In an open letter to Sen. Ben Sasse, the Scotts Bluff County Republican Party has indicated its resolve for censure.
Censure is largely an informal, symbolic action to express disapproval of the actions of a member of a legislative body.
Scotts Bluff County GOP chair Kolene Woodward said the decision to censure comes after statements from Sasse she says support impeachment and conviction of former President Donald Trump.
“Sasse has a record of bashing President Trump,” Woodward said. “Well, in the movement, Trump didn’t find us, we found him. We found a voice for our political views, and someone who would actually advance that voice, and Sasse is going completely against that. No matter what Trump does or whatever, going forward, there are 75 million people who want that voice to continue. Him (Sasse) not representing that is kind of our problem.
“Everybody tries to say, ‘Trump and his followers.’ No. His followers created Trump because we’re the ones who wanted a voice, and he was our voice. What we want out of the country is still on the table.
"That’s why we voted Republican, because we wanted that agenda followed, make America great, put America first. Even our Republican elected officials aren’t doing that, so by ignoring and dismissing 75 million people, I think we’re pretty ticked because we are the Republican Party, not the crummy leadership we have right now.”
A lack of responsiveness to his constituency has been a point of contention as well. Woodward said there are 40 active members of the county GOP, but none has been able to reach Sasse to express their concerns.
“We’re terribly frustrated that he’s just ignoring us, so we thought if we put an open letter, perhaps someone on his staff would read it and let him know, we have introduced a resolution for our state central committee meeting next weekend at the county level to censure him,” Woodward said. “I know a lot of counties have, but that’s why we did what we did.”
Woodward said a number of organizations across the country have moved to censure representatives they believe are no longer representing the party, including Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.
“Unfortunately, in Nebraska we do not have recall,” Woodward said. “We don’t have any way of recalling someone who goes to D.C. and does whatever they want, so we are also looking at (whether we can) add that in the future. I believe that needs to be added to our State Legislature docket and perhaps adding that recourse for this type of situation.
“At this time, all we can do is censure him, and let him know we are unhappy. If he cares, it will bother him. I don’t see that happening, but it is a public thing, a very public thing to say, ‘We’re unhappy with you.’”
The best-case scenario coming from the censure is a change in approach from Sasse, Woodward said.
“It’s that he would stop, he wouldn’t vote to convict President Trump,” she said. “That he would stop trying to side with Democrats on everything and actually stop their agenda, which will negatively impact his state.
"We would really like him to understand that we have been forced to do this because he won’t get back to us. He won’t meet with us. He won’t talk to us. To the best of my knowledge, he’s one of the few elected representatives from Nebraska who won’t be at the (central committee) meeting next week, so he’s snubbing us there, too. That he would start paying attention to his state instead of just running his own political agenda would be nice. That would be a goal.”
In the open letter to Sasse, Woodward expresses the opinion of the county group about current proceedings.
“President Trump was ‘impeached’ in the House with no investigation, evidence or due process,” Woodward wrote. “Your support for such a mock judicial proceeding reminiscent of Joseph Stalin is reprehensible.
“You were elected to represent the people of Nebraska who overwhelmingly voted for President Trump. Your actions are a selfish, political ploy.”
A spokesperson for Sasse was reached by e-mail for this article and said Sasse would “politely decline to comment at this time.”