I'll work to make sure that working-class and middle-class families have a seat at the table.
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40 years ago, it was commonplace for people to be able to graduate from high school or college and find a good job with good benefits that allowed them to buy a home, send their children to college, save for retirement, buy a new car every few years, take a family vacation, and even leave a little money to their children to help them build for their future. Nothing extravagant; just what most people think of as the American dream.
Over the last few decades, the American dream has become just that: A dream and not an achievable reality. The voice of working-class and middle-class Americans have been drowned out by lobbyists and special interest groups. This, combined with the astronomical cost of health care, the burden of student debt, and the lack of jobs that pay a decent wage, have led many Americans to have to work two or even three jobs just to make ends meet.
Having had the experience of raising 3 children as a single parent and owning a small business, I am dealing with many of these same issues. For far too long we have not had a seat at the table, and our voices are not being heard by those we have elected to represent us. This is why I have formed an Exploratory Committee for Nebraska’s 2nd district. I am concerned that the rhetoric coming from some politicians in Washington is trying to divide us based on superficial differences. In Congress, I will be a voice for working- and middle-class families in this district, to find solutions based on values that we all have in common: To have a good-paying job, to provide for our families, to have a nice home in a safe neighborhood, to have good schools for our children, and to have affordable, quality healthcare. My parents taught me that being of service is the most important characteristic of a leader. Serving the needs of every Nebraskan will be my top priority as your Congresswoman.
Gladys Harrison is Nebraska through and through. Born and raised in Omaha to Patricia “Big Mama” Barron, Donald Harrison and Ernest Barron, Gladys is a mother, grandmother, small-business owner, and a 4th generation Nebraskan with deep roots in the Omaha community. Gladys fondly remembers her childhood in Omaha, spending her summers at Galleghars pool, enjoying treats at Dippy Donut Shop, and learning valuable skills as a Brownie and Girl Scout.
Gladys attended Omaha public schools for her primary education, attended Holy Name Middle School, and graduated from Marian High School. No stranger to the value and reward of hard work, Gladys got her first job at age 14 at Runza Hut. That work ethic and an interest in entrepreneurship also led her to be elected as the Nebraska State President for Future Business Leaders of America in her senior year of high school
Gladys began her professional career in 1988 at U.S. West Communications, enjoying 22 years with that company. During this time, she became a member of the Communications Workers of America, Local 7400. Gladys also took part in her union’s leadership, serving as Steward for her local chapter.
In 2007, Gladys helped her mother achieve her lifelong dream of owning a restaurant, opening Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering. Big Mama’s has since become a fixture in the Omaha community and has also gained national notoriety, appearing on the Food Network, the Travel Channel, Sundance Channel, and the Cooking Channel.
Sadly, Big Mama passed away in 2018, but the restaurant is still family-owned under Gladys’ leadership. Gladys works alongside three generations of Big Mama’s daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to keep her legacy alive.