REAL POWER is EMPOWERING OTHERS
LEADERSHIP & EXPERIENCE DELIVERING RESULTS FOR DISTRICT COURT AND SARPY COUNTY
Throughout her life, Dori Heath has faced multiple challenges and struggles starting from when she was just a young child. Amongst these challenges is a common thread. Rather than give up, Dori always found a way to constructively deal with the situation at hand. This resilience has led to Dori's success at each stage of her life and career.
Dori has chosen to dedicate her life to public service. She was influenced in this decision by her grandmother who was involved in community service, state and national organizations. Observing this genuine commitment of service gave Dori a desire to do the same. Dori is currently Clerk of the District Court for Sarpy County and is just now finishing her first 4-year term here. Prior to moving to Sarpy County, she was the District Court Clerk in Colfax County, serving four 4-year terms. As an elected official, Dori makes it a point to be locally invested in the county where she serves. She believes in professional and personal relationships with her constituents and there is a comfort level in running an office with that belief. She has a passion for her position’s service to the community and that carries over to the way she treats the public, her staff, and the relationships with the judges and their staff. Dori is cognizant of the diverse population and the challenges that creates and her belief in treating others with courtesy and respect helps to transcend those challenges.
Dori (VanArsdel) Heath was born in Topeka, Kansas. She moved to a Richland, Nebraska (population 120) with her mother as an infant when her parents divorced. She was raised by a single mother and her grandmother. Dori was the only kid in her grade school that came from a divorced family and absent father. This created quite a stigma which she learned to overcome. Being raised by a single mother taught her some important lifelong lessons and gave her an understanding of having less than others. Growing up in an idyllic small-town setting, her summers consisted of riding bikes, climbing trees, playing with other kids, sneaking off to swim in a creek a mile away, working in the garden, the yard and 4-H. One of her fondest memories of 4-H was entomology (the study of insects) and collecting bugs wherever she would go. Dori started working at an early age. She had a monopoly on the World Herald newspaper delivery, using her bicycle for transportation and delivery. She loved socializing with everyone on her route, which helped develop her ability to easily strike up a conversation with people of all ages and walks of life.
Dori attended a small high school, was a 3-sport athlete each year and participated in numerous organizations. Basketball for girls started her freshman year due to Title IX. Summers were spent playing softball and detasseling corn and walking beans for farmers (cutting weeds out of bean fields using a machete). Dori was chosen to attend Girl’s State her junior year and got her first taste of government and politics.
Dori’s hard work in school paid off and she received a full-ride scholarship to attend Nebraska Wesleyan where she received her BS in psychology. She played fast pitch softball for NWU and was starting pitcher. To make extra money during her four years at Wesleyan, Dori worked at a beef packing plant during the summers, Christmas vacations and spring breaks in addition to weekends. During that time, she received another kind of education in working with people who made the packing house their career.
While at Wesleyan her senior year, Dori had an internship working at the Lincoln Regional Center, Maximum Security Unit. She worked with the criminally mentally ill, rapists, child molesters and murderers. This was another great learning experience, and she often refers back to that time for empathy and understanding of others affected by violence or mental health issues.
After college, Dori married and moved to Schuyler, Nebraska. She worked at Colfax County Court for three years; attaining a basic understanding of the court system and the invaluable experience of working with and getting to know three great county judges and their various styles of courtroom decorum. Because of her passion for public service, she went on to work for the Department of Health and Human services as a child support enforcement paralegal in Fremont. There she fine-tuned her skills of serving the less fortunate while receiving hands on paralegal education and experience. Dori served on various committees and temporarily supervised the Lincoln local child support office. She highly successful at locating absent parents, establishing paternity, collecting support for single parents and created an amazing network of other professionals across the country. During these 16 years she came to realize the importance of networking and maintaining contacts. In this position, she was able to attend court with the child support attorney and got to know numerous district court judges. This position was very fulfilling and fascinating, but also demanding.
Dori was given the opportunity to start a grassroots coalition in Platte and Colfax counties for the Tobacco Enforcement Grant. This grant was the result of the master settlement lawsuit from the tobacco companies. It allowed her to work on a part-time basis while raising her two sons. Dori created 2 core groups in both counties: getting volunteers active in the fight against underage tobacco usage. One reason for her success at creating these groups is her ability to network. The program continues to exist and curb underage smoking.
While working for the tobacco enforcement grant, the Colfax County District Court Clerk retired and Dori made the decision to run for office. For her, it was a natural progression and gave her the opportunity to use her variety of skill sets to manage a court and its processes. Because of her willingness and her understanding of technology, Colfax County District Court was one of the first in the state to scan documents for retention. She reorganized the vault to allow more files to be easily accessed, updated the courtroom, and served on various county and state committees. Dori immediately became active in the Northeast District Clerk’s Association and the Nebraska District Court Clerk’s Association, serving as the president for both. She served on the NACO salary recommendation committee, and the legislative, retention and education committee; helping to rewrite the records statutes and the jury process (both still on general file). While in office, she served on the mental health board as the layperson, was the jury commissioner, the interpreter liaison (appointed by the Supreme Court), helped to create a new personnel handbook for Colfax County and was instrumental in locating and collecting unpaid fines, restitution, and court costs in closed criminal cases.
Dori is a cancer survivor. At the age of 24 she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left heel. After numerous surgeries and a life-threatening staph infection, her leg was amputated when she was 25. As a very physically active person, that year long illness was very challenging. The decision to amputate was difficult, but she knew she could overcome that obstacle and continue to lead an active, productive life. Her surgeon errored in the amputation, resulting in a revisional amputation 2 years later. Dori’s positive attitude allowed her to rise above the challenges as she never once asked “why me” but rather “why not me?”. She believes this challenge has made her try harder in life, a stronger person and more empathetic towards others. She has never wanted to be defined as an amputee. Dori snow skis, water skis, golfs, plays volleyball, hikes, climbs rock walls, bicycles, scuba dives and even learned to surf when she was 51. With the encouragement and tutelage of her “leg-man”, she taught herself how to “walk” after both amputations and most people don’t even realize she wears a prosthesis.
Dori is a lifelong learner. One goal of hers was to attain her master’s degree. She completed her Master of Science in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution from Creighton University in 2016. This was a natural fit for her demeanor, her ability to work with others and to see the other person’s perspective. The lessons learned in that program not only helps in the field of mediation & conflict resolution but also as a supervisor and leader. It gives a perspective that helps one understand the importance of the other’s position and interests; allowing her to create a framework for dialogue and more openness.
As a former District Court Clerk, Dori understands the importance of keeping constituents and their needs in the forefront. She believes that as an elected official she is there to serve those who elected her. Due to the increasing numbers of self-represented litigants; she understands and is experienced in addressing issues that arise. She is very aware that the District Court is usually the 1st and last contact for the self-represented litigants. Dori understands the management side of running an efficient District Court and the importance of planning and maintaining a budget in both the short-term and long-term. She is fiscally conservative and during her 14 years as an elected official, she reduced numerous line items and did not believe in the "use it or lose it" mentality. At the same time, she also knew where to make investments that would pay off for the office in the long run. Dori is willing to do what is right to assist the judges, attorneys, law enforcement, probation, other offices in the courthouse and welcomes any suggestions to achieve success of the office and her staff.
Dori is proud of her first term in Sarpy implementing positive changes in the District Court Clerk’s office. She’s already started additional cross-training programs with her staff. As the District Court Clerk in Colfax County, Dori had to be able to understand and perform every function on her own due to its small size/staffing (no other candidate can honestly make this claim). Dori not only knows these tasks, but she is very proficient at them and is able to quickly identify steps in complex processes that can be simplified to increase staff productivity and ultimately save taxpayer money. This knowledge gives her the unique advantage of understanding each staffer’s areas of responsibility and helps staffers to minimize unnecessary churn and not only improve efficiency but improve their happiness and job satisfaction as well as camaraderie within and outside the department. Each day Dori finds ways to challenge and maximize staffers’ sense of accomplishment. Elevating others to their full potential is core to Dori’s leadership style and this fuels her desire to be a strong manager and leader every day.
As mentioned earlier, Dori is a strong believer in giving back to her community. While living in Schuyler, Dori coached AYSO for 9 years, was on the board of directors for AYSO, served on the Church Council for St. John's Lutheran Church, taught Sunday School for 8 years, was a member of the Chamber of Commerce and served 10 years on the board of directors for the Allegiant Heath (CHI) Memorial Hospital Foundation. Dori has been a member of P.E.O. since 2005. Soon after moving to Bellevue, Dori has joined Rotary, the American Legion and supports the Teammates foundation and CASA.
Dori is married to Brad Heath. Brad was born and raised in Michigan and is a Michigan State alumni. He worked as a Packaging Engineer for ConAgra Foods for 20 years. Ten years in southern California before being promoted to the Omaha headquarters in 2004. Brad is now a part of the Engineering team at PetIQ Animal Health right here in Omaha, NE. PetIQ manufactures more than 85% of their non-consumable products right here on site in Omaha, Nebraska. These products include their category-leading flea and tick formulations, and a full line of health and wellbeing products.
Dori’s sons are Collin and Geoffrey Kroeger. Collin relocated from California to New York City and is employed as an account associate for PIMCO. Collin recently accepted an offer to join Blue Owl, which is a leading provider of capital solutions to the private market ecosystem. Geoffrey has lived in in Chicago and Fort Collins and now lives in Omaha working at Tanners. Both young men enjoy exploring their surroundings and the world.
Dori Heath would be honored to have your continued support and asks for your vote in the upcoming May 10th, Republican Primary! Please put it on your calendar and get registered as a Republican so you can vote for Dori in November!
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