Distinguished Speaker - Jeff Fortenberry
Jeff Fortenberry was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2004 to represent the people of Nebraska’s First Congressional District, which includes 24 counties in eastern Nebraska.
In Congress Fortenberry has focused work in his committee areas of Agriculture, Foreign Affairs, and Small Business. On the Agriculture Committee, he has promoted agricultural entrepreneurship, ag-based renewable energy, and land stewardship. In the 2007 House Farm Bill, Fortenberry sponsored successful measures to develop renewable energy systems in rural communities and provide preference for local foods in school lunch programs.
As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Fortenberry has supported increased international diplomacy and regional engagement in the Middle East and Africa. He has met with foreign officials in Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Senegal, and Liberia. In 2005, the House passed a Fortenberry initiative calling on the UN to discipline member states in which genocide and war crimes occur. Fortenberry has worked for a more secure America, calling for border control and meaningful penalties against unscrupulous employers that hire illegal aliens. He supports a strong national defense, providing necessary support for our troops, military families, and veterans.
In his role with the Small Business Committee, Fortenberry is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship where he focuses his efforts on making small business entrepreneurship an important part of community development. He is a supporter of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and their use by small businesses and individuals to create patient-centered healthcare. A Fortenberry initiative to make HSAs more accessible was enacted into law.
Fortenberry’s career includes diverse experience in public service, policy analysis, and small business.
From 1997-2001, Fortenberry served as an at-large member on the Lincoln City Council. As a council member he worked on many economic development and community revitalization projects, including the transition of a major public hospital to the private sector, and the building of a new baseball stadium.
While completing a Masters degree in public policy at Georgetown University, Fortenberry worked for the United States Senate with the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations. His service with the Subcommittee coincided with the farm crisis of the mid 1990s. During his time with the Subcommittee he examined the way falling agricultural land values were affecting local municipalities, and offered practical solutions. Fortenberry has also participated in a number of vital cost-benefit analysis assessments on public works projects across the country.
Fortenberry is a successful businessman with an extensive career in the publishing industry and many years experience in various small business investments.
He and his wife, Celeste, have five little girls.