Welcome to Our New Blog Series!
We're excited to launch a new blog series that will introduce you to the dedicated individuals behind Nonpartisan Nebraska. Over the next few months, we'll be featuring profiles on both new and existing board members who are committed to our mission. Today, we start with the person who started it all: Nathan Leach, our Executive Director and Founder.
As Executive Director and founder, Nathan Leach plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the principles of nonpartisanship within the state. Nathan's journey is unique, opting for a nontraditional education path, honing his skillset from high school with first-hand, real-world experiences instead of a conventional college education. Many who've worked with Nathan have often remarked on his tenacity and genuine commitment to his work. His decision to opt for hands-on experience over traditional education is just one example of his unique approach to problem-solving and leadership.
Born in Mesa, Arizona but raised since the age of two near Shelton and Gibbon, Nebraska, Nathan's status as a fifth-generation Nebraskan gives him a personal connection to the state's history and independent values. His journey in public service commenced in 2015 as a legislative intern for the Buffalo County Community Partners. This commitment drove him to the Arizona State Senate as a legislative page in 2016.
Fueled by purpose, Nathan joined a South Dakota ballot initiative advocating for nonpartisan elections. His allegiance to public service took another form when he enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard as a Paralegal Specialist in December 2016. Though a medical discharge came in March 2020, his passion for public service remained unwavering. He most recently worked to promote civic engagement and democracy as a Voting Rights Field Organizer for Civic Nebraska, serving the organization's mission of building a more modern and robust democracy for all Nebraskans.
Nathan's dedication is evident when he speaks of a crucial moment in his life, just at the starting line of adulthood as a 20 year-old: "On January 4, 2017, I watched as the Nebraska Legislature came just six votes shy of undoing a key component of the impartial, nonpartisan rules that have been in place since the Unicameral's inaugural session in 1937. In that moment I knew what my life's mission would be: keeping the Nebraska Unicameral nonpartisan."
Apart from leading Nonpartisan Nebraska, Nathan plays a role on the board of directors for the George Norris Institute in McCook, NE. Nathan is also a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians and the national organization IndependentVoting.org.
Nathan's attributes don't end with his professional undertakings. A supporter of mental health and suicide awareness, hands-on civic education, and student speech protections, Nathan embodies the spirit of advocacy in many aspects of his life. In his personal time, he enjoys watching the Unicameral in session, playing chess with friends and mentors, immersing himself in audiobooks, and has occasionally been seen acting in plays at his local community theater.
Leading Nonpartisan Nebraska, Nathan's vision has shaped the direction of the organization in unique ways, from advocating for student representation on the board of directors to embracing political diversity in cultivating a well-balanced board of four Democrats, seven independents, and four Republicans. Nathan’s long term vision for Nonpartisan Nebraska goes well beyond his home state’s borders, as he sees the incredible promise of nonpartisan decision-making strengthening deliberative democracy across the United States.