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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 28, 1999)
Cindy Johnson dreams big, works hard
JOHNSON from page 1
the lights and the music, and everybody
was always happy.
‘To me, that was die perfect world.”
The amusement park continued to
be the perfect world for Johnson, after
her father’s career shifted gears and the
family ended up in Southern California.
“(Disneyland) is where we would
go on dates in high school,” she said. “It
was a totally different place when you
were in high school than when you were
a young elementary student.”
But her weekend Disneyland dates
eventually came to a halt, after her
father returned home from the Vietnam
War and was stationed in Bellevue.
Though she has been back to
Disneyland several times with her hus
band and three sons, David, Phillip and
Luke, the park’s magic has disappeared,
“When I took my children, I didn’t
think Disneyland was near as neat... all
the animation ... it wasn’t so magical
“And I think it was kind of a lesson
- that your perspective of the world is at
the time that you are there, and that
Ihe world stays the same,
Disneyland’s the same. It’s me that’s
changed. And I think that takes a lot in
our life - that we change.”
The changes began for Johnson
when her family moved to a new home
in Nebraska. She adapted to her new
high school in Plattsmouth.
And she didn’t associate so much
with Disneyland fairy tales any more.
“I didn’t belong to too many clubs
or organizations (in high school)
because I started working as soon as I
got to the age that I could hold down a
job,” she said.
“I bought my own clothes, bought
everything like that. So, I started work
ing. And if it wasn’t working and
marching in the band and studying for
school, I didn’t have any more time.”
After high school, Johnson’s life
took another turn when, while studying
at Bellevue College, she met her hus
Unlike her vomiting episode before
the Disneyland excursion, Johnson’s
pre-wedding excitement did not result
in a queasy stomach.
“I didn’t vomit when I got married,”
she said. “So that should tell you a little
of my perspective (about Disneyland).”
One of the changes she cherished
most, she said, was her move to
Arizona, because of a past family vaca
tion touring the state.
“I just found the Native American
culture fascinating, Johnson said.
“That’s what we would do is go up
to reservations and learn about different
things. It was more of an educational
type of vacation that my dad did for all
us kids - and we loved it.”
But even her appreciation of
Arizona’s culture and its Grand
Canyon, she said, could never compare
to the advantages of living in Nebraska.
One of her favorite things about the
state is its winning football team. She
said it is one of the things that has kept
her here for so long.
She named the late Brook
Berringer, a former NU quarterback
who died in a 1995 plane crash, as one
of the most inspiring to her.
“Berringer was a real important
player to me,” Johnson said. “His char
acter and the type of individual he was,
was very impressive to me."
Johnson and her sons often squab
ble over who gets the families’ limited
supply of Husker football tickets.
“Well, we only have two tickets, and
there’s five of us,” she said.
Fighting with her sons - David, 22,
Luke, 20, and Phillip, 19 - can some
times be a challenge.
Despite family quarrels over foot
ball tickets, Johnson said she’s fortunate
io nave nau ooys.
“As a little girl, I always wanted to
be a mother of boys. And every time I
was pregnant I would pray it would be a
little boy ... If I would have had three
girls, I would have kept having children
until I had a boy.”
Thanks to her husband, Johnson
said, she’s had a much easier task rais
ing her children and taking care of
“David cooks, he cleans, he does
laundry when he sees that laundry
needs to be done,” she said. “Our time
has always been limited so when we
work together as a pair, it gives us more
time to have fun.”
Johnson has supportive friends and
colleagues in both the political and per
sonal realms - all of whom recognize
her strong views on issues Lincoln
faces in its future and the fun she has
while taking time to relax.
Gov. Mike Johanns, who resigned
as mayor after he won the 1998 elec
tion, endorsed Johnson in front of a
crowd of about 100 people Tuesday,
during a press conference held inside
the state Capitol building.
“There isn’t a person better pre
pared than Cindy Johnson to be the next
mayor of Lincoln,” Johanns said.
Her philosophies on taxes -
Johnson is against raising taxes - were a
prime example of why Johnson should
Torr’s goal: increase
TORR from page 1
Along with going to Washington,
D.C., to secure federal funding, she will
go to the private sector to find out what
kind of projects are realistic for UNL to
Torr said she hopes to put in place
five to seven research initiatives that
mesh the physical sciences with the
Research projects addressing the
issues of food supply, climate change
and quality of water are examples of
initiatives a land grant, agriculturally
based college such as UNL would be
most successful at, Torr said.
While Moeser said that UNL has
the “intellectual fire power” to increase
the amount and caliber of research done
at UNL, he said Torr will be looking
into hiring more research-only faculty
The increased emphasis on
research doesn’t mean every faculty
member has to engage in extensive
research, Torr said.
“Some people are fantastic teachers
and should be recognized for that,” Torr
said. “Some people may not be so good
in the classroom, but they may bring in
a research initiative that is vital to
Nebraska’s interest. They should be
recognized for that.”
Torr said she hopes to increase the
research being done by the current fac
ulty members by giving them more
“I think there are many faculty who
have wanted to be involved with the
research at the university, but may not
have had the opportunities,” Torr said.
Timothy Mahoney, an associate
professor for history, saidTorr’s attitude
toward creating a supportive environ
ment for research would encourage
those professors who are actively pur
suing research projects to go after them
“She’s encouraging the faculty to
go after more and more funds,”
Mahoney said. “It will encourage these
faculty who have active research pro
grams to keep doing what they are
Torr said the increase of research at
the university would ultimately
improve the quality of life for students
and faculty members. Increasing the
research fiinds that come into the uni
versity would increase the caliber of the
library, fund more building improve
ments and bring more facilities like the
Beadle Center to campus, Torr said.
“I think it just starts to float up the
be voted mayor, he said.
Her ability to interact with citizens
and her involvement in community
organizations were other strong qualifi
cations for the mayor’s seat, he said.
Johnson was president of Mothers
Against Drunk Driving in Lincoln for
Her time spent in the organization,
she said, taught her how to be success
ful in communicating with city offi
“The way to be successful is not to
be adversarial,” she said. “You need to
work as a team and educate your offi
cials and work together with diem.”
Johnson also seeks to work on the
“When you start tacking on taxes,
sometimes it takes them beyond what
they can afford and they can’t get their
own home - which owning your home
is an American dream.”
In some ways, Johnson still fulfills
the fairy tale existence because of her
close-knit community of family and
Deb Badeer, who met Johnson at a
Lincoln church in the late 1980s, said
Johnson’s outgoing personality imme
diately helped the two become good
friends. Badeer has shared a number of
memorable times with Johnson and her
One summer, Badeer and her hus
band had a summer Olympics event in
their backyard geared for the adults.
Many times, the Badeers and
Johnsons would visit with each other,
playing dominoes for hours on end, she
“She and Dave are just a lot of ftm,”
Badeer said, who also said she admires
her close friend for her faith in God.
“(Johnson’s) faith means a lot to
her, “ Badeer said. “We can talk about
the Bible ... talk about those issues
“She’s a neat combination of tough
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