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Deb Fischer: Rancher, Country Gal, Senator


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deb-fischer-rancher-country-gal-senator-betsy-woodruffNational Review:

The Nebraska grandmother prefers blunt talk and hard work to the Sunday-show spotlight.

Betsy Woodruff



You’ve probably heard of Jeff Flake, the cowboyish Arizonan. You know a bit about Tim Scott. And you definitely know Ted Cruz by now. But the fourth freshman Republican senator has dodged countless spotlights, flying under the radar and into the upper chamber of Congress. She’s Deb Fischer, she’s a rancher from Nebraska, she’s not a tea-party senator (despite what you might hear), and she’s a bit of a wonk on agricultural affairs. While Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were busily generating headlines and sparking controversy in the 2012 Senate contests, Fischer quietly beat two tea-party-backed opponents in her primary and a thick-walleted Manhattan darling in the general election.




So here’s how a rancher grandmother who grew up in a rural area ended up stiff-arming some of the most powerful journalists in the Beltway: Fischer grew up in Lincoln, Neb., married her college sweetheart, and moved to his ranch. She headed back to Lincoln when she won her first race, for the state legislature, in 2005 by 128 votes. She is against abortion and indoor-smoking bans.




Everyone asks her whether the GOP has a “woman problem,” which she finds a little funny. As for the diversity she brings to the Republican caucus, her background is in her view much more important than her gender: She’s from a sparsely populated part of a rural state, and she’s a rancher, which should distinguish her from her peers in the Congress far more than the fact that she’s a woman. She feels a special kinship to other senators from rural states, especially John Thune (R., S.D.) and John Barrasso (R., Wyo.). “A lot of it’s personality — it’s just who we are,” she says. “We’re kind of blunt. We share a lot of the same history. We understand vastness.”


We’ll probably get to see more of Fischer’s bluntness as her career in the Senate unfolds. For now, though, she’ll dodge cameras and figure out Washington.


“It is what it is,” she says of the capital, “and you learn to deal with it.”

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