Above: Sen. Fox celebrates completing the Berlin Marathon.
Nebraska’s newest state senator has always followed her own path.
Omaha Sen. Nicole Fox says that growing up an only child in Hamburg, Iowa, offered a couple of distinct advantages for someone who likes to do things her way: plenty of one-on-one time with her parents and the ability to dabble in every sport in her small high school.
“I’m a foodie,” said Fox, a nutrition therapist specialist at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. “Luckily, I learned young that being an active person could help balance out my love of food.”
The one sport from high school that resonated with Fox, and has become a life-long passion, is running. She has completed numerous marathons both in the U.S. and abroad and said that races offer a unique avenue for distilling her passions.
“Marathons have always been a way to combine my love of travel, food and running,” Fox said, adding that building in days for sightseeing and local food have resulted in memorable trips to San Francisco, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and St. Louis, among other cities.
Her most recent event, however, was a personal favorite – finishing the Berlin Marathon in 2014.
“It was very empowering to travel to Berlin by myself and experience my German heritage,” she said. “The history and architecture were amazing and it was a major bucket list accomplishment for me.”
Fox’s path to serving in the Legislature also has roots in her childhood. Her first part-time job as a teenager was at a summer camp for youth with diabetes. While working with the campers, Fox became interested in the ways that nutrition serves as fuel for activity.
After graduating from Iowa State University and serving an internship in Kansas City, the result was a career providing medical nutrition therapy to patients receiving cancer treatments. Along the way, she began working on policy issues that impact her profession.
“I’ve always been interested and involved in public policy,” Fox said. “I was considering graduate school when this opportunity arose, and I realized that serving in the Legislature would be more ‘hands on’ than any master’s program.”
Since being appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts in August to fill the District 7 seat for the last year of an existing term, Fox has been meeting with senators, constituents and others to get a feel for what to expect as the session unfolds.
“I feel very fortunate that I’ve had this breathing room to get up to speed on issues and process,” she said.
Fox said she plans to concentrate on being a resource for fellow senators on issues pertaining to health care and doing what she can to assist on legislation related to job creation.
“As a career woman, I believe that work defines us. It gives us a sense of purpose. I want to help bring that opportunity to more Nebraskans.”