Nebraska’s ornate legislative chamber, with its stately columns and leather chairs, is a whole world away from the stark battleground in Afghanistan where life, not a legislative bill or re-election, is at stake.

The Legislature is a relatively comfortable and orderly place where the pace is generally slow and deliberate, not the action-packed adventure of challenge and danger that has characterized Tom Brewer’s life.

Only one member of the Legislature is a Native American; only one wears a Purple Heart on his lapel. It is him.