|United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2013
Serving with Ben Sasse
|Preceded by||Ben Nelson|
|Member of the Nebraska Legislature|
from the 43rd district
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Jim Jones|
|Succeeded by||Al Davis|
March 1, 1951
Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.
|Residence||Valentine, Nebraska, U.S.|
|Education||University of Nebraska–Lincoln (BS)|
Debra Lynelle Strobel Fischer (born March 1, 1951) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Nebraska since 2013. She was elected to the Senate in 2012 and reelected in 2018. Fischer served two terms in the Nebraska Legislature, representing a rural district in the Sandhills, from 2005 to 2013. She is a member of the Republican Party and the first woman elected to a full term as a U.S. senator from Nebraska.
Early life, education, and career
Fischer was born Debra Strobel in 1951, in Lincoln, Nebraska, the daughter of Florence M. (née Bock) and Gerold Carl "Jerry" Strobel. Her father was the State Engineer/Director of the Nebraska Department of Roads under Governors Kay Orr and Ben Nelson and her mother was an elementary school teacher with Lincoln Public Schools.
In 1972, she married Bruce Fischer, from Valentine, whom she met at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She and her husband raised three sons on the Fischer family cattle ranch south of Valentine. In 1987, she returned to the university and completed her B.S. degree in education.
Nebraska Legislature (2005–2013)
In 2004, Fischer ran for the Nebraska Legislature from the 43rd legislative district. In the nonpartisan primary, she came in second in a field of seven, receiving 2226 votes (25.1%); front-runner Kevin T. Cooksley received 2264 votes (25.5%). In the general election, she defeated Cooksley with 8178 votes to his 8050, for a margin of 50.4%–49.6%.
Fischer's district was geographically the largest in the Nebraska Legislature, comprising 12 counties and part of a 13th. During her tenure in the legislature, she did a weekly radio show on seven stations covering her district, and wrote a weekly column printed in several newspapers.
In 2007, she helped to filibuster a bill that created a statewide smoking ban for indoor workplaces and public places.
In 2009, Fischer was one of fourteen co-sponsors of L.B. 675, which required abortion providers to display ultrasound images of the fetus at least one hour prior to the abortions, in a position where the abortion seeker could easily view them. A spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee stated that the Nebraska law was stronger than those of other states, which only required that the client be asked if she wanted to see an ultrasound image. The measure passed by a 40–5 vote, and was signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman.
U.S. Senate (2013–present)
In January 2012, after incumbent Democratic Senator Ben Nelson announced his retirement, Fischer officially announced she would run for the U.S. Senate. The Republican primary campaign was expected to shape up as a battle between Attorney General Jon Bruning and State Treasurer Don Stenberg; Fischer and three less well-known candidates were also on the ballot.
During the primary campaign, Fischer was criticized by environmentalists and others because her family's ranch near Valentine grazed cattle on federal land, leasing it for about $110,000 per year less than the market rate on private land. Opponents of federal grazing leases argued that she should relinquish her family's permit if she wants to remain "morally consistent" with her message of less government. Fischer argued that the poor quality of federal lands, plus the restrictions that come with federal leases, make it inappropriate to compare them to private leases.
In the campaign, Fischer was outspent by Bruning, who raised $3.6 million, and Stenberg, who spent $865,000. Fischer's campaign raised only $440,000. However, Bruning and Stenberg spent much of their resources attacking one another; Fischer benefitted from the damage that each did to the other's approval ratings. She was also aided by $725,000 in television ads bought by the Club for Growth attacking Bruning. Shortly before the election, she was endorsed by Nebraska U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry and by 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who recorded robocalls endorsing her; and a super PAC financed by former Omaha businessman Joe Ricketts paid for $250,000 worth of television advertising promoting Fischer and opposing Bruning.
Fischer won the primary election with 40% of the vote. Bruning ranked second with 35%, and Stenberg ranked third with 18%. Fischer took a plurality of votes in 75 of Nebraska's 93 counties. Bruning won 15 counties and Schuyler businessman Pat Flynn received a plurality in his home Colfax County. Fischer and Bruning tied in Kimball and Sioux counties.
In the general election, Fischer faced Democrat Bob Kerrey, a former Nebraska governor and U.S. senator, who was running for the seat that he had held from 1989 to 2001.
In the course of the campaign, Kerrey's advertising accused Fischer of unprincipled conduct in the matter of a 1995 adverse possession suit, whereunder the Fischers had attempted to obtain title to 104 acres (42 ha) of land adjoining their property. Fischer maintained that their intent in filing the suit was to obtain a more manageable boundary for their ranch, after repeated attempts to purchase the land had failed; an Omaha World-Herald analysis stated that the Kerrey campaign's statements regarding Fischer's actions in the Legislature failed to mention her support for a compromise measure that would have allowed NGPC to buy the land. A Fischer spokesman accused Kerrey of "reckless disregard for the truth" and "gutter politics" in the matter.
In the general election, Fischer defeated Kerrey 58%–42%. Fischer won mainly by swamping Kerrey in the state's rural areas. She won 88 of Nebraska's 93 counties. Kerrey only won Douglas, Lancaster, Saline, Thurston, and Dakota counties.
Fischer was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, defeating Democratic challenger Jane Raybould by a significant margin.
Tenure and political positions
Fischer became the third female U.S. Senator in Nebraska's history, and the first since 1954. She was the first elected to a full term: of the earlier woman Senators, Eva Bowring was appointed in 1954 to occupy the seat vacated by the death of Dwight Griswold until a special election could be held to replace him later that year; Hazel Abel won that special election to finish Griswold's term, but did not seek a full term.
As of 2015, Fischer is the senior U.S. senator from Nebraska.
After the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Fischer said any legislative proposals to restrict people on the terrorist watchlist from buying guns would not stop mass shootings. She asserted that preventing self-radicalization was more important than restricting gun access.
Fischer has expressed support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting Senators to two six-year terms, and U.S. Representatives to three two-year terms. She pledged to "limit herself to two terms in office"–equivalent to 12 years. She also stated that members of the U.S. Congress should be placed under a lifetime ban from becoming federally registered lobbyists.[better source needed]
In June 2020, following the Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County that "extended Civil Rights Act protections to gay, lesbian and transgender workers", Fischer commented, "It's important that we recognize that all Americans have equal rights under our Constitution. I'm fine with it."
- Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- Committee on Armed Services
- Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
- Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance
- Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security (Chairwoman)
- Committee on Environment and Public Works
- Committee on Rules and Administration
- Special Committee on Aging
Fischer and her husband Bruce operate the family ranch, Sunny Slope Ranch, near Valentine, Nebraska. Their adult sons Adam, Morgan, and Luke own the majority of the stock in the family corporation, while the elder Fischers retain a minority share.
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Republican||Deb Fischer (incumbent)||128,157||75.79%|
|Republican||Todd F. Watson||19,661||11.63%|
|Republican||Jeffrey Lynn Stein||6,380||3.77%|
|Republican||Dennis Frank Macek||5,483||3.24%|
|Republican||Deb Fischer (incumbent)||403,151||57.69%||-0.08%|
- https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/60966284/ Marriages
- McCARTHY, MARK (December 24, 2019). "Senator Deb Fischer: 'I love public policy making'". starherald.com. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
- Dianne G. Bystrom; Barbara Burrell (December 31, 2018). Women in the American Political System: An Encyclopedia of Women as Voters, Candidates, and Office Holders [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 160. ISBN 978-1-61069-974-7.
- "Official Report of the Board of Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: Primary Election, May 11, 2004 and General Election, November 2, 2004". Archived March 6, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Nebraska Library Commission. pp. 31 (primary) and 30 (general). Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- "Official Report of the Board of Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: General Election, November 4, 2008". Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Nebraska Library Commission. p. 17. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Hansen, Matthew. "Deb Fischer's path to politics fueled by grit, determination". Archived October 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Omaha World-Herald. 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- "U.S. Senate candidate makes final rounds before Primary". The Imperial Republican. Imperial, Nebraska. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- "Senator moonlights as cowpoke on weekends". Unicameral Update. 2005-01-26. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- Young, JoAnne. "Lawmakers give first-round OK to smoking ban". Lincoln Journal Star. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- "Nebraska Lawmakers Pass Abortion Ultrasound Bill". Fox News. 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- Thayer, John. "Senator Deb Fischer Files for U.S. Senate". KSCR-AM. 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-05-16.
- Tysver, Robynn. "Fischer trips Bruning, will take on Kerrey for Senate seat". Kearney Hub. 2012-05-16. Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: Primary Election, May 15, 2012". Nebraska Secretary of State. pp. 15-18. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- Tysver, Robynn. "Critics: Subsidy benefits Fischer". Omaha World-Herald. 2011-10-23. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
- "2012 House and Senate Campaign Finance for Nebraska: Stenberg for Senate 2012 Committee". Federal Election Commission. 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
- Blum, Julie. "Flynn takes 2nd run at U.S. Senate". Columbus Telegram. 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Wetzel, Diane. "Kerrey critical of Fischer's treatment of neighbor". North Platte Telegraph. 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- Tysver, Robynn, and Matthew Hansen. "'Perfect' land at heart of Fischer dispute with neighbors". Archived November 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Omaha World-Herald. 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2013-01-09.
- "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: General Election, November 6, 2012". Nebraska Secretary of State. pp. 12. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
- Sanderford, Aaron (November 6, 2018). "Deb Fischer cruises to win over Raybould, returning to U.S. Senate". Omaha.com. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- White, Steve. "Fischer Win Makes Clean Sweep for Nebraska GOP". Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Nebraska.TV (ABC) 2012-11-14. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
- Weiner, Rachel (May 16, 2012). "How Deb Fischer pulled an upset in Nebraska". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- "Bowring, Eva Kelly". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
- "Abel, Hazel Hempel". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
- "Sasse, Congress get down to work". Fremont Tribune. January 7, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- Morton, Joseph. "Nebraska, Iowa Senate Republicans say Dems' gun proposals are unlikely to halt future attacks". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
- "Deb Fischer on Immigration". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
- "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
- Everett, Burgess; Levine, Marianne (June 15, 2020). "GOP backs Gorsuch's LGBTQ decision after conservative blowback". Politico. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
- Reed, Leslie. "Fischer: Don't count me out". Omaha World-Herald. 2012-04-21. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska" (PDF). Secretary of State of Nebraska. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- "2012 U.S. Senate General Election Results" (PDF). Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- "2018 Nebraska primary election results" (PDF). Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- "2018 Nebraska primary election results" (PDF). Retrieved March 17, 2020.
- "Sen. Deb Fischer – District 43 – Biography". Nebraska Legislature. Retrieved 2012-03-16. Archived from original 2012-06-05.
- "Outstanding LEAD Alum". Nebraska LEAD Alumni Association. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Senator Deb Fischer official U.S. Senate website
- Campaign website
- Deb Fischer at Curlie
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Nebraska
| U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Nebraska
Served alongside: Mike Johanns, Ben Sasse
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority