Senator features

Dungan seeks new way to serve

Above: Sen. George Dungan enjoys the rural Nebraska scenery during the Tour de Nebraska — a five-day annual cycling event — in 2021.

Lincoln Sen. George Dungan has spent his professional life striving to bridge the gap between the voiceless and the powerful. Now he’s ready to bring that spirit to the Nebraska Legislature.

It started back in law school in Washington, D.C., where Dungan had the opportunity to teach classes at several area high schools on constitutional rights and how they apply to youth. His time in the classroom opened Dungan’s eyes to the vast diversity of individual experience and its implications.

“I was able to learn a lot from my students who came from entirely different walks of life than me,” he said. “It really shaped a lot of my continued desire to give back and amplify the voices of others.”

Dungan carried that passion back to his hometown of Lincoln, where he continued working in youth advocacy in the juvenile division of the Lancaster County Public Defender’s Office. Working on a broad range of issues as a public defender helped Dungan connect with his local community and better understand the challenges that young people face.

Everyone has unique experiences, ideas and stories that have a right to be told, Dungan said, but far too often people feel their voices are not heard in the Capitol and other places of power.

“Each and every client I have represented was a sum of so many different parts of their past,” he said. “Whether it was mental health issues, substance use disorders or trauma — I knew that each of my clients had a story that needed telling.”

Now that he’s been elected to the Legislature, Dungan hopes to continue serving as a bridge — this time between the community and lawmakers. Being a public defender requires the ability to find common ground and commonsense solutions that work for everyone, he said, and that is something that the Unicameral also could use.

“There needs to be some sort of middle ground between elected officials and the citizens of Nebraska,” Dungan said. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity to throw my hat in the ring and fight for the voices in my community.”

That community spirit is evident in the new senator’s life outside the Capitol as well.

Dungan currently serves on the Lincoln Pedestrian Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Lincoln Bar Association board of trustees. He also was inducted into the TeamMates Mentor Hall of Fame for his work mentoring youth.

When he’s not out serving his community, you can likely find Dungan on the city’s bike trails, playing music or spending time with his fiancée, Britta, and their dog, Redford. Although they’ll play just about anything that they can sing along to, Dungan said Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell are staples in their household.

“We are a big music family,” he said. “Having nights at home where we can relax, play music and enjoy each other’s company is so important — especially during session.”

Bookmark and Share