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Kerrey tells Fortenberry he's a Nebraskan who supports Bolz
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Kerrey tells Fortenberry he's a Nebraskan who supports Bolz

Bob Kerrey

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey speaks prior to a regional Rotary event at Nebraska Innovation Campus in 2016.

In a letter responding to receipt of fundraising appeals from Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey cited the need for strong health care programs as a primary reason he is supporting Fortenberry's opponent, Democratic congressional nominee Kate Bolz.

Kerrey told Fortenberry he had received two of the congressman's campaign fundraising emails — one of which misspelled his last name — that referred to his own support of Bolz as an example of an appeal to "national activists and the wealthiest political class to quietly fund her campaign," implying in the process that Kerrey is no longer a Nebraskan because he lives in New York City now.

"This does not mean that I cannot continue to claim the state where I spent my first 58 years as my home just as it does not mean that someone like yourself who was not born in Nebraska can claim the state as their home," Kerrey told the congressman.

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During recent return visits to Nebraska, Kerrey said, he spent time with his daughter who was being treated for breast cancer at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha and received his annual physical and approval for repair of his prosthetic in Omaha.

Kerrey lost the lower part of his right leg as a result of combat in Vietnam in 1969 when he was a member of a SEAL team.

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Those two trips to Nebraska directly relate to the primary reason that he is supporting Bolz, he said.

"Not only does she strongly support the Affordable Health Care Act, but she is an advocate of Medicaid expansion," Kerrey wrote Fortenberry.

"Congressman, I know from personal experience how important federal law can be in making health care available and affordable to all of us," he said.

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"This is even more important during this pandemic, when so many working people are losing their private insurance and becoming dependent on Medicaid."

Kerrey said he also believes that Bolz would "not let her political party stop her" from vigorously opposing a Democratic president from securing power not granted under the Constitution, in contrast to what is happening in Washington today. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSdon


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