same environment that they always have, and are subject to the same strong predispositions.

And, Hibbing said, "it seems to be the case that people are reluctant to say they are wrong."

That could change, of course, especially in the privacy of a polling place in a midterm election.

Those votes are several months away. To see how 68 Nebraskans feel now, see Pages A6-A7.

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More than 1,000 attend Lincoln Women's March to encourage female candidates

As U.S. Senate candidate Jane Raybould spoke during the Women's March on Saturday afternoon at the state Capitol, an unidentified man walked up behind her and stared.

Those standing behind Raybould were noticeably uncomfortable. Raybould seemed visibly disturbed by the man's presence as well.

After a couple of minutes, some of those in the crowd of more than 1,000 intervened, quickly forming a human blockade between the man and Raybould, peacefully encouraging him to leave.

He soon did so, and Raybould continued her remarks, encouraging people to run for political office.

The crowd marched from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Union to the Capitol. Speakers encouraged women and members of minorities to run for public office as midterm elections quickly approach.

“Numbers of women in assemblies has steadily grown," march organizer Wendy Hines said. "But that's still not enough."

Marchers gathered to protest the Trump administration and advocate for civil and reproductive rights. 

Other marches were held in Omaha, Loup City and Wayne. The Nebraska marches joined hundreds of others held in cities all over the world.

The march in Washington, D.C., took on the feel of a political rally when U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, urged women to run for office and vote to oppose Trump and the Republicans' agenda.

"We march, we run, we vote, we win," Pelosi said to applause.

Jennifer Jorges, a local fundraiser for the Lincoln nonprofit Bright Lights, made it a point to bring her three daughters, ranging from 8 to 12 years old, to Saturday's march.

"It is important to show that we have a voice and to show my daughters that we can speak our mind and speak up on an array of issues whether that be the overall state of the presidency, to education issues, or to encourage women to hold office," Jorges said.

Jorges' three daughters were excited to come out and make their own signs this year, they said.

The march drew people of different ages, gender and sexual orientation.

Jay Dodge, a 13-year-old transgender person, walked with friends.

Dodge carried a poster that read "All men are created equal. When I meet Thomas Jefferson, Imma compel him to include women in the sequel," a quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway show "Hamilton."

Dodge decided to march to support transgender rights because of Trump's attempts to prevent members of the transgender community to serve in the military.

"Everything that the LGBT community has worked so hard to get has been ripped away," Dodge said.

As marchers made their way to the Capitol, they held signs that read "Woman Power," "Trans-sisters are resistors," and a few signs with one word: "Vote!"

Lindsey Jarema, a student at UNL, felt the need to get involved after Trump was elected in 2016.

"I've definitely seen a lot more people get involved and discover activism they otherwise may not have known was in them before," Jarema said.

She has been going to every local march and event in Lincoln and even founded a chapter of "Out in Science," a group for members of the LGBT community in STEM fields at the university.

"I think it brings awareness to elections that are generally smaller and less-publicized than the national presidential election. I see a lot more people caring about midterms (elections), caring about who's running for their local city council.

"I met a Lincoln city councilman the other day and I was really excited to meet him, because I knew what he was up to," Jarema said.

Democrat Jessica McClure, District 1 candidate for the House of Representatives, said she wouldn’t be running for office if it weren't for the Women’s March last year.

“I wasn’t going to find a perfect candidate,” McClure said. “I was going to be that candidate.”

Other candidates, including Raybould, a Democrat who is running for Sen. Deb Fischer's seat, made similar remarks.

“We need change (in D.C.) right now,” Raybould said. “I have been incredibly encouraged by so many women and men who have stepped up to lead. Who have organized their communities, volunteered their time, and spoken up to address many threats to our rights. Not just our rights as women, but our rights as Americans.

"Nebraska, watch out," she said.


Casey Rogers, a standout lacrosse player in high school, chose football and later the Huskers.

Trump first year refers

Inside: Tens of thousands of people gather in cities worldwide for second Women's March. Many oppose President Trump. Many promise to become their own political forces. Page A5

* Trump begins his second year with a shuttered federal government. What does the government shutdown mean for Nebraska's members of Congress? What does it mean for you? Page A4

Online: Take a look at First Lady Melania Trump's first year in fashion