George Norris represented Nebraska in Congress for over forty years. And he changed not just Nebraska, but the entire U.S. Norris believed that everyone should have access to electricity and sponsored the Rural Electrification Act. Some thought his controversial support for public power was socialistic or un-American. The REA ran into some resistance, but passed and brought new light and new life to farms across the country
A Republican, Norris ignored party lines to align his votes with his beliefs. Norris felt the two-party system was outdated and unnecessary. He set off around Nebraska campaigning for a non-partisan, one-house state legislature. In 1934 Nebraskans voted to create the nation’s only unicameral legislature. It first convened in 1937.
Norris’s big ideas originated in a little house in McCook. After his very long career in government he returned to his home base until his death in 1944.