My folks still live at home on the farm. My brother, three years younger, lives in Kansas City. He works for a company called JE Dunn, basically it’s the Peter Kiewit of that part of the world. He’s a project manager for them.
My dad farms. Mom works as a secretary at the elementary in Tekamah.
Our farm is a grain farm … corn and soybean farm west of Herman, Nebraska, out there a little ways.
I went to the University of Nebraska here in Lincoln, majored in ag economics. I actually went to college with the full intention of having nothing to do with agriculture.
College was a great time. I wouldn’t trade it. I liked the diversity. I joined a fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta. It was a nice break from crazy college fraternity downtown life to get in a car and drive to East Campus.
Political science classes I took in college? Zero.
I attended Camp Connealy, Matt Connealy’s two-day (campaign training program) on what you need to do and what money you have to raise to run for office. I left early. I thought there was no way I was ever going to be able to do that.
I live in Tekamah, but I have a condo in Lincoln. And I have a crash pad in Omaha, so I’m kind of all over.
The social life of a single guy in Tekamah? Not so good.
I try to be pretty active physically so I belong to a gym.
For the last year I’ve become a mountain biker. There’s a lot of good trails around the Omaha area. I ride on more of the aggressive trails, so not necessarily the hard surface trails, out in the hills and over the trees and things that can get you hurt.
I fall off quite a bit. If you’re not falling off you’re not trying hard enough. Usually when I fall it’s because of some hill that is right after you make a corner and you have to go up and you slip and over you go. I’ve had a few where I just flew completely off the end of the handles.
The day of the election I and my friend who got me into this mountain biking thing went out to Platte River State Park in the afternoon. That’s one of the more challenging trails in the area and it was the first time I’d been there.
She’s very good and so I try to keep up with her, which is a mistake. I was coming down a hill across a creek bed and I hit something and launched and landed seven or eight feet away from the bike. So all I was thinking was, ‘I’m going to have to go to the emergency room on the day of my election.’ I was bleeding pretty profusely on my arm.
The Saturday of the big snow storm I strapped on a snowboard for the first time ever and went out to Mount Crescent for the entire day. It’s just north of Council Bluffs a little ways. It was fun. I couldn’t walk for four days.
I go on vacation every chance I can, which becomes less and less all the time. My annual pilgrimage in the summer a couple of times is down to Lake of the Ozarks.
I have a boat so we take it down there. I love my boat. That’s the thing I love the most.
It’s a 28-foot Baja, open bow, so it’s loud. It holds a lot of people and creates a lot of fun.
This particular boat I got in 2001. I’ve had several boats, but this is my favorite. It had a name that came on it … but we’re changing the name to Public Figure. My friend came up with that name.
I grew up on the Missouri River. I’m a river rat. Tekamah is about nine miles from the water.
We also go wakeboarding at Lake Manawa. It’s a smaller board like a snowboard, only it’s for the water. It’s an alternative to waterskiing.
The water issue that I’m more interested in is recreational, and expanding those (uses).
I used to be a TV watcher, but then I started running for office. But DVR is great. I use that to record a few things. The only things I’m avidly watching now are “24” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”
I’m a gadget geek. I have GPS equipment, my Palm phone, my laptop, MP3 players, stereos in boats and cars and things like that.
I get all my e-mail (on my phone). That’s pretty important. And I’m kind of a texting maniac. I have a thousand (text messages) a month, at least. It’s very freaky (how fast I can do it.) People are like, ‘how did you do that?’
I love music. That’s another thing, I have XM Radio. I listen to country, hard rock, pop. I went to the Nickelback concert, and I bought tickets to Kenny Chesney, as well.
I go to classical music things, too. Shows at the playhouse and all types of the arts. I like it all.
But it’s pretty hard to beat the ’80s hair band rock. Poison and Motley Crue.
I was a band geek in high school, a trumpet player. Actually, I played about seven different instruments. I play piano. I can play any drums. I played bass guitar for a while, but I can’t play that anymore.
I play in Tekamah’s Chamber of Commerce band once in a while. A horn band, a bunch of retired guys, business folks. They’re called the T-Bones.
I like European culture a lot. But if you look around the world, everybody always wants to do what we’re doing. They want to wear our clothes, listen to our music. And yet, we seem to take those things for granted.
I wish that we would be a little more open to accepting other people’s cultures and their habits and their food.
I love different types of food. Food from other cultures is, maybe, the greatest thing. I’ll try anything. I love to experiment with food.
My new favorite thing is sushi.
I really like Mexican food. I could eat it almost every day. I really like chimichangas, but those are really bad for you. Frying things is just the way to go. But I could just eat nachos all the time. I like cheese.
I haven’t cooked a meal since I got here. I bought some groceries, but the only thing I’ve made is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One, maybe two, that’s it.
There’s always an event, a lunch, a breakfast. My evening meals may not be all that good for me because a lot of it is just heavy hors d’oeuvres at some reception.
They try to make it so we’re not bogged down with cooking.
Senators in my generation are not afraid to question the way it’s been done. To say, ‘This is the way it’s always been done,’ doesn’t mean it’s the right way.
Reach JoAnne Young at 473-7228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.