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Jeff Fortenberry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jeff Fortenberry
Jeff Fortenberry Official Portrait 115th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded byDoug Bereuter
Personal details
Born (1960-12-27) December 27, 1960 (age 60)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Celeste Fortenberry
EducationLouisiana State University (BA)
Georgetown University (MPP)
Franciscan University (ThM)
WebsiteHouse website

Jeffrey Lane Fortenberry (born December 27, 1960) is an American politician and economist serving as the U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district since 2005. A member of the Republican Party, his district is based in Lincoln and includes most of the eastern third of the state outside the immediate Omaha area. He is the dean of Nebraska's congressional delegation.[1]

Early life, education and early career

Fortenberry graduated from Catholic High in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Louisiana State University, a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University, and a master's degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville.[2][3][4]

Fortenberry previously worked as an economist, in local economic development, and as a publishing executive for Sandhills Publishing. He was also a policy analyst for the Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.[5] Fortenberry was an at-large member of the Lincoln City Council from 1997 to 2001.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives



Incumbent U.S. Representative Doug Bereuter decided to retire. Fortenberry won the 7-candidate Republican primary with 39% of the vote. He defeated Curt Bromm (33%), the Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, and Club for Growth-endorsed businessman Greg Ruehle (21%).[7][8] In the general election, he defeated State Senator Matt Connealy 54%–43%. He won all but two counties: Thurston and Burt.[9][10]

2004 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 143,756 54.2%
Democratic Matt Connealy 113,971 43.0%
Green Steve Larrick 7,345 2.8%


Fortenberry was reelected to a second term, defeating former Lieutenant Governor Maxine Moul, 58%–42%, winning all but Burt County.[11][12]

2006 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 121,015 58.4%
Democratic Maxine Moul 86,360 41.6%


Fortenberry was reelected to a third term, defeating Marine veteran Max Yashirin 70–30%.[13]

2008 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 184,923 70.4%
Democratic Max Yashirin 77,897 29.6%


Fortenberry was challenged in the Republican primary for the first time since 2004. He drew two opponents and won with 84% of the vote.[14] He was reelected to a fourth term, defeating legislative staffer Ivy Harper, 71%–29%.[15]

2010 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 116,871 71.3%
Democratic Ivy Harper 47,106 21.7%


Fortenberry drew two opponents in the Republican primary again, but won with 86% of the vote.[16]

2012 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 174,889 68.3%
Democratic Korey L. Reiman 81,206 31.7%


Fortenberry was reelected to a sixth term, defeating the Democratic nominee, attorney Dennis Crawford.[17]

2014 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 123,219 68.8%
Democratic Dennis Crawford 55,838 31.2%


Fortenberry was reelected to a seventh term, defeating the Democratic nominee, physician Dan Wik.[18]

2016 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 189,771 69.4%
Democratic Daniel M. Wik 83,467 30.6%


Campaigning for an eighth term in October 2018, it was reported that Fortenberry's chief of staff threatened a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ari Kohen, who had liked a Facebook post depicting a photo of a vandalized Fortenberry campaign sign, raising the issue to Kohen's supervisor as well as the dean and chancellor of the university. In reaction, Kohen raised a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, alleging a chilling effect on free speech.

Fortenberry defeated Democratic nominee Jessica McClure with 60% of the vote.[19]

2018 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 141,172 60.36%
Democratic Jessica McClure 93,069 39.64%


Fortenberry defeated Democratic nominee Kate Bolz with 59% of the vote.[20]

2020 U.S. House election in Nebraska’s 1st congressional district
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jeff Fortenberry 189,006 59.05%
Democratic Kate Bolz 119,622 37.07%
Libertarian Dennis B. Grace 8,938 2.08%


During the week of April 12, 2021, Fortenberry made two false calls for emergency service to the United States Capitol Police through the emergency duress button in his Capitol office. The calls were apparently not for a genuine emergency, but only to check the agency’s response time.[21]

Political positions

Agriculture, energy, and environment

Fortenberry serves on the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. He introduced the Renewable Fuels for America’s Future Act of 2010. The Lincoln Journal Star editorial board called the act "a smart and thoughtful way to reduce subsidies for the production of ethanol."[22] The act would result in taxpayer savings of $5.67 billion, according to economists Ernie Goss of Creighton University and Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University.[23]

In 2020, Fortenberry signed a forest management agreement and gathered producers across Nebraska to discuss growing the agriculture family through integrating big data, precision farming, and value-adds to maximize incomes of farms of all sizes.[24] On August 4, 2020, a bipartisan initiative supported by Fortenberry, the Great American Outdoors Act, was signed into law by President Trump.[25] In September 2020, Fortenberry sponsored H.R. 3651, which serves to facilitate the use of certain land in Nebraska for public outdoor recreational opportunities and for other purposes.[26]


Fortenberry voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but said in 2010 that he supported "the right type of [health care] reform", incorporating measures to reduce costs, improve outcomes and protect vulnerable people.[27] He introduced H.R. 321, the SCHIP Plus Act of 2009, to offer eligible families the choice to retain coverage for their children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program or using SCHIP funds to help pay for a family insurance plan, saving both family and taxpayer dollars.[28] He introduced H.R. 5479, aimed at protecting people with preexisting conditions.[29]

In 2020, Fortenberry introduced Matt’s Act, named in honor of one of his constituents who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 13. The legislation would allow prescription drug manufacturers to sell insulin directly to patients. Fortenberry claimed it would reduce the price of insulin by two-thirds.[30]

Fortenberry introduced ACT for ALS to help people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) gain access to new treatments. The act would have the Department of Health and Human Services guide a new public-private partnership for streamlined research and drug approval for ALS. As of late December 2020, over 270 members of Congress co-signed the legislation.[31]

Foreign and military affairs

In 2010, Foreign Policy magazine listed Fortenberry as a "new Republican powerbroker" on nuclear security issues.[32] In an October 2010 endorsement, the Lincoln Journal Star called Fortenberry "uncommonly well-informed on international issues".[33]

Fortenberry, and then-Appropriations Committee chair Nita Lowey co-sponsored the Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA), which aims to ease tensions between Israelis and Palestinians by giving grants and loans to startup businesses.[34]

In his role on the Appropriations Committee, Fortenberry advocated for funding to enhance Offutt Air Force Base facilities, STRATCOM facilities, and to provide a new runway.[35]


Fortenberry received a 100% pro-life score from the National Right to Life Committee in a ranking of members of the 111th Congress (2009–2011).[36] He speaks annually at the March for Life.[37][38]

COVID-19 pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fortenberry supported the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), providing small businesses with financial support throughout the pandemic. The program is estimated to have saved over 300,000 jobs in Nebraska. The state led the nation in PPP loans approved per capita.[39]

Texas v. Pennsylvania

In December 2020, Fortenberry was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated[40] incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[41][42][43]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of "election subversion." She also reprimanded Fortenberry and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: "The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions."[44][45] New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, citing section three of the 14th Amendment, called for Pelosi to not seat Fortenberry and the other Republicans who signed the brief supporting the suit, arguing that "the text of the 14th Amendment expressly forbids Members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that."[46]

Following the Supreme Court's decision not to take up Texas v. Pennsylvania, and the Electoral College's certification of the election results, Fortenberry recognized Joe Biden as President-elect and congratulated him on his victory.[47] He voted against invalidating the election results on January 6, 2021, saying, "As much as I supported President Trump to win, I believe the proposed remedy to election irregularities is inconsistent with my legal obligation and the guidance of my conscience. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. My decision is consistent with that oath. I will vote to certify the election."[48]

January 6 commission

On May 19, 2021, Fortenberry was one of 35 Republicans who joined all Democrats in voting to approve legislation to establish the January 6 commission meant to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol.[49]

Committee assignments[50]

Caucus memberships[51]


  1. ^ Morton, Joseph (November 8, 2016). "Incumbents Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith easily win re-election in Nebraska House races". Omaha World Herald.
  2. ^ "Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress - Retro Member details". Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  3. ^ "28 Georgetown Alumni Serving in the 116th Congress". Georgetown University. January 3, 2019. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  4. ^ "Rep. Jeff Fortenberry". Catholic Answers. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "Jeff Fortenberry – Early Career – Analyst". Archived from the original on December 5, 2014.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Member of the U.S. House of Representatives".
  8. ^ "Our Campaigns – NE – District 01 – R Primary Race – May 11, 2004".
  9. ^ "Our Campaigns – NE – District 01 Race – Nov 02, 2004".
  10. ^ "Member of the U.S. House of Representatives".
  11. ^ "Our Campaigns – NE – District 01 Race – Nov 07, 2006".
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 8, 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Our Campaigns – NE – District 01 Race – Nov 04, 2008".
  14. ^ "Our Campaigns – NE District 01- R Primary Race – May 11, 2010".
  15. ^ "Our Campaigns – Candidate – Ivy Harper".
  16. ^ "Our Campaigns – NE District 1 – R Primary Race – May 15, 2012".
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Bureau, Joseph Morton / World-Herald. "Incumbents Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith easily win re-election in Nebraska House races". Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  19. ^ "Jeff Fortenberry". Ballotpedia. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  20. ^ "Nebraska Election Results: First Congressional District". The New York Times. November 3, 2020. Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  21. ^ Bendery, Jennifer (April 20, 2021). "GOP Congressman Made Emergency Calls to Police Just to See How Quickly They'd Come". HuffPost. Retrieved April 20, 2021 CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  22. ^ "Editorial, 7/28: Jeff Fortenberry's ethanol plan has merit". July 28, 2010.
  23. ^ "Ethanol Producer Magazine – The Latest News and Data About Ethanol Production".
  24. ^ "In visits with elected leaders, USDA secretary Perdue defines sustainable agriculture". September 4, 2020.
  25. ^ "Fortenberry included as Trump signs conservation bill". August 5, 2020.
  26. ^ "Fortenberry Legislation To Save Lewis And Clark Center In Nebraska City Passes Key House Committee". October 1, 2020.
  27. ^ Don Walton/Lincoln Journal Star (October 28, 2010). "Fortenberry faces newcomer Harper in 1st District". Fremont Tribune.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "H.R.5479 - To protect Americans with pre-existing conditions". December 19, 2019.
  30. ^ "High cost of insulin: Son's diabetes diagnosis prompts Nebraska father to fight back". July 26, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2020.
  31. ^ "Fortenberry gathers 240 co-sponsors for bill to combat ALS". December 8, 2020.
  32. ^,10
  33. ^ "Editorial, 10/15: Lincoln Journal Star endorses Jeff Fortenberry". October 15, 2010.
  34. ^ "Congress enacts historic funding for Israeli-Palestinian peacebuilding". December 21, 2020.
  35. ^ "Offutt runway construction moves ahead". July 2, 2020.
  36. ^ "National Right to Life – NRLC Scorecard".
  37. ^ "Fortenberry Speaks at March for Life". Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. January 23, 2012.
  38. ^ "Nebraska Walk for Life draws thousands of demonstrators in Lincoln". Norfolk Daily News. January 28, 2018.
  39. ^ "Nebraska is one of biggest recipients of this federal loan program. But who's getting the money?". July 8, 2020.
  40. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  41. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  42. ^ "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  43. ^ Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  44. ^ Smith, David (December 12, 2020). "Supreme court rejects Trump-backed Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn election results". The Guardian. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  45. ^ "Pelosi Statement on Supreme Court Rejecting GOP Election Sabotage Lawsuit" (Press release). Speaker Nancy Pelosi. December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  46. ^ Williams, Jordan (December 11, 2020). "Democrat asks Pelosi to refuse to seat lawmakers supporting Trump's election challenges". TheHill. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  47. ^ "Fortenberry Statement on 2020 Election". December 14, 2020.
  48. ^ "Fortenberry Statement on Electoral College Vote Certification". January 6, 2021.
  49. ^ LeBlanc, Paul (May 19, 2021). "Here are the 35 House Republicans who voted for the January 6 commission". CNN. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  50. ^ "Committee Information". Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. December 13, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  51. ^ "Caucus Membership". Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. December 9, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  52. ^ "MEMBERS". RMSP. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  53. ^ Kuznicki, Jen (April 25, 2017). "Who are the members of the Tuesday Group?". Jen Kuznicki. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  54. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2018.
  55. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. December 6, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2021.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Doug Bereuter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nebraska's 1st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Henry Cuellar
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Virginia Foxx
This page was last edited on 10 July 2021, at 20:06
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