No honeymoon for newest Nebraska congressman as Democrats slam Flood’s ‘no’ vote on active shooter alert system

By: - July 14, 2022 6:21 pm
Pansing Brooks-Flood

State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, left, is running against U.S. Rep. Mike Flood, R-Neb.this fall in the 1st Congressional District. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — There will be no honeymoon for Nebraska’s newest U.S. congressman as Democrats on Thursday lambasted a vote by U.S. Rep. Mike Flood against an Amber Alert-type warning system for active shooters.

Flood, a Republican and former state senator, was sworn in Tuesday as the state’s representative in the 1st Congressional District, after winning a special election June 28 against State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln, a Democrat.

The rare, special election was necessitated after Jeff Fortenberry resigned his congressional seat in March following a guilty verdict for lying to federal agents probing illegal, “conduit” campaign contributions.

Rerun of special election in November

Flood will fill out the remainder of Fortenberry’s term, which would have ended in January 2023, but before then, Flood and Pansing Brooks will square off again in November to determine who will serve a full, two-year term in the House.

Flood’s first, full day in office on Wednesday included a vote against a bipartisan proposal called the Active Shooter Alert Act of 2022.

A fellow Nebraska Republican, U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, is listed as one of 61 co-sponsors to the proposal, which calls for setting up an Amber-Alert style warning system to alert the public of an active shooter event in the immediate area.

Bacon voted yes

The House bill advanced Wednesday to the Senate on a 260-169 vote, with 43 Republicans, including Bacon, voting yes. Flood and U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., voted no.

Pansing Brooks, in a tweet Thursday, slammed the “no” vote, saying the proposal was widely backed by law enforcement.

“His vote is another example of the lock-step partisanship tearing our country apart,” she tweeted.

Flood, in a statement from his campaign, said that as a broadcaster who has experience in emergency communications, he concluded the Active Shooter Alert Act was “redundant” and was likely intended to convince the public that “guns are the problem.”

Intended to cause ‘fear’

He said the proposal defines an active shooter situation too broadly, which would prompt alerts “every time there’s a discharge of a firearm.”

“(That) has the likely intended effect of causing people to live in fear of ‘mass shootings’ that are not actually mass shootings at all,” Flood said in a statement.

Jane Kleeb, the chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party, and Dennis Crawford, a former Democratic candidate for Congress, also tweeted their criticism of Flood’s vote. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — whom Flood has criticized during his campaign — also slammed Republicans who voted against the proposal.

“If your child was in a school where there was an assault, wouldn’t you want to know?” asked Pelosi during her weekly press briefing.

The Active Shooter Alert Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., would allocate $2 million to set up the public alert system.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.