Omaha attorney and former Nebraska Congressman Brad Ashford has died at age 72, just 2 months after revealing he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Ashford was a state senator from Omaha for 16 years from 1987-1995 and 2007-2015.
He upset long-time Republican Congressman Lee Terry in 2014 to become just the third Democrat to hold the 2nd District seat since 1951, but lost his reelection bid to Don Bacon.
Ashford tried for a rematch in 2018, but lost the primary to Kara Eastman. He crossed party lines in 2020 by endorsing Bacon over Eastman, but remained a staunch Democrat.
Leaders of both parties are praising his life and mourning his death. Republican Gov Pete Ricketts says he was saddened to learn of Ashford’s passing, calling him a dedicated public servant who cared deeply for the state of Nebraska.
U-S Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer, also Republicans, offered similar thoughts. Sasse said Ashford committed his life to Omaha and Nebraska – leaving a legacy of public service.
Fischer called him a kind man who loved his wife and family deeply and believed in the goodness of his fellow man, in service to others, and in strengthening and growing his community.
Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb says Ashford was a hero to many who served the people of the state with pride, skill and grace. She also says he was a rare public servant who had a true, unselfish heart – adding the hope that we all will strive to build bridges in order to find common ground just like he did every day.”
Party Executive Director Precious McKesson echoes Kleeb, calling a great representative of Nebraska who was loved by many and whose work for veterans and underserved communities will always be remembered