Omaha-area entrepreneur wins 2020 Connie Brown Freedom Award
The winner of the Platte Institute’s 2020 Connie Brown Freedom Award is Marc Nda. Nda, of Bennington, is the owner of Omaha and Lincoln-based Dignity Home Care. Nda became Nebraska’s leading advocate for ending the state’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity law for intrastate transportation services, also known as the Competitor’s Veto.
This type of law earned that name among policy experts because it allows existing transportation companies to protest and effectively deny the applications of new entrants to the marketplace at a trial-like hearing of the Nebraska Public Service Commission. Nda’s company was denied the opportunity to provide non-emergency medical transportation services for seniors and patients under his care.
“They choose who can be in business and who cannot be in business,” Nda said in his acceptance speech. “Nobody should go through this in order to get a license.”
Nda’s experience led him to advocate for a bill to end the Competitor’s Veto. While the Legislature passed a bill this year that ends the hearing process for moving companies, other prospective transportation providers like Nda are still subject to the Competitor’s Veto. Nda is now the plaintiff in a constitutional challenge of the law in Lancaster County Court. He is represented by the Institute for Justice.
“This policy was egregious from the beginning, but it seems especially hard to justify in this pandemic, when seniors and vulnerable people need help with their daily tasks more than ever,” said Platte Institute Chief Executive Officer Jim Vokal.
“Marc did not have to give of himself to speak out against this law. He’s a busy man who already does a great deal for our community through his company and his charitable activities. But his effort to end the Competitor’s Veto has become a matter of principle for him,” said Vokal.
The Connie Brown Freedom Award was established in 2015 following the untimely passing of Connie Brown, a dedicated and passionate Platte Institute volunteer. It is presented each year at the Platte Institute Legislative Summit to a Nebraskan who is taking action to remove barriers to economic opportunity in the state.
The annual award recipient is selected by the Platte Institute staff. Members of the public are welcome to submit nominations for the Connie Brown Freedom Award.