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Who We Are

Senator Tony Vargas

State Senator Tony Vargas, representative for District 7, is an AmeriCorps alumnus and has been a champion for ServeNebraska and AmeriCorps programming for several years. Because of his experience serving in AmeriCorps, he understands how valuable service experience is and how it can change the course of people’s lives.

“I proudly served with AmeriCorps for two years, and through that experience, I learned the value of public service and firsthand witnessed the impact that an individual can have on the communities we serve, which is what called me to a career as a public servant,” he said.

He’s also keenly familiar with the sacrifices and financial challenges young people face when they choose to serve their communities. Therefore, he spent significant time and energy advocating for more support of AmeriCorps members serving in Nebraska and across the country.

Starting in 2020, the Senator introduced and successfully passed legislation to make the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award state tax-exempt. Previously, AmeriCorps members were unable to maximize their hard-earned education award because of associated taxes on its use. Because of LB477, the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can go further in helping these members earn their degrees and start their careers.

Just one year later, Senator Vargas introduced LB197, a bill to provide in-state tuition eligibility to any person who completes an AmeriCorps term of service. With the passing of this bill, Nebraska became the first in the nation to provide this benefit to all AmeriCorps alumni, no matter where they completed their service.

“I want to continue to uplift and support our members, and I was proud to do so through LB447 and LB197,” said Senator Vargas.

The Senator believes because of the ServeNebraska Commission’s work, coordinating and strengthening community engagement and service across the state, Nebraska’s communities will become healthier and stronger. In another 30 years, Senator Vargas hopes to see service expanded into every corner of the state and greater knowledge about the real impacts of service in every region. He also hopes to see colleges and universities in the state encouraging students to consider serving in AmeriCorps.