| United States Senator |
January 3, 2013
Servingwith Ben Sasse
|Preceded by||Ben Nelson|
|Member of the Nebraska Legislature |
from the 43rd district
January 3, 2005 –January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Jim Jones|
|Succeeded by||Al Davis|
Debra Lynelle Strobel [ better source needed ]
March 1, 1951
Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.
|Residence||Valentine, Nebraska, U.S.|
|Education||University of Nebraska–Lincoln (BS)|
Debra Strobel Fischer (born March 1, 1951) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Nebraska since 2013. She was elected to the Senate in 2012 and reelected in 2018. Fischer served two terms in the Nebraska Legislature, representing a rural district in the Sandhills, from 2005 to 2013. She is a member of the Republican Party and the first woman elected to a full term as a U.S. senator from Nebraska.
Fischer was born Debra Strobel in 1951, in Lincoln, Nebraska, the daughter of Florence M. (née Bock) and Gerold Carl "Jerry" Strobel.Her father was the State Engineer/Director of the Nebraska Department of Roads under Governors Kay Orr and Ben Nelson and her mother was an elementary school teacher with Lincoln Public Schools.
In 1972, she married Bruce Fischer, from Valentine, whom she met at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.She and her husband raised three sons on the Fischer family cattle ranch south of Valentine. In 1987, she returned to the university and completed her B.S. degree in education.
In 1990, Fischer was elected to the Valentine Rural High School Board of Education. She served until 2004. The governor appointed Fischer as a Commissioner to the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education from 2000 to 2004.
In 2004, Fischer ran for the Nebraska Legislature from the 43rd legislative district. In the nonpartisan primary, she came in second in a field of seven, receiving 2226 votes (25.1%); front-runner Kevin T. Cooksley received 2264 votes (25.5%). In the general election, she defeated Cooksley with 8178 votes to his 8050, for a margin of 50.4%–49.6%.
In 2008, she won re-election unopposed.Nebraska's term-limits law precluded her running for re-election in 2012.
Fischer's district was geographically the largest in the Nebraska Legislature, comprising 12 counties and part of a 13th.During her tenure in the legislature, she did a weekly radio show on seven stations covering her district, and wrote a weekly column printed in several newspapers.
In 2007, she helped to filibuster a bill that created a statewide smoking ban for indoor workplaces and public places.
In 2009, Fischer was one of fourteen co-sponsors of L.B. 675, which required abortion providers to display ultrasound images of the fetus at least one hour prior to the abortions, in a position where the abortion seeker could easily view them. A spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee stated that the Nebraska law was stronger than those of other states, which only required that the client be asked if she wanted to see an ultrasound image. The measure passed by a 40–5 vote, and was signed into law by Governor Dave Heineman.
In January 2012, after incumbent Democratic Senator Ben Nelson announced his retirement, Fischer officially announced she would run for the U.S. Senate.The Republican primary campaign was expected to shape up as a battle between Attorney General Jon Bruning and State Treasurer Don Stenberg; Fischer and three less well-known candidates were also on the ballot.
During the primary campaign, Fischer was criticized by environmentalists and others because her family's ranch near Valentine grazed cattle on federal land, leasing it for about $110,000 per year less than the market rate on private land. Opponents of federal grazing leases argued that she should relinquish her family's permit if she wants to remain "morally consistent" with her message of less government. Fischer argued that the poor quality of federal lands, plus the restrictions that come with federal leases, make it inappropriate to compare them to private leases.
Throughout the campaign, Fischer was outspent by Bruning, who raised $3.6 million, and Stenberg, who spent $865,000. Fischer's campaign raised only $440,000. However, Bruning and Stenberg spent much of their resources attacking one another; Fischer benefitted from the damage that each did to the other's approval ratings. She was also aided by $725,000 in television ads bought by the Club for Growth attacking Bruning. Shortly before the election, she was endorsed by Nebraska U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry and by 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who recorded robocalls endorsing her; and a super PAC financed by former Omaha businessman Joe Ricketts paid for $250,000 worth of television advertising promoting Fischer and opposing Bruning.
Fischer won the primary election with 40% of the vote. Bruning ranked second with 35%, and Stenberg ranked third with 18%. Fischer took a plurality of votes in 75 of Nebraska's 93 counties. Bruning won 15 counties and Schuyler businessman Pat Flynn received a plurality in his home Colfax County. Fischer and Bruning tied in Kimball and Sioux counties.
In the general election, Fischer faced Democrat Bob Kerrey, a former Nebraska governor and U.S. senator, who was running for the seat that he had held from 1989 to 2001.
In the course of the campaign, Kerrey's advertising accused Fischer of unprincipled conduct in the matter of a 1995 adverse possession suit, whereunder the Fischers had attempted to obtain title to 104 acres (42 ha) of land adjoining their property. Fischer maintained that their intent in filing the suit was to obtain a more manageable boundary for their ranch, after repeated attempts to purchase the land had failed; an Omaha World-Herald analysis stated that the Kerrey campaign's statements regarding Fischer's actions in the Legislature failed to mention her support for a compromise measure that would have allowed NGPC to buy the land. A Fischer spokesman accused Kerrey of "reckless disregard for the truth" and "gutter politics" in the matter.
In the general election, Fischer defeated Kerrey 58%–42%. Fischer won mainly by swamping Kerrey in the state's rural areas. She won 88 of Nebraska's 93 counties. Kerrey only won Douglas, Lancaster, Saline, Thurston, and Dakota counties.
Fischer was re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018, defeating Democratic challenger Jane Raybould by a significant margin.
Fischer became the third female U.S. Senator in Nebraska's history, and the first since 1954.She was the first elected to a full term: of the earlier woman Senators, Eva Bowring was appointed in 1954 to occupy the seat vacated by the death of Dwight Griswold until a special election could be held to replace him later that year; Hazel Abel won that special election to finish Griswold's term, but did not seek a full term.
After the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, Fischer said any legislative proposals to restrict people on the terrorist watchlist from buying guns would not stop mass shootings. She said that preventing self-radicalization was more important than restricting gun access.
This section is empty.You can help by adding to it.(January 2021)
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Before the January 6, 2021, United States Electoral College count, Fischer announced that she would vote to certify the election results.Fischer was on Capitol Hill to participate in the count when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. During the attack, Fischer tweeted that "These rioters have no constitutional right to harm law enforcement and storm our Capitol. We are a nation of laws, not some banana republic. This must end now."
Fischer supports more troops on the southern border and opposes college benefits for undocumented immigrants. [ better source needed ]
Fischer has expressed support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting senators to two six-year terms and representatives to three two-year terms. She pledged to "limit herself to two terms in office". She also stated that members of the U.S. Congress should be placed under a lifetime ban from becoming federally registered lobbyists. [ better source needed ]
In June 2020, of the Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County that "extended Civil Rights Act protections to gay, lesbian and transgender workers", Fischer said, "It's important that we recognize that all Americans have equal rights under our Constitution. I'm fine with it."
Fischer and her husband Bruce operate the family ranch, Sunny Slope Ranch, near Valentine, Nebraska. Their adult sons Adam, Morgan, and Luke own the majority of the stock in the family corporation, while the elder Fischers retain a minority share.
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Republican||Deb Fischer (incumbent)||128,157||75.79%|
|Republican||Todd F. Watson||19,661||11.63%|
|Republican||Jeffrey Lynn Stein||6,380||3.77%|
|Republican||Dennis Frank Macek||5,483||3.24%|
|Republican||Deb Fischer (incumbent)||403,151||57.69%||-0.08%|
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|Party political offices|
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Nebraska |
| U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Nebraska |
Served alongside: Mike Johanns, Ben Sasse
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority |
|113th||Senate: M. Johanns • D. Fischer||House: L. Terry • J. Fortenberry • A. Smith|
|114th||Senate: D. Fischer • B. Sasse||House: J. Fortenberry • A. Smith • B. Ashford|
|115th||Senate: D. Fischer • B. Sasse||House: J. Fortenberry • A. Smith • D. Bacon|
|116th||Senate: D. Fischer • B. Sasse||House: J. Fortenberry • A. Smith • D. Bacon|
|117th||Senate: D. Fischer • B. Sasse||House: J. Fortenberry • A. Smith • D. Bacon|