|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Nebraska's 1st district
January 3, 2005
|Born||December 27, 1960|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
|Education||Louisiana State University (BA)|
Georgetown University (MPP)
Franciscan University (ThM)
Jeffrey Lane Fortenberry (born December 27, 1960) is the U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district, a post he has filled since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is based in Lincoln and includes most of the eastern third of the state outside the immediate Omaha area. He is the current dean of Nebraska's Congressional delegation.
He graduated from Catholic High in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He holds a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University, a master's degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and a bachelor's degree in economics from Louisiana State University.
He has previously worked as an economist, in local economic development, and as a publishing executive for Sandhills Publishing. He was also a policy analyst for the Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.
Fortenberry was an at-large member of the Lincoln City Council from 1997 to 2001. His main commitments in this role were community revitalization and increasing public safety, but doing both without raising taxation. Among the economic development and community revitalization projects he worked on were the transition of a major public hospital and building a new baseball stadium.
Incumbent Republican U.S. Congressman Doug Bereuter of Nebraska's 1st congressional district decided to retire. Fortenberry decided to run and won the 7-candidate Republican primary with 39% of the vote. He defeated Curt Bromm (33%), the Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, and Club for Growth-endorsed businessman Greg Ruehle (21%). In the general election, he defeated State Senator Matt Connealy 54%-43%. He won all but two counties: Thurston and Burt.
He was challenged in the Republican primary for the first time since 2004. He drew two opponents and won with 84% of the vote. He won re-election to a fourth term, defeating legislative staffer Ivy Harper, 71%-29%.
He drew two opponents in the Republican primary again, but won with 86% of the vote.
He won re-election to a sixth term, defeating attorney and Democrat Dennis Crawford.
He won re-election to a seventh term, defeating doctor and Democrat Dan Wik.
Campaigning for an eighth term in October 2018, it was reported that Fortenberry's chief of staff Dr. William "Reyn" Archer III threatened an associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ari Kohen, who had 'liked' a Facebook post depicting a photo of a Fortenberry campaign sign vandalised by the addition of googly eyes and the modification of the candidate's name to "Fartenberry." Archer raised Kohen's liking of the photo with Kohen's supervisor as well as the dean and chancellor of the university. In reaction, Kohen raised a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics, and noted the 'chilling effect' of Archer seeking to violate his First Amendment rights.
Fortenberry introduced the Renewable Fuels for America's Future Act of 2010. The act was described by the Lincoln Journal Star editorial board as "a smart and thoughtful way to reduce subsidies for the production of ethanol." The act would result in taxpayer savings of $5.67 billion, according to economists Ernie Goss of Creighton University and Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University.
Fortenberry voted against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but said in 2010 that he supported "the right type of (health care) reform" incorporating measures to reduce costs, improve outcomes and protect vulnerable people. He introduced H.R. 321, the SCHIP Plus Act of 2009 to offer eligible families the choice of retaining coverage for their children in the State Children's Health Insurance Program or using SCHIP funds to help pay for a family insurance plan, saving both family and taxpayer dollars.
In an October 2010 endorsement, the Lincoln Journal Star described Fortenberry as "uncommonly well-informed on international issues".
In the 115th Congress, Fortenberry is co-chairman of the Nuclear Security Working Group, Congressional Caucus on Beef, Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus, and Friends of Switzerland Caucus. He is the vice chair of the Congressional Friends of Jordan Caucus. He is Chairman of the Congressional Catholic Staff Association. He is a member of several other caucuses. Fortenberry is also co-chairman of the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus.