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News Every Day |

Omaha siblings serve together in Nebraska Legislature

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Senators Cavanaugh of Nebraska; call the roll.

There are two of them in the Legislature now, brother and sister, Machaela and John, both Omaha state senators.

And now that makes three; John Cavanaugh, their father, served in the Legislature from 1973 to 1977 before leaving to seek and win election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Machaela took her seat in the Legislature in 2019, and brother John arrived this year, representing the same midtown legislative district that his father did, although its boundaries have changed.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports brother and sister serving together has never happened before in the Nebraska Legislature; both have set out on different legislative paths, but both are focused on efforts to meet the needs of the disadvantaged and the poor.

Machaela, director of development at “Women Who Run” in Omaha, an organization that supports and promotes progressive women running for office in Nebraska, has centered on health and human services needs at the Legislature.

John, who comes to Lincoln with the experience of working in the Douglas County public defender’s office, says he’ll focus on criminal justice reform.

Look at their bill introductions, and you will find hunger, health, family and medical leave, children with disabilities and youth rehabilitation on Machaela’s list.

Ten of John’s bills are related to criminal justice.

At home in Omaha, the first senator in the family watches occasionally, including viewing the online NET telecast of the Judiciary Committee hearing on his son’s first bill.

“We try and keep up,” he says. “We (including his wife, Kate) are very proud. We didn’t encourage it. They apparently picked up politics along the way.”

Family matters to John, the...

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