Democrats blast inaction on Whiteclay

Published April 14, 2005
BY NATE JENKINS
LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR

Someday, Frank LaMere said while in tears, Nebraskans may be able to talk in the past tense about the problems in beer-drenched Whiteclay. For now, the tiny town in the northwest part of the state that largely serves as a walk-to liquor stop for residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a “cancer,” he said.

And current lawmakers, including Gov. Dave Heineman, aren’t doing enough about it, LaMere, chairman of the Native American Advisory Council for the Democratic National Committee, said Thursday during a press conference organized by the Nebraska Democratic Party.

It was held just a couple days after Heineman, a Republican, made headlines across the state by forming a campaign committee to help elect him to a full term next year.

“Those feelings we had about change are lost,” because of inaction from lawmakers including Heineman, LaMere said. He recalled a declaration from Heineman that he would tackle the tough issues in the state such as Whiteclay.

Three beer outlets in Whiteclay sell approximately 11,000 bottles of beer a day, mainly to residents of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

“This is a call to action,” said Steve Achelpohl, chairman of the state Democratic Party.
Asked why the call to action is coming now, shortly after Heineman made his political plans known, and not at the beginning of the legislative session, Achelpohl responded: “Why anytime?”

“It’s time for the chief executive of this state to call for action.”

The Democratic Party is calling for Heineman to form a committee to study the problems.

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