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[Author: Mark Othmer, 05.2020 | Keywords: Nebraska Field Notes]

This has been a very unusual time. Coronavirus has dictated nearly every action/inaction upon us today. While we all continue to do our best to support social distancing, we’ve had to utilize different methods to collect information than we have in the past.

I used to feel that seeing a dealer or team member face-to-face across the desk was the “normal” way to collect information. Now it seems that Zoom meetings across cyberspace via the computer screen are the new norm. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to accept this method of contact for much longer. At some point, I’m sure that cabin fever will get the best of me.

One thing this pandemic has shown us is that our businesses can continue during trying times like this. We just had to find different ways to conduct business, our “new normal” without direct human contact.

Many of you are probably wondering why I am sharing a photo of a window. This is my view when looking out the window of my home office. This photo was taken in early April. As you can see, there was a light dusting of snow on the ground, which is nothing unusual for early April in Nebraska. Imagine this is the only view of the outside world you’ve seen for the past 21 days.

I’ve been working from my home office since March 16. During this time, this has pretty much been my view of the outside world. To be honest, this view is pretty boring compared to my views when traveling around Nebraska to visit dealers. My only escape has been by way of newspapers, television and radio, along with information coming across my computer screen. I’ve taken great care to not limit my information gathering to just these mediums. I’ve also enjoyed gaining different perspectives from people outside my window, including dealers, co-workers, friends and family members.

Unicameral Remains Shut Down

At this point (early April) we don’t know if or when the current legislative session will be complete. There have been discussions of Senators coming back in June to complete the session or to work a couple of days in June and then go directly into a special session later in the summer. It looks as though property tax relief will not happen once again. There may not be an economic incentive package in place for Nebraska either. While both of these issues need to happen at some point, with the economy shut down and tax revenues likely dropping in the near future, both issues would be tough to enact and fund this year. The state could very well be in a cash short position considering the economy.

Vision in the Mind

I am lucky to have personally visited all of your dealerships. When I call you on the phone, I often picture you in your office while we talk. It occurred to me that you don’t have the ability to see me in my home office. So, I thought I’d share a photo of my workspace so the next time we talk by phone, you can picture me sitting at my desk. I wish I could have gotten a picture of me sitting at my desk, but due to social distancing, I felt it was appropriate to take the picture myself.

Summer Legislative Meeting

We are still moving forward with plans to hold the Summer Legislative Meeting and Golf Outing at the York Country Club in York, Nebraska on June 16. Please plan to attend. This is a great time and place for you to discuss issues with your fellow dealers and to look at the legislative district races for the Unicameral. We value your input to help us determine where NED-PAC dollars should be applied. See you then!

About the Author

Mark Othmer

For over 23 years, Mark has traveled across Nebraska calling on members. A “regular” at the State Capitol, Mark keeps his finger on the pulse of legislative issues affecting members. When he’s not driving across Nebraska, Mark can be found golfing, cheering on the Nebraska Cornhuskers and spending lazy afternoons at the family farm.