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Machaela Cavanaugh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Machaela Cavanaugh
Member of the Nebraska Legislature
from the 6th district
Assumed office
January 9, 2019
Preceded byTheresa Thibodeau
Personal details
Born (1979-01-17) January 17, 1979 (age 42)[1]
Washington, D.C.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Nick Brotzel[2]
Alma materUniversity of St. Thomas (B.A.)
University of Nebraska (M.P.A.)
WebsiteOfficial Legislative Webpage

Machaela Cavanaugh is an American politician. She is a Democrat, and in 2018 was elected to represent the 6th district in the Nebraska Legislature.[3]

Early life

Cavanaugh was born on January 17, 1979 in Washington, D.C.. She is the daughter of former Nebraska State Senator and U.S. Representative John Joseph Cavanaugh III. She attended Marian High School and the University of St. Thomas, 2001; University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 2001. She went on to graduate school at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and obtained her Masters in Public Administration (MPA) in 2008.[1]

Political career

Nebraska State Legislature

Cavanaugh describes securing paid family leave for Nebraska workers as her top legislative priority. She introduced a bill, Legislative Bill (LB) 311, alongside Sens. Sue Crawford (D-Bellevue) and Matt Hansen (D-Lincoln), which would provide up to 6 weeks of paid leave to care for a relative and up to 12 weeks of paid personal medical leave and paid maternity/paternity leave.[4] The bill would be funded in a manner similar to unemployment insurance, with employers sending a portion of each worker's paycheck to the state to create a fund to pay out benefits to workers who take leave. The maximum benefit would be 66% of the state's average weekly wage.[5] The bill was stalled as a result of opposition from other senators, including Sens. Julie Slama (R-Peru) and Mike Groene (R-North Platte), who were concerned about the bill's cost -- up to $172 million a year according to the Legislative Fiscal Office -- and described the bill as "progressive socialism" at its worst.[5]

Creation of private lactation room in Capitol

Cavanaugh became the first Senator to breastfeed on the Capitol floor.[4] Upon discovering that there were no designated, private spaces for women to breastfeed or pump in the Capitol building, Cavanaugh introduced a bill, LB709, to require a dedicated nursing station be created in the Capitol for senators, staff, and visitors.[6] All fourteen senators in the Nebraska Legislature signed onto the bill. Though the bill languished in the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, the Nebraska Capitol Commission purchased a lactation bstation and set it up near the south entrance to the building.[7]

Electoral history

Nebraska's 6th Legislative District Election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Theresa Thibodeau (incumbent) 3,641 51.30
Democratic Machaela Cavanaugh 3,027 42.65
Independent Ricky Fulton 429 6.04
Total votes 7,097 100.0
General election
Democratic Machaela Cavanaugh 7,733 50.95
Republican Theresa Thibodeau (incumbent) 7,445 49.05
Total votes 15,178 100.0
Democratic gain from Republican

Personal life

She and her husband Nick live in Omaha and have three children—two daughters and a son.[2] Her brother, John, an Omaha attorney, is the state senator for Nebraska's 9th legislative district.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b Stoddard, Martha (July 17, 2018). "Nebraska Legislature candidate Machaela Cavanaugh has a baby boy". World-Herald Bureau. Online. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  3. ^ Sanderford, Aaron (November 10, 2018). "With more ballots counted, Cavanaugh, Bogner win and DeBoer-Deaver still too close to call". Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Coffee, Ashlee (January 24, 2019). "Nebraska state senator breastfeeds baby on Legislature floor, quietly making history". Omaha World-Herald. online. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Hammel, Paul (March 21, 2019). "Paid family and medical leave bill stalls in Nebraska Legislature". World-Herald Bureau. online. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Dunker, Chris (March 15, 2019). "Led by new senator mom, women push for nursing station in the Capitol". Lincoln Journal Star. Online. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  7. ^ Young, Joanne (April 4, 2019). "Breastfeeding station opens in Capitol, but senator who wanted one not happy with result". Lincoln Journal Star. online. Retrieved October 22, 2019.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Theresa Thibodeau
Nebraska State Senator - District 6
2019 – present
Succeeded by

This page was last edited on 2 February 2021, at 14:27
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