Despite Redistricting Outcomes, These Two State Senators Still Support the Process. Here's Why

Dec. 7, 2021, 3 p.m. ·

Wendy DeBoer and Matt Williams headshots
Sens. Wendy DeBoer of Bennington (left) and Matt Williams of Gothenburg (right). (Photos courtesy Nebraska Unicameral Information Office)

Listen To This Story

Two Nebraska state senators reflected on the state’s redistricting process Tuesday on a University of Nebraska-Lincoln webinar, and they said it was the most partisan process they’ve seen in the Legislature. Despite that, Sens. Wendy DeBoer and Matt Williams are still happy with how it turned out.

“I believe that what we achieved through this redistricting was as fair of a result as we could have had under the circumstances," Sen. Williams said.

Those circumstances came in the form of a crunched time frame in a special session, he said, in addition to a fairly partisan political climate.

Elected to serve District 36, Williams represented what was Custer, Dawson and parts of Buffalo counties in central Nebraska. Now, his district sits in most rural southern Sarpy County, and he’ll represent the new area for the reminder of his term, which runs out next year.

That was a necessary decision for Williams who said he respects the process of redistricting. The real problem for him is figuring out how to help rural Nebraska from losing population and critical needs – like good schooling and hospitals.

“We cannot keep Nebraska healthy to serve our state’s No. 1 industry – agriculture – if we don’t provide opportunity in those areas," he said.

DeBoer is from Bennington, and District 10 moved from including both Bennington and northwest Omaha to just northwest Omaha. She will represent her new district until her term expires in 2022 and is running for reelection.

In the webinar, she was asked about other redistricting processes and making Nebraska’s more fair. For her, Nebraska’s unicameral system is pretty good already. Why? Well, she said, she just had to ask colleagues from other states.

“The other folks hear about our process in the Unicameral and are almost universally jealous of it," she said.

So far, 24 U.S. states have completed redistricting, leaving 26 still in the process or awaiting to start it, according to FiveThirtyEight.

(Map by Daniel Wheaton / Nebraska Public Media News)

Editor's note: A previous headline of this story incorrectly implied that Sen. DeBoer was moved from her district. She still lives in the new 10th district.