Dorn brings a listening ear to the Legislature

Caption: Sen. Myron Dorn and his grandson, Dempsey, on the family farm near Adams in 2018.

When Adams Sen. Myron Dorn was sworn into office Jan. 9, he represented one of four generations of his family gathered in the legislative chamber that morning.

The eldest, Dorn’s 90-year-old uncle Wilmer, had asked weeks before if he could attend his nephew’s swearing-in ceremony, even though he has trouble getting around.

“I know he’s super excited,” Dorn said.

Dorn’s wife, Julie, and his children, Kyle and Erin, also are “very much in favor” of him serving in the Legislature, he said, even if they are wary of the amount of time his new job will keep him away from the family farm.

It will be difficult, too, for a man who said he holds no ambition in life other than to be a farmer. Dorn grew up on his parents’—now his brother’s—farm near Adams. When he left home to study animal science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the 1970s, he came home as often as he could to help with farm work.

Dorn grows soybeans and corn and raises cattle with his two younger brothers, his son and a nephew. Over time, the brothers have delegated decision making to the two younger men, a generational transfer of responsibility that Dorn said has been exciting to see.

Just as Dorn has enjoyed watching his son and nephew grow as young farmers, he looks forward to learning about the legislative process from more experienced senators.

In fact, Dorn said, he is glad to start his term with a 90-day long session so that he has more time to learn about lawmaking—even if that means being inside the Capitol rather than outside on the farm.

Dorn, who served on the Gage County Board from 2010 to 2018, said the motivating force behind his run for the Legislature was the encouragement from those who watched the board work together during his three years as chairperson.

“From my perspective, I think they saw what I had the ability to do,” Dorn said of his supporters.

One lesson from his time on the board stands out: If you talk too much instead of listening, he said, you can miss the big picture. Dorn said he made certain to hear everyone who came to him for help, even if it was clear that a resolution was out of his hands.

“When people visit with you about something or when they have an issue,” he said, “they want to feel that they had somebody that was interested or had somebody that really listened to their concerns and their thoughts.”

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