The Nebraska Freedom Coalition would like to congratulate Taylor Gage in his new role as Executive Director of the NEGOP. We join a plethora of Nebraska political insiders in wishing him the best in this new (but not really) endeavor! We are looking forward to working with Mr. Gage in enhancing the good life and focusing on policy and people who will uphold the pillars of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness here in the great state of Nebraska. Fortunately, here at the NFC, we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. The best explanation was actually written by Pete Townshend in 1971: "Here's To The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss." It would be naive to believe things might actually be different, or better, at the NEGOP with this hand picked Executive Director. We hope to be proven wrong!
However, Mr. Gage has worked for the Ricketts Administration for the past 8 years. Mr. Gage is also the grandson of Governor Kay Orr. Both of these Governors have endorsed Jim Pillen in the race for Nebraska's next governor. As if all that isn't enough cause for concern, Mr. Gage's brother, John Gage, is actually the current campaign manager for Jim Pillen, according to his LinkedIn Profile. The Jim Pillen run for governor is being spearheaded by Jessica Flanagain and Co., longtime confidant and advisor to Governor Ricketts. This is a blatant conflict of interest. In light of the 0-7 loss out of NEGOP Headquarters in Lincoln last cycle, you can see why we would be wary of another Nebraska Establishment pick. It is a clear and obvious effort to continue the Ricketts machine and bankroll that has plagued the NEGOP for years.
The influence and grasp Ricketts and his loyalists have over the state party runs deep. We don't see any feasible way Mr. Gage operates outside of these confines in respect to building a bigger, more inclusive tent to expand our base and party. In fact, we see this as a clear pull for Pillen. This is a move for the NEGOP, Pete Ricketts, and Jessica Flanagain to continue their stranglehold on county parties and candidates across the state, pending Pillen gets the nomination. Is Mr. Gage actually going to restore relationships with freedom fighters or will he just continue the facade? Will 70 year old "super volunteers" and stalwarts for conservatism continue to be banned from GOP events simply for voicing a different opinion?
Chairman Dan Welch says, "Taylor brings a wealth of relationships to grow the state party". Taylor mentions, "building county parties". Are they truly sincere in doing so if it means operating in a way that might not be consistent with their circle? We'd like to say we're optimistic, but historical precedent would indicate otherwise. This is best exemplified by: the banning of volunteers from their own county party events, for voicing opinions counter to the Ricketts Administration's narrative; trying to remove and replace Presidents of independent conservative and Republican organizations they have no authority over; and, their willingness to spend over $150,000 in an R vs. R race (LD1 2020 primary), to oppose a Republican that wouldn't have their strings pulled by the Ricketts Administration, rather than use that money towards the multitude of down ballot candidates that so desperately needed the support.
The Nebraska Freedom Coalition is working to elect and support candidates that espouse Nebraska First, Founding Principles, and Liberty based platforms at all levels of government, especially local. We would think and hope that a working relationship with the NEGOP would only come naturally. From day one of Mr. Gage's tenure with the NEGOP, we aim to foster a working relationship that emphasizes the efforts and causes of the dozens of conservative grassroots organizations throughout the state we have already collaborated with. This will truly highlight the interests of We The People of Nebraska, not solely those at country clubs and private political parties. There is no question that Taylor Gage is qualified - but is he interested in expanding the party and working for the people of Nebraska, or is he more interested in continuing to push the Ricketts Agenda at all costs?
We're here to facilitate the assist, Mr. Gage; the ball is in your court. Game on.