Senator Deb Fischer spent a lot of time in the public eye before her election but we haven't seen much of her since. The senator tells us about her transition:
Q: What is it like to be back in this setting in Hastings?
Sen. Fischer: "It's great to be back in Hastings. Tonight we took a tour of the hospital which is such a fantastic facility for this community, tomorrow we'll be going to a manufacturing plant. It's just good to be back. It always feels good when we land in Nebraska, it never fails, and we have people in the airport come up and start to visit right away. It's a good way to be welcomed home."
Q: How was your trip to the Middle East in January?
Sen. Fischer: "We went to Israel, met with the prime minister there and went to Afghanistan which was a learning experience. It was great to visit with Nebraska soldiers in a couple different places, see the wonderful Nebraskans and be able to thank them for what they're doing for us."
Q: How was the initial adjustment from Nebraska to D.C.?
Sen. Fischer: "We went to work right away. I'm very fortunate that we've hired some good people who are excited to represent the state both in Washington and here in Nebraska as well. We're getting our feet wet early and getting involved in issues. You know, it's a legislative process and serving in the legislature for eight years there is a process that takes place, it's the same basic process and I think we do it better in Nebraska, but we'll get it worked on in Washington as well."
Q: The last time we spoke with you was in November! How has the transition been overall?
Sen. Fischer: It's been great! My husband is out in Washington with me which helps to have your partner, your support system there. We've been married 41 years, so we're kind of a package deal, and it's good to have Bruce there with me but It's always good when we get back here at home too."
Q: What was your initial reaction about Sen. Mike Johanns announcing his plans to not seek re-election?
Sen. Fischer: "I was shocked! Sen. Johanns does such a fantastic job of representing our state and the people of this state. He's a hard worker he enjoys the work but he has served for over 30 years. It's a lot to ask of people to serve half their lifetime in public service. He's made that tough decision and is ready to move on. I'm going to miss him but I'll have him for two more years now and he will be a wonderful help to me as I continue to transition to the senate."
Q: Tell us about some of the legislation you're working on.
Sen. Fischer: "I joined all of my Republican colleagues in co-sponsoring the balanced budget amendment. I've also co-sponsored a number of bills dealing with the affordable health care act and what needs to be repealed on that. We're looking at dealing with regulations… It's a different atmosphere in Washington. It's partisan and it's important to develop relationships across the aisle to be able to work with those folks as well. I'm in the process of meeting my colleagues both Republicans and Democrats and trying to find those common issues we can work on together."
Q: How is it like having 19 other women to work with?
Sen. Fischer: "We have dinner every six weeks. We've had one together now. It's a social event so we can get to know each other so we can have those relationships. That's nice, but I always tell people while it's important that I am a woman representing this state, gender isn't the only factor in this. It's important that I'm from the rural part of Nebraska, it brings a different perspective. It brings a different perspective that I was born and raised in Lincoln so I have that broad view of the entire state. It brings a different perspective that we're directly involved in agriculture. Being a woman is part of that, being a mother, a grandmother, that's all a part of that. You have to look at all of our life experiences in what we bring to the job."