HARTINGTON — U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer was impressed by what she saw during her recent tour of Hartington.
The Nebraska Republican visited the Cedar County seat city Thursday, including stops at Hartelco and Pearson Motor Company.
She was taken on a driving tour of Hartington and traveled through commercial and residential areas of the community, including the Downtown Historic District.
'That was important to do,' Fischer said. 'It's very impressive how the community looks. Everything's kept up. Just a lot going on.'
She noted the under-construction Hartington Area Veterans Memorial and the Historic Hotel Hartington, and described the Cedar County Courthouse as a 'beautiful building.' 'To keep rural areas vibrant in Nebraska, you have to have an economy that's strong,' Fischer said. 'It's obviously an agricultural economy that's strong. That's what grows the state of Nebraska as a whole.'
Fischer, who owns a cattle ranching business near Valentine with her husband, Bruce, called agriculture 'the economic engine of the state.'
'Places like Hartington – people understand that,' said Fischer, a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee. 'They understand the importance of it and what it means to their downtowns and their communities.'
She noted Hartington has invested in itself to attract people – natives of the town as well as those new to the city – to move to and live in the community.
'Hartington's a great example of being able to draw young people here because just when you drive through the community – how great it looks,' Fischer said.
The Lincoln native reiterated how impressed she was with Hartington, which has a population of about 1,500.
'This isn't a community that's dying,' Fischer said. 'It has a stable school population.
'You have businesses that are expanding,' she said. 'A lot of manufacturing businesses are expanding.'
She noted the issue for expanding businesses is they will need to find people to fill new job positions.
'That then falls back onto housing,' Fischer said. 'And I understand – looking into the future – there are possibilities of different housing developments going to happen here in Hartington.' She touched upon her stop at Hartelco, noting Nebraska is lucky to have what she calls “community-based telecom companies” that have invested in providing broadband access for the state’s rural areas.
Infrastructure, especially broadband access, has been one of Fischer’s top priorities dating back to her time in the Nebraska Legislature. She became a U.S. senator in 2013 after serving as a state senator.
“If you have (Internet) connectivity, you’re going to be able to work from anywhere,” Fischer said. “And that depends on being able to have that broadband service.
“We learned that during COVID when kids couldn’t go to school,” she said. “It’s important that we have these community-based employers and companies.”