Brad Ashford is ready to go to work for the people of Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District.
A 5th generation Nebraskan, the sense of commitment to service and love of state is ingrained in Brad, passed down from generations of servant leaders. He is the eldest son of Don Ashford and Ellen Swanson. Don, a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient and decorated WWII bomber pilot, flew missions on D-Day. Ellen was actively involved in numerous philanthropic causes and ran her own small business during a time when women-led companies were quite rare. Ellen’s 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 local leaders, formed The National Conference of Christians and Jews, a non-profit still alive today in Omaha, now known as Inclusive Communities.
With a family background of public service, it’s not surprising that at a very young age, Brad sought out to pursue a similar path. 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. This experience shaped him greatly, and not only did he learn the value of hard honest work, combined with the importance of fairness and relationship building; it instilled in him the importance of uniting for a common purpose and investing in and giving back to the community that he lived and loved. Brad has proudly devoted his entire life working to improve the lives of Nebraskans. His results-oriented nature and strong belief that we cannot advance as a society without working together is a value all Nebraskans take pride in. Brad’s public service has spanned across three decades, proving time-and-time again that his first priority is the people of Nebraska.
He first experienced Washington while attending Colgate University where he worked for famed U.S. Senator Roman Hruska. 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. However, Brad knew his passion was for serving Nebraskans, thus he returned home to marry and raise his family, joining the law firm Bradford and Coenen.
Elected in 2014 to serve Nebraska’s 2nd District in Congress, Brad was one of only two democrats in the nation to beat an incumbent in the general election. Despite the Congress being deeply divided and mired in shutdowns and a freshman lawmaker in the minority party, he worked across the aisle to fulfill the promises he made to the District when first declaring his candidacy. “It’s the Nebraska Way,” he often says.
On top of this list of accomplishments includes being recognized as the 4th “Most Bipartisan Member of Congress”. With great knowledge of the legislative process, Brad’s efforts secured funding for a new, internationally vital Ebola Training and Education Center in Omaha, passed groundbreaking federal law that will not only bring a much needed Veterans Affairs medical facility to Omaha, but will, for the first time ever, allow VA centers across the nation to benefit from public-private partnerships. Lastly, he secured funding for repairs for the runway at Offutt Air Force Base, making sure that the brave men and women of the 55th remain in Sarpy County.
Brad was elected to four terms in the Nebraska Legislature. During these 16 years, his leadership left a mark across the state, often tackling the most divisive and challenging issues of our time. He’s seen firsthand how good legislation can positively impact people’s lives. Nebraska is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation, in part due to Brad’s efforts in the Unicameral, modernizing business incentives, passing the largest tax cut in the state’s history at that time, leading efforts to responsibly cut spending during the recession, while protecting our priorities.
He spent years advocating for public education, raising standards for special education, and ensuring fair pay for Nebraska’s teachers. While in the Unicameral, Brad was a leader in fighting crime; a leader in reforming the juvenile justice system – saving tax payers millions of dollars – cracking down on illegal handguns that plagued our streets and increased penalties for gang-related crimes and human trafficking. He also lead the initiative to revitalize Downtown Omaha, securing funding to preserve Joslyn Castle, renovate the Civic Auditorium in the 90’s, and paved the way for Omaha’s arena and convention center, the Century Link Center. He has built a strong reputation for his leadership skills and ability to bring people together to find solutions that have a lasting impact on our state.
Brad is fulfilling a lifelong dream to become a teacher, currently serving as an adjunct professor at Creighton University School of Law.
Married to lawyer and heath care executive Ann Ferlic Ashford, they are the proud parents to John (married to Dr. Allison Ashford), Ellie, and Tom; all of whom grew up attending Omaha’s public schools. Ann and John are both graduates of Creighton University School of Law, Ellie is a graduate of Creighton University, and Tom is currently studying at Iowa State University. Ann is the daughter of Dr. Randolph and Theresa Ferlic. Dr. Ferlic, a Navy veteran and medic, performed the first Open-Heart Surgery in Nebraska, as well as being elected twice to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. Their families have long been active throughout the local community with a deeply held commitment to serving Nebraskans.