Legislature gains a radical pragmatist in Hunt

Above: Sen. Megan Hunt and her daughter, Alice, at home in 2018.

By the time Omaha Sen. Megan Hunt wrote the business plan for Hello Holiday—a boutique that supports the work of local designers, artists and activists—she already had founded or co-founded a bridal accessory business, a shared co-working space and a nonprofit with the goal of reducing harassment at Omaha nightclubs and bars.

That entrepreneur’s adaptability, comfort with risk and realistic expectations about how things can go wrong will be useful as she balances her priorities with those of 48 other senators, Hunt said.

“You can’t have tunnel vision in entrepreneurship, and you can’t have tunnel vision in politics,” she said, “because if you’re just focused on this one goal … you’re going to miss all these doors that open up along the way that might lead to something better.”

The Blair native and Dana College graduate said her pragmatic approach might surprise those who know her only by her reputation as a progressive activist interested in economic justice.

“I’m definitely radical—I’ll own that,” Hunt said. “But there’s a different playbook you can use when you’re an activist—a private citizen—than when you’re an elected official.”

As her first session in the Legislature unfolds, Hunt hopes her fellow senators discover that she is approachable and amenable to compromise. Hunt said she has found that same willingness to compromise in the other senators.

“We all have our favorite issues that we’re always going to hold a torch for, but in general we all want to be productive,” she said. “The body is too small for us to jam each other up.”

Despite a busy legislative schedule, Hunt finds time to spend with her 8-year-old daughter, Alice. She spends nights and weekends running her business, and Hunt said she could not do her job in the Legislature without the support network provided by her business partner and employees, many of whom came to Lincoln to see her take the oath of office.

“[It was] just all these young women in the front row who just looked like the most fashionable people I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I admire them so much.”

Hunt also likes to read, do crossword puzzles and dine at restaurants in the Dundee and Benson neighborhoods where she lives and works.

“There’s a lot of great restaurants in my district that I love to support,” she said. “Everybody knows I don’t cook, so I’m showing up somewhere pretty much every night.”

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