Senator features

Bosn welcomes a challenge

Above: Sen. Carolyn Bosn and husband Reggie are ready for game day with children (left to right) Johnny, Heide, Betsy and Zoe.

When faced with the perennial question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” children often have big answers: president, actor, astronaut. For Lincoln’s newest state senator, the answer was a little different — ever since she knew what a prosecutor was, Sen. Carolyn Bosn wanted to be one.

“I wanted to be a prosecutor my whole life,” Bosn said. “Even as a small child, I had a fierce sense of justice and wanted to make the world a better place.”

Bosn spent several years in different county attorney’s offices, handling cases that many would shy away from: everything from child abuse and neglect to domestic violence. The cases were emotionally challenging, but the work was collaborative — something that’s still important to Bosn — and it was a vocation that she could feel good about at the end of the day.

For all the upsides, however, when she and husband Reggie had their third child, Betsy, the work schedule was simply too much.

“We were like ships passing in the night,” Bosn said.

So, she stepped away to focus on home and family, but quickly realized that she still thrived on a challenge. In addition to the kids’ swim team, soccer and dance, Bosn found time to volunteer at their school and as a coach for the University of Nebraska College of Law’s trial team. She also plays in a golf league and helps out in her husband’s commercial heating and air business.

“I’m not a good sitter,” Bosn laughed.

She often took the kids to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo, the Lincoln Children’s Museum and anywhere else they might find adventure or get a little time outside. That strong connection to the outdoors is at the heart of the family.

Bosn and her husband met on a spring break camping trip with mutual friends while she was in law school, and camping remains one of the family’s favorite activities. They make frequent trips in their bunkhouse camper to Branched Oak Lake, Mahoney State Park and Indian Cave State Park.

The annual Halloween event at Indian Cave is a highlight. Many families bring extra campers to set up as haunted houses, she said, and display elaborate decorations for the trick-or-treaters.

“That’s our end-of-the-year, big extravaganza,” Bosn said. “I didn’t really go camping when I was growing up, but I definitely love it now.”

Bosn was appointed to the Legislature in early April to fill the seat of former Sen. Suzanne Geist, who resigned, and she sees her new role as an extension of her work as a deputy county attorney.

“This opportunity presented itself and I thought, ‘Ok, this is another way to be involved in public service and try to make positive change,’” Bosn said.

Lawmaking echoes the spirit of teamwork that animated her earlier career, she said, where everyone shares the goal of the best possible outcome, but may differ on how to get there. Bosn said she can appreciate her legislative colleagues’ good intentions even when they disagree on policy.

“The process is much different than I thought,” Bosn said. “It’s collaborative and you have to find a way to agree to disagree on some things. I knew that theoretically, but it’s another thing to be a part of it.”

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