Justin Spooner is a 23-year-old, recent graduate of the University of Nebraska and is currently seeking election into the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature. Justin is campaigning for election in Omaha, his lifelong home. He served his chapter as Alumni Relations Chairman and has also interned for U.S Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson.
What was your motivation for running for state legislature?
It started a few years back when I was 19 and a freshman in college. I started getting a passion for the political arena and government in general, and I told myself that when I have an opportunity to run for legislature to make it happen, so that’s where it began. But it’s a deeper motivation that relates to the community where I am running for office, District 6 in west central Omaha, Neb., where I was born and raised. It really stems from being involved in the community my whole life, my passion for public service, and seeing that I do have the ability to make a change.
What are some of your policy goals?
It’s important for local control and funding to be protected for schools. Parents and educators within the community are the best at educating their children. I’m for specialized curriculum when it comes to local schools. I also want to make sure we provide property tax relief. Nebraska has one of the highest property tax rates in the country and I want to alleviate the costs for hardworking Nebraskans.
What will it take to get elected?
The first election, the primary election, will happen May 13th, 2014, and then the general election is in November. Nebraska is the only state in the country with a unicameral legislature. This means that there is only one house; we don’t have a house, only a senate. Furthermore, the Nebraska state senate is non-partisan senate. Once in office the senators no longer put a ‘D’ or ‘R’ next to their names. Nebraska is the only state to do this.
In the primary I’m actually running against five other candidates. The two top vote earners in the primary regardless of party move on to the general election. It’s a unique election, but it works well.
How did Sigma Nu shape you and influence you to become the person you are today?
You gain a respect for other people; their beliefs, property, and personal space. It really opened my eyes to how people can disagree while remaining friends and brothers. Even though many of my brothers disagree with me politically, they’ve all supported me 100%. That’s what fraternity is about to me: it’s about the support system.
The fraternity shaped me as a leader and it opened my eyes to be able to understand different people from different places having completely different views, but knowing that they are still good people and still friends and brothers.