Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

My name is MacKenzie Loncke and I’m an Omaha native. I’m in my final semester at UNO and soon, I’ll be graduating with a BS in Political Science and a BA in English. My advocacy journey started with my membership on the board at the Women and Gender Equity Center at UNO. I’m passionate about reproductive rights, gender equity, and LGBTQ+ rights at the local, state, and federal levels. Outside of work, I especially enjoy being in community and love attending local art shows and drag events with my friends!

What initially drew you to this position?

I’ve learned about the Nebraska Legislature in my studies at UNO but I’ve not had the opportunity to work directly with bills and advocacy on such a diverse level. I’ve always wanted the opportunity to use my skills and passion to support our queer community and after learning about this position, I knew it was a perfect fit for my goals!

What does your day-to-day look like as the Legislative Intern?

My day-to-day consists of tracking the bills relevant to our community and updating our bill tracking website for our community members. I often do research on different bills and stay up to date with the happenings in the legislature by watching committee hearings and floor debates.

You played an important role in making our Legislative Day happen–what was your experience coordinating the event?

This was the first time I played such an important role in the organizing of a big event. I enjoyed the logistics of creating our organizing timeline. Along with this, I loved the experience of organizing the practicalities of food catering, location selecting, and activity/research gathering for our community.

What are the most important takeaways from your time at OutNebraska?

Some of the most important takeaways for me from my time at OutNebraska have been seeing the impact of grassroots organizing and the power of community when we come together to fight or support important bills in the Legislature. Along with this, I took away that advocacy, in many ways, are acts that never stop. While we made some amazing progress for the LGBTQ+ community this session, we still need to continue to engage the Legislature to enact bills that protect our community and ensure our joy!

What is your advice for young people who are interested in legislative/policy work?

For young people that are interested in legislative/policy work, the advice I have is to stick with the causes you are passionate about. It can be daunting and difficult to find professional opportunities in this work but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t opportunities to benefit communities- especially when gathering like-minded people or pursuing solo advocacy and knowledge. Keep your passions in mind and be open to using them in smaller spaces as well!

What are your plans for the future after leaving OutNebraska?

I will be graduating from UNO next month and after leaving OutNebraska, I plan to stay in the advocacy and nonprofit sector. I plan to continue pursuing my passion for change in the benefit of LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights in Nebraska.