For the last three decades, Brad Ashford has worked across party lines to get things done for Nebraska. After a lifetime of public service, Brad Ashford’s commitment to prosperity has made Nebraska a better and safer place to live, work and raise a family. He has always put the interests of the people of Nebraska first.
Born in Omaha and raised in a 5th generation Nebraskan family, Brad attended Westside High School. His belief in rolling up his sleeves and getting to work started as a boy stocking shelves at his parents’ small business, Nebraska Clothing Company. Not only did he learn the value of a day’s work, but his family also instilled in him the importance of investing in and giving back to the community.
Brad comes from a long tradition of commitment to serving our state and our nation. Brad is the eldest son of Don Ashford and Ellen Swanson. Don, a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient and decorated WWII bomber pilot dubbed his B26 The AkSarBen Knight. Ellen’s family emigrated from Sweden, and her father, Otto Swanson, was a well-known business owner and philanthropist in Omaha. In an effort to combat a local boycott of Jewish-owned businesses in the 1930′s, Otto along with W. Dale Clark, Milton Livingston and Ralph Svoboda formed The National Conference of Christians and Jews, now known as Inclusive Communities.
While attending Colgate University, Brad worked for famed U.S. Senator Roman Hruska. The Republican Senator was a master of bipartisanship, and Brad learned a lot about solving tough problems by working together. After finishing Law School at Creighton University in 1974, he was hired as an attorney for the General Counsel’s Office of the Federal Highway Commission in Washington D.C. Brad then settled in Omaha to join the law firm Bradford and Coenen as well as being appointed to a variety of positions by both Republicans and Democrats, including Governors Norbert Tiemann and Bob Kerrey.
Brad was first elected to the nonpartisan Nebraska Unicameral in 1986 where he served two terms before leaving and returning to serve another two terms starting in 2006. He’s built a strong reputation in the Unicameral for his ability to bring people together to find solutions that have a lasting impact on our state.
Throughout his career, Brad has worked to make Nebraska a great place to own a business. He modernized business incentives making Nebraska one of the most business-friendly states in the nation. He helped pass the largest tax cut in the state’s history and led efforts to responsibly cut spending during the recession, while protecting our priorities.
Brad has also spent his 16 year career in the Unicameral working to improve education, raising standards for special education, promoting career academies, and ensuring fair pay for Nebraska’s teachers.
A leader in fighting crime as well, Brad passed legislation cracking down on illegal handguns that plague our streets and increased penalties for gang related crimes and human trafficking.
For the past eight years, Brad has served as the chairman of the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. He has spearheaded significant reforms in Nebraska’s judicial system. These include necessary reforms in truancy laws and juvenile justice. After over a year of study and consensus-building, the Legislature unanimously passed a justice reform package that will significantly reduce prison overcrowding, enhance treatment programs and alternatives to incarceration, and save Nebraska taxpayers millions over the coming decade.
Back home in Omaha, Brad took an interest in revitalizing downtown. He helped find funding to preserve Joslyn Castle, renovate the Civic Auditorium in the ’90s, and paved the way for the Qwest Center. When city hall was faced with the challenge of building a downtown arena and convention center, they called on Brad. He helped develop finance options to build the Qwest Center, now the CenturyLink, and was later asked to serve as a founding member of the MECA Board.
Brad often seeks to find solutions through public-private partnerships, including the development of affordable housing. While Brad served as Executive Director of the Omaha Housing Authority in the early 2000s, he worked with Mayor Mike Fahey, Senator Chuck Hagel, and the private sector to develop 300 units of affordable housing on time and on budget.
His success has proven that the solutions necessary to resolve seemingly intractable problems are not partisan but instead rooted in deeply held principles of transparency and collaboration.
Brad is married to business woman Ann Ferlic Ashford and is the proud father to John, Ellie, and Tom.
Candidate for U.S. Senate, Indiana.
“The Citizens United ruling shut ordinary Americans out of the political process and handed a way to rig the system to the special interests,” said Bayh. “The current campaign finance system is at the root of the dysfunction facing Congress. We can’t overcome the gridlock my opponent has created in Washington without serious reform to encourage greater disclosure, reduce the influence of corporate special interests, and promote greater participation from everyday citizens. End Citizens United is dedicated to this fight, and I’m proud to fight with them to take on these special interests and make our country work for all of us.”