Photo by George Lauby
Gary and DiAnn Nicholson, Jane Kleeb, and Bob and Christie Parker.
Two couples received the Keith Neville award Thursday when the Lincoln County Democrats gathered at Cody Park.State Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb presented the award to DiAnn and Gary Nicholson, and Christie and Bob Parker, all of North Platte.
The annual award recognizes people for outstanding contributions and service to the county Democrats.
The Nicholsons and the Parkers have been dedicated to the local party, Lincoln County chairman Terry Sigler said. DiAnn Nicholson has been the long-term secretary for the party and she and husband Gary are always willing to help.
“When we call, they are always there,” Sigler said.
The Parkers have been active since they arrived on the scene two and a half years ago, he said.
The two couples tied for the award in a vote of 50 party members, Sigler said.
Kleeb told the 55 Democrats in attendance Thursday that it is important to be active, as well as civil, in talking to others.
She said workshops are in progress around the state, discussing ways to open conversations and go door-to-door to meet prospective voters. One of those “Blue Bench” workshops will be held at 10 a.m. July 15 at WB’s in North Platte.
Parker urged the audience to take the opportunity and make a difference.
Kleeb said Nebraska is better served by going door-to-door than spending a lot of money on analytics from the national party.
“We want to actually talk to Democrats and Independents again, as well as people who disagree with us,” she said.
“We’ve had one in Hall County,” said Judy Vohland, who came to the picnic from Grand Island. “It was very good. We opened it up and heard concerns. It is important that we are listening, so we can get information.”
Kleeb called the political climate “really ugly right now.”
“There has to be a time when divisions end, and we come together,” she said, referring especially to health care and insurance.
Kleeb said the healthcare bill in the Senate is a non-starter for bi-partisan negotiations, in large part because it cuts Medicaid, the federal program for the poor and developmentally disabled.
She also said the idea of repealing Obamacare without replacing it is “irresponsible and reckless.”
Sigler said the Nebraska Democratic Party plans to meet in North Platte in April.
Keith “Skip” Neville was born in 1884. He attended grade school in North Platte, moved to Washington, D.C. for a period, graduated from St. John’s College and returned to North Platte.
He managed real estate and was the president of the First National Bank. He helped coach at North Platte High as a volunteer and also played baseball. From the time he was a young man he was interested and involved in the Democratic Party.
He became Nebraska’s “boy governor,” when he was elected to the office at age 33 – the youngest Nebraska governor in history. He always called North Platte his home. He died in 1959.
In 1988, the Lincoln County Democrats chartered the Keith Neville Award, recognizing individuals and couples for outstanding contributions.