Meet Nebraska Chair Jane Kleeb
Jane Kleeb is an experienced grassroots organizer, manager, political strategist and nonprofit entrepreneur. Recently profiled by PBS in a film called “Blue Wind on a Red Prairie,” Jane is a leader who deeply understands the need to connect issues that rural and urban communities are facing to politics in order to win elections in Nebraska. Jane Kleeb started her first term as the Nebraska Democratic Party Chair in December 2016.
Leading the statewide healthcare reform project called “Change That Works,” Jane brought together grassroots advocates and allied groups such as AARP and Nebraska Appleseed. While more work must be done to bring down the costs of heathcare for families, the effort was successful in helping ensure pre-esxiting conditions are a thing of the past and that all Nebraskans have access to heath care. In 2010, Kleeb founded the grassroots group Bold Nebraska leading farmers, ranchers and Native allies in an effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Jane’s organizing style earned her the title “Keystone Killer” and she was featured in the NY Time Magazine. Bold Nebraska expanded into the national Bold Alliance focusing on protecting property rights, water and the clean energy transition.
Early in her career, Kleeb became the Executive Director of the Young Democrats of America in Washington, DC. She took the reins of YDA at a time when the youth vote was on the decline. Along with an alliance of diverse groups ranging from Punk Voters to Stonewall Democrats, Jane created an innovate approach to elections that blended traditional and non-traditional methods of talking to young people at their homes and where they hang out. The youth vote hit historic highs under Kleeb’s leadership. Jane went on to be a co-founder of the DNC’s Youth Council bringing together YDA, CDA and other organizations to institutionalize youth engagement in the Democratic party.
Bringing people together in creative action is a goal of Jane’s throughout her career. She is responsible for such large actions like Reject and Protect where 12 tipis were placed on the National Mall, building a barn and various solar installations inside the proposed KXL route and hosting Nebraska’s largest advocacy concert, Harvest the Hope, in a corn field with Willie Nelson and Neil Young. Jane was one of the youngest Directors of an AmeriCorps project, worked to ensure eating disorders were included in the Mental Health Party bill and brought her communications skills to MTV as a Street Team Reporter and pundit on MSNBC and Fox News. Kleeb also served as the lead consultant on the award-winning HBO film “Thin” profiling families in the recovery process.
Serving in public office as both a Commissioner for National and Community Service and an elected Hastings School Board Member, Jane understands how to run for office and how to govern. She continues to serve as the President of the Bold Alliance and is a proud board member of Our Revolution.
Jane Kleeb lives in rural Nebraska with her husband Scott and three daughters–Kora, Maya and Willa.