OMAHA — Laura Ebke, the state senator representing Nebraska’s Legislative District 32, has changed her party registration from Republican to Libertarian, the second legislator to do so this year. Rep. John Moore (Nevada’s 8th Assembly District) also left the GOP for the Libertarian Party in January.
“I’m excited to be joining with the Libertarian Party at this point in history,” said Ebke. “The national ticket of Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld brings a tremendous level of credibility to the table. A pro-fiscal responsibility, small government, plus pro-civil liberties platform respects the Constitution and the taxpayer.”
“At their core, I think most people want to be let alone to pursue their own interests,” she continued. “The libertarian ideal moves us back in that direction.”
Sen. Ebke is one of only 49 senators serving in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature. She was elected for the first time in November 2014 for a four-year term ending in January 2019.
Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature. It is also the only nonpartisan state legislature, although party leaders regularly pressure legislators to “vote the ‘party’ way,” she said.
“As a Republican, the pressure to vote with the Republican governor is significant,” she said.
During her 1-1/2 years in office, Ebke has introduced a bill to prohibit local governments from having more stringent requirements for gun possession than the state has; co-sponsored a bill to legalize medical marijuana; and co-sponsored a bill to partially repeal asset forfeiture (“policing for profit”).
Sen. Ebke played key a role in advancing each of these bills.
In a letter to her donors to announce her switch, Sen. Ebke said she had become increasingly disillusioned by the GOP.
“My view of conservatism has always been [based on] smaller government, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, respect for constitutional rights,” she wrote. “And on the national scene, a strong military, but not an overly aggressive one. In other words, I believe in a constitutionalism which looks to the principles of our founders as a guide.”
“This is starting to be a trend,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian National Committee. “We shouldn’t be surprised to see more small-government legislators, tired of the dictates of party bosses, finding their true home in the Libertarian Party.”
Sen. Ebke holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska and served on the Crete School Board from 2002 to 2015.