Ernie’s Last Session

December 17, 2007 at 2:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

I’m going to miss Ernie Chambers after his last session in the Unicameral. Nebraska’s most powerful senator will be forced out by term limits after this 60-day session. Most Nebraskans will celebrate his departure, calling out “Good riddance!” when they should pat him on the back and say “Thanks for doing what you do”. Indeed, Senator Chambers’ controversial ways have provided important stability to the Unicameral, forcing the majority to play by the rules—Ernie is the undisputed master when it comes to knowing and abiding by the rules—and preventing the majority from bulldozing over the minority.

The importance of Senator Chambers’ role in protecting the integrity of Nebraska’s one-house legislature should not be overlooked. I can’t help but feel that somebody (or somebodies) must fill Senator Chambers’ shoes if the Unicameral is to be sustainable into the future. That’s not to say that this “somebody” must also replicate Senator Chambers’ mannerisms and quirks; after all, those quirks constitute one of the primary reasons Senator Chambers is getting the boot after this session. Instead, Nebraska needs somebody to step up and act as a filter to help ensure the legislature’s output is as good as it can be. The role of filter is extremely important in a one-house legislature. Without it, a bicameral body may very well be the best way to protect ourselves from ourselves.

Love him or hate him, Ernie Chambers has made his mark in Nebraska. He needs to be recognized for his work. I only half-jokingly suggest that we name a roundabout—either an existing one or one that hasn’t yet been built—the Ernie Chambers Roundabout. The man can talk in circles for hours, but in the end, most of the time, he gets the conversation directed to where it needs to go.

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The Comments

beerorkid December 17, 2007 at 3:01pm

Working at the Leg I get to see first hand what he does.  He is working every weekday in or out of session.

He often gets noticed for the extreme stuff, but he really does care that good legislation gets done.

This is a huge win for lobbyists and a loss for our state.

Karin December 17, 2007 at 5:11pm

I too am sad to see Ernie go. I believe he is one of the hardest workers in Nebraska- and I can only hope that he goes on to do bigger, better things.

steve December 17, 2007 at 10:14pm

So what is it exactly that Ernie does that we hope someone else will step up and do?

Force the other Senators to play by their own rules?  What else?

Duffman December 17, 2007 at 10:14pm

Here is to hoping he finds a loophole!

beerorkid December 17, 2007 at 10:25pm

keep legislation from being controlled by lobbyist interests which is usually against the interests of the citizens of NE.

After watching 3 years of debate and seeing all the lobbyists in the rotunda, I got a pretty good overview of how it all works.

foxspit December 18, 2007 at 12:33am

Ernie is one of those rare legislators that you can count on to say what must be said. It’s what makes him unpopular (or at least it’s one of the things that makes him unpopular) but at least you can count on him to be the moral compass for the Legislature.

The other thing he does that I appreciate is shoot down unnecessary legislation that wastes time and resources: like my senator’s idea to make the right to hunt a MF’in Constitutional amendment.


Crap like that sullies the dignity of the document. We don’t need an amendment for every Tom Dick and Harry idea that comes along.

Dave K December 18, 2007 at 3:30am

‘Tis the season for Erniacs!

I nominate Danielle Nantkes to fill Ernie’s shoes.  She has shown she isn’t afraid to take on things head-on.

Duffman December 18, 2007 at 2:18pm

Also Ernie has done what is in the best interest of his district.  They love him there why should they be forced to no longer vote for him.

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