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Mr. BACON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of my friend and former Congressman, Brad Ashford, who passed away April 19, 2022. Brad began his career in politics by faithfully serving in the Nebraska State legislature for 16 years, focusing on ways to solve problems in education, labor, and urban affairs.
After being elected to represent the Second Congressional District of Nebraska, Brad worked hard to advance multiple bills in support of veterans. He was a co-sponsor of the Border Jobs for Veterans Act of 2015, which helped veterans find sustainable employment and apply their skills to work for Customs and Border Patrol. He also co-sponsored the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015, which allowed veterans with a service-related disability to take an increased amount of time to seek treatment and heal as needed.
Brad will most be remembered when people drive by the nearly 2-year- old Ambulatory Care Clinic at Omaha's VA Hospital. This facility, funded through a public-private partnership, was largely the result of Brad's efforts to craft and pass the CHIP In for Vets Act of 2016.
This innovative legislation was a first of its kind that enables the use of Federal funds to be matched with privately raised donations. Brad and I became friends after 2016 and we worked together to see the project come to fruition. This past September, I was humbled to carry on his legacy by passing the reauthorization of this important legislation.
It was Brad's mission to ensure all constituents of the Nebraska community felt well-represented. Throughout his tenure in Congress, Brad consistently sought to reach across the aisle and advocate for bipartisan legislation, highlighting that Representatives are not only capable of working together, but must do so to advance our Nation, and we do this regardless of ideology or political party.
He was a problem-solver and a man of action. Even after his time in Congress, he continued to advocate and educate the public on justice- engaged youth, including our last project together finding pathways to careers that could reintegrate them as productive members of our community and reduce recidivism.
I salute and thank Brad for his leadership, mentorship, and friendship. We went from being political adversaries to great friends. It is my hope that we all carry on Brad's legacy of civility, compassion, and cooperation. I personally will miss the optimistic and hopeful conversations with my friend that we frequently enjoyed.
My heart goes out to his wife, Ann, his children; John, Ellie, and Tom; his granddaughter, Rosie; and his many loved ones. We are eternally grateful for all that Brad has done for our Nation. Honoring Nebraska Senator Tom Brewer
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Mr. BACON. Mr. Speaker, in honor of Native American Heritage Month, I rise to recognize the dedication and accomplishments of Senator Tom Brewer, a veteran with 37 years of service, including six tours to Afghanistan, two Purple Hearts, and a Bronze Star.
His experiences show resilience and true patriotism as he holds the title of the first senator of Native American descent to serve in Nebraska's unicameral. He was first elected in 2016 and represents the 13 counties of District 43 in the western Nebraska Sandhills.
Senator Tom Brewer is a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux and grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation before he enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard. He attended college at Doane University in Crete on an ROTC scholarship and continued to serve us internationally as he fought on behalf of our freedoms in Afghanistan.
Although gravely wounded in his final tour, Senator Brewer did not let this injury prevent him from fighting for his country through public service. After serving nearly four decades, Senator Brewer retired from the Army and was then elected to the Nebraska unicameral.
His inclusion represents how far we have come as a State, as well as the ways that we as people can come together in the future to uphold the proposition that all men are created equal.
Since his time in office, he has worked on legislation that improves veterans' affairs and agriculture policy to help all Nebraskans.
Senator Brewer continues to advocate for farmers and ranchers, servicemen and women, and fights to protect our constitutional rights. He has just returned from 2 months in Ukraine doing humanitarian relief in the Kharkiv region.
Though he has faced much adversity, he has managed to overcome it and use his experiences to create new standards in Nebraska's government. We thank him for his service and honor him for paving the way for all Native Americans.
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