skip to Main Content

2018 NEBRASKA LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES

The primary election was held on May 15, 2018.  The top two vote-getters from each legislative district (regardless of party) advance to the November 6th general election.  The vote percentage for each candidate in the primary election appears below, with the candidates advancing to the general election indicated with a checkmark.

District 2

Republicans: 50.2% – Democrats: 25.6% – Nonpartisan: 24.2%

Nebraska Legislative District 2

Click to enlarge.

James Bond

James Bond (R), Plattsmouth
James Bond, age 45, was born and raised in Nebraska, where he grew up working a paper route and playing sports. He was homeless for a short period of time after graduating from high school. He joined the Army and was honorably discharged after a hand grenade injury. He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans. He has served in law enforcement. Bond is married and is currently a stay-at-home dad who prioritizes being involved in his two daughters’ lives.

Bond’s priorities include supporting law enforcement, reforming courts and prisons, fighting racism, fixing what divides Nebraskans, children’s rights, school choice, and the environment.

Robert Clements

Robert Clements (R), Elmwood

Following the resignation of Bill Kintner in February 2017, Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed Elmwood banker Robert Clements as replacement for a two-year term. Clements is a registered Republican. He was born in Lincoln and raised in Elmwood. In 1973, he received his bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Clements has been a banker at America Exchange Bank in Elmwood since 1978. 67-year-old Clements and his wife, Peggy, have five grown children and eleven grandchildren.

In the Nebraska Legislature, Clements serves on the Appropriations Committee. In October, he received Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom’s Conservative Legislator of the Year Award.

Susan Lorence

Susan Lorence (D), Plattsmouth

62-year-old Susan Lorence is seeking the legislative seat for District 2.  She works for CenturyLink in Omaha.  She currently serves as Plattsmouth Community Foundation Treasurer.  She is married to Ray Newton, who retired from a career in the telecommunications industry.  They have lived in Plattsmouth and been active in their church and community there for more than 20 years.  They own a farm west of Plattsmouth.  Their daughter is a graduate of Duchesne Academy in Omaha and is pursuing a medical degree at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Lorence is running for state legislature because of her care for the people in her community and a desire to do all she can to ensure opportunity and prosperity both now and into the future.  Lorence has said she wants to ensure Nebraska is always a place where quality education, access to healthcare, and job security are a reality for every Nebraska family.  She believes in smart budgeting, real tax relief for middle class families, and better opportunities for people working hard.

District 4

Republicans: 51.6% – Democrats: 25.5% – Nonpartisan: 22.9%

Nebraska Legislative District 4

Click to enlarge.

Shannon Coryell

Shannon Coryell (D), Omaha

42-year-old Shannon Coryell is an Omaha native and 1995 Westside High School graduate.  Coryell previously worked as a rural carrier for the U.S. Postal Service and then decided to go back to school for nursing.  After an injury left her partially paralyzed, she was unable to finish nursing school and became a full time stay-at-home mom.  Coryell has two sons—Dylan, a Burke High School graduate, and Jack, a tenth-grader.  At the age of two, Jack was diagnosed with autism.  He was nonverbal but began speaking after therapy.  Since that time, Coryell has been involved in advocating for effective public education, especially for those with special needs.  Coryell has testified before the Legislature in support of legalizing marijuana use and has also been active as a proponent for Title X funding on behalf of Planned Parenthood.  This experience is one of the reasons she has decided to run.

On education issues, she supports “exemplary funding for K-12 education across our state so students can learn from the best teachers in safe and up-to-date classrooms” and “accountability and transparency without overburdening our children and teachers with excessive testing.”  She also believes crimes that do not pose a serious threat to our society may be better addressed through education and mental health and/or drug interventions.  She supports eliminating mandatory minimum sentencings.  Coryell has also listed commonsense gun safety as a top priority.  She supports Medicaid expansion and will work to ensure that every Nebraskan has access to affordable health coverage.  She will also make supporting veterans a priority.

Robert Hilkemann

Robert Hilkemann (R), Omaha

First elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014, Sen. Robert Hilkemann is a registered Republican. He was born in Norfolk and grew up near Randolph. He received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1969 and his doctorate degree in Podiatry from Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine in 1976. In 1984, Hilkemann founded the Foot and Ankle Center of Nebraska, retiring from practice in 2013. He was on the State Board of Health from 1983 to 1988 and served as its chairman for two of those years. 69-year-old Hilkemann and his wife, Julie, have three grown children.

Hilkemann serves on the Nebraska Legislature’s Appropriations Committee and Committee on Committees.

Hilkemann believes in holding the line on state spending, supporting property tax relief, eliminating burdensome regulations on Nebraska businesses, quality education for our children, and supporting public safety legislation.

District 6

Republicans: 40.6% – Democrats: 35.6% – Nonpartisan: 23.8%

Nebraska Legislative District 6

Click to enlarge.

Michaela Cavanaugh

Machaela Cavanaugh (D), Omaha

The daughter of former House Representative John Cavanaugh, Machaela Cavanaugh is a registered Democrat. Cavanaugh was raised in Omaha. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of St. Thomas and her master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She works at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and before that served as the director of development for Opera Omaha and the American Province of the Servants of Mary and as a staff assistant for U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson in Washington D.C. She and her husband, Nick Brotzel, have two young daughters.

Cavanaugh’s priorities if elected to the Nebraska Legislature are property tax relief, investing in education, protecting senior citizens, and “growing the good-paying jobs of the future.”

Ricky Fulton

Ricky Fulton (I), Omaha

Ricky Fulton, 62, a retired U.S. Postal Service employee, was among the applicants who applied for the appointment to fill former Sen. Joni Craighead’s seat. He has volunteered in the Omaha community to help the elderly and work toward better schools and safer neighborhoods.

He is interested in supporting public education, smart stewardship of tax dollars, building and maintaining safe streets, and supporting a vibrant arts culture.

Theresea Thibodeau

Theresa Thibodeau (R), Omaha

On October 20, 2017, Gov. Ricketts appointed Theresa Thibodeau to replace former Sen. Joni Craighead in the Nebraska Legislature. The 42-year-old Republican plans to seek election to the District 6 seat in west-central Omaha next year as she finishes out the final 14 months of Craighead’s term. Thibodeau owns Primrose School, a preschool franchise that employs a staff of 48. She has a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and formerly worked as an account manager at Lockton Benefit Co. Mayor Jean Stothert appointed Thibodeau to the Omaha Personnel Board in 2016, and she also serves on the boards of the La Vista Community Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands. She is a member of St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church and described herself as a “passionate advocate for children’s issues.” She has served as political campaign manager for her older sister, Omaha City Councilwoman Aimee Melton. She and her husband, Dr. Joseph Thibodeau (a cardiologist), have three school-aged children.

Thibodeau has said that she wants to work on policies that promote job growth, boost achievement in the classroom, and encourage fiscal discipline in state government.

District 8

Republicans: 26.1% – Democrats: 46.9% – Nonpartisan: 27.0%

Nebraska Legislative District 8

Click to enlarge.

Marienella Davis

Marienella “Mina” Davis (D), Omaha 

A recent graduate of Creighton University, Marienella “Mina” Davis is a registered Democrat. She grew up in Millard and now lives in Omaha’s Dundee neighborhood. The 24-year-old is a merchandise planning analyst at Oriental Trading Company and also owns a small business selling clothing online. Davis previously worked on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, served as national delegate for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, and volunteered for State Sen. Heath Mello’s mayoral campaign.

If elected to the Nebraska Legislature, Davis hopes to be a voice “for those who really don’t feel like they’re being engaged.” She supports paid family leave, unions, a livable minimum wage, college affordability, early childhood education programs, road maintenance, and equal pay.

Megan Hunt

Megan Hunt (D), Omaha

A Blair native who has called Omaha’s Dundee neighborhood home for 13 years, Megan Hunt is the 31-year-old owner of Hello Holiday and founder of the nonprofit Safe Space Nebraska, whose mission is to end harassment and assault in nightlife establishments. Hunt is a trustee of the Business Ethics Alliance and has served on the boards of Friends of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Friends of the Nebraska AIDS Project, and Omaha Area Youth Orchestras. Hunt has an eight-year-old daughter, Alice.

Hunt is running on the belief that the Nebraska Legislature can bring human rights and equality of opportunity for all Nebraskans. She is focusing on keeping young people civically engaged “by taking steps to reduce brain drain at all levels of government” and on looking at the state’s budget as “the people’s money,” meaning maintaining a balanced budget, increasing efficiencies in government, and reducing wasteful spending.

Josh Henningsen

Josh Henningsen (D), Omaha

Hailing from the Metcalf-Harrison neighborhood—and serving as its neighborhood association’s president for the last three years—Josh Henningsen is a 37-year-old attorney currently working for Child Welfare Inspector General. Henningsen is a registered Democrat. He served as legal counsel to the Judiciary and to the Health and Human Services committees, under Sens. Seiler and Campbell, respectively. Henningsen was a staffer with the Nebraska Legislature’s Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee, the Department of Correctional Services Special Investigative Committee, and for the Intergenerational Poverty Task Force. He has also done policy work for the Nebraska Center for Rural Affairs and is a member of the Education Committee for St. Pius X/St. Leo School. He and his wife, Christine, have three young children.

Henningsen is running to “provide Omaha families with an effective and engage voice in the Legislature.” He is passionate about public safety, investing in education, supporting working families, and providing affordable health care for all.

District 10

Republicans: 40.7% – Democrats: 34.2% – Nonpartisan: 25.1%

Nebraska Legislative District 10

Click to enlarge.

Wendy DeBoer

Wendy DeBoer (D), Bennington

A registered Democrat, 43-year-old Wendy DeBoer is an Omaha native. She returned to the city last year after practicing as an attorney for a year in Kansas City. DeBoer graduated from Burke High School and then went on to Hastings College and the University of Nebraska Law School. She continued doctoral work at Syracuse University in New York in Christian theology. DeBoer has taught philosophy and religious studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and served in various religious and academic leadership roles in the Omaha area.

DeBoer is running to promote a quality education for all Nebraskans, striving to create good-paying jobs, and working to design a fair tax system that would allow every Nebraskan to thrive. She said she is running for the Nebraska Legislature “to give back to the community that has given so much to my family.”

Matt Deaver

Matt Deaver (R), Omaha

Matt Deaver is a lifetime Omaha resident. The 42-year-old attorney has been practicing estate and business planning law in the area for over 12 years. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1997 with a degree in Business Administration, he went on to Creighton University’s Law-Business Administration program, obtaining both a master’s in Business Administration and a law degree. He specializes in helping farm and ranch families achieve their estate planning goals. Deaver is a member of the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys. He also served as a legislative aide for then-State Sen. Adrian Smith and worked in the Office of the Nebraska State Treasurer. Matt and his wife, Allison, have three children.

Deaver is running for Nebraska Legislature in order to help grow the economy to provide meaningful tax relief for Nebraskans and to make the state more competitive on taxes, education and regulations, hopefully attracting new businesses and jobs to the state.

District 12

Republicans: 39.5% – Democrats: 34.0% – Nonpartisan: 26.5%

Nebraska Legislative District 12

Click to enlarge.

Steve Lathrop

Steve Lathrop (D), Omaha

Steve Lathrop was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2006 as a registered Democrat, and then was re-elected in 2010 before he met his term limit in 2014. In his first race, he defeated now-Mayor Jean Strothert. Lathrop is an attorney with Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop. In his past tenure, he was chairman of the Business and Labor Committee and was a member of the Judiciary and Urban Affairs Committees. He guided legislative efforts to implement prison reform, establish policy on water resources and wind energy, enact policy on Nebraska’s unemployment insurance fund, and negotiate resolution on collective bargaining and embryonic stem cell research. Lathrop also oversaw a legislative investigation of the Department of Correctional Services and headed the legislative inquiry that led to reform at the Beatrice State Developmental Center.

Lathrop is running with the priorities of providing independent leadership for property tax relief, stronger public schools—including reforming state aide to education—and promoting the “good-paying jobs of tomorrow.”

Merv Riepe

Merv Riepe (R), Ralston

Registered Republican Merv Riepe is running as an incumbent for the seat he was first elected to in 2014, when State Sen. Steve Lathrop’s term reached its limit. Riepe is the 75-year-old chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and serves on the General Affairs and Urban Affairs Committee in the Nebraska Legislature. He is the former CEO of Bergan Mercy Medical Center and formerly managed a physician’s group at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. Riepe is also a Navy veteran. Riepe is married to Jody and has one son.

Riepe has said that his priorities for the Legislature are focusing on health care issues, lowering taxes, promoting tax fairness, and reducing spending.

District 14

Republicans: 46.2% – Democrats: 27.3% – Nonpartisan: 26.5%

Nebraska Legislative District 14

Click to enlarge.

John Arch

John Arch (R), La Vista

John Arch of the La Vista area is a 61-year-old registered Republican. He is currently CEO for the Boys Town National Research Hospital and Clinics and has worked in the health care division of Boys Town for 23 years. He is both executive vice president of health care and its director of the National Research Hospital and Clinics. He has said that he would step down at the end of next year from these positions. State Sen. Jim Smith, whose spot is up for grabs after reaching its term limit, has endorsed Arch as his replacement. Arch and his wife, Brenda (a substitute teacher in the Papillion La Vista School District), have two sons and three grandchildren.

Arch said that he would support “broad-based tax relief,” including local property tax reduction, and focus on financial restraint and health care if elected to the Nebraska Legislature.

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Parris

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Parris (D), La Vista

A 47-year-old retired Air Force analyst, Master Sgt. Jeffrey Parris spent time in Spain, Texas, South Korea, and California before moving to Nebraska in 2002, where he became a cryptologic language analyst at Offutt. Since retiring in 2010, he has worked for Booz Allen Hamilton doing defense contracting. From 2014 to 2016, he was the co-chair for their Workforce Leadership council that was concerned with leadership and development, community partnerships and the environment. Parris and his wife, Diane, have four grown children.

If elected to the Nebraska Legislature, Parris wants to prioritize workforce development for middle class families and veterans, property tax relief, and strengthening funding for public schools.

District 16

Republicans: 57.5% – Democrats: 23.3% – Nonpartisan: 19.2%

Nebraska Legislative District 16

Click to enlarge.

Ben Hansen

Ben Hansen (R), Blair

Ben Hansen, a 36-year-old chiropractor and member of the Blair City Council, is seeking election in District 16, which includes Burt, Cuming and Washington Counties. Its current representative, Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, is barred from seeking re-election due to term limits. Hansen has served on the Blair City Council since being appointed to fill a vacancy in 2015. He is a board member for the Blair Chamber of Commerce, a board member for the LB 840 committee of Blair, and a member of the Blair Lions Club. Hansen graduated summa cum laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Hansen is the owner of Hansen Chiropractic Wellness Center in Blair, Blair Rent-It Center, and Heritage Barnwood Company. Originally from Schuyler, Nebraska, Hansen has been married since 2002 and has a one-year-old child.

If elected, Hansen has said he will support smaller government, less regulation, and lower taxes, particularly property taxes.

Chuck Hassebrook

Chuck Hassebrook (D), Lyons

62-year-old Chuck Hassebrook is a native of Platte Center, where his family has farmed since the 1800s. Hassebrook served as the executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons for 37 years. After that, he began working as Vice President of Project Development with Sandhills Energy in Valentine with responsibility for developing utility-scale wind and solar energy projects in rural communities. He served as a University of Nebraska system regent from 1994 to 2012. In 2014, Hassebrook ran for governor of Nebraska. He and his wife, Kate, have two grown sons.

Hassebrook’s priorities within the Nebraska Legislature would be to strengthen schools, lower property taxes and support good-paying jobs and small businesses.

District 18

Republicans: 41.6% – Democrats: 33.7% – Nonpartisan: 24.7%

Nebraska Legislative District 18

Click to enlarge.

Brett Lindstrom

Brett Lindstrom (R), Omaha

Running as an incumbent, 37-year-old Brett Lindstrom is a registered Republican who was first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014. He serves as the chair of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and also as a member of the Revenue Committee. Lindstrom is a financial adviser and a former member of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Husker football team, where he played from 1999 to 2003. He and his wife, Leigh, have three young children.

If elected to the Legislature once again, Lindstrom promises to focus on Nebraska’s tax system: favoring lower income tax rates and eliminating the inheritance tax and income tax on social security. He is also passionate about curbing the nationwide opioid crisis and job licensing reform.

Scott Winkler

Scott Winkler (D), Omaha

Scott Winkler, a 61-year-old Democrat, is the former accounting manager for the City of Omaha Finance Department. As a city accounting manager, he oversaw Omaha’s accounting operations within its finance department. Winkler’s activities in Omaha include volunteer engagement in anti-discrimination and inclusivity issues. Winkler was appointed to an Omaha Police Department committee that was responsible for administration of a federal grant for hate crimes education. Winkler was born and raised in Loomis, in south-central Nebraska, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Nebraska.

Winkler is running to create a better environment in Nebraska to promote economic development and provide more families and small businesses the necessary resources for their success. His priorities include creating equal opportunity for jobs, education and health care. If elected, Winkler says he will be an independent leader with a vision to provide more opportunities for our middle-class families and the most vulnerable.

Austin Hennrich

Austin Hennrich (D), Omaha

 

District 20

Republicans: 41.6% – Democrats: 35.2% – Nonpartisan: 23.2%

Nebraska Legislative District 20

Click to enlarge.

Jackie Collett

Jackie Collett (D), Omaha

Currently an Information Technology project manager, 37-year-old Jackie Collett was raised in Omaha and graduated from Northwest High School. She received the Pacesetter Leadership Scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and earned both her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and master’s degree in Public Administration from there. She spent 13 years working in nonprofits that specialize in low-income families, at-risk youth, drunken driving victims, and people with cystic fibrosis. Collett lived in Austin, Texas, for 8 years but then returned to Nebraska. She has also volunteered at the YMCA, Omaha Public Library, Hattie B. Munroe Pavillion, Austin Marathon, Nike Human Race, Lights. Camera. Help., Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, MiniDonations, Teammates, and Association of Fundraising Professionals. Collett served on the board of directors for Crime Victims First. Jackie lives in Loveland neighborhood with her fiancé, Craig.

If elected to the Nebraska Legislature, Collett is focused on universal health care, LGBTQ rights, economic development, the environment, criminal justice reform, and education.

Chris Anne Dienstbier

Chris Anne Dienstbier (D), Omaha

Chris Anne Dienstbier was born in Omaha, where she has lived here for all but five of her 49 years. She loves Omaha’s rich history and diverse culture. She has a son who attends Westgate Elementary.

She has pledged to work faithfully and diligently work for everyone in the district and has stated that compassion will be her moral compass when introducing and voting on legislation. She is running as a progressive Democrat. She has pledged to focus on universal healthcare, free childcare for low-income families, equality for minority and LGBTQIA communities, women’s health services, raising the minimum wage, making college tuition free, stopping predatory behavior of student loan collectors, combating climate change, ending separation of families due to current immigration policies, and strengthening Social Security.

John McCollister

John McCollister (R), Omaha

John S. McCollister is a 70-year-old Republican who was first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014. He is an Omaha native and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Business Administration. McCollister serves on the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee, as well as the Natural Resources Committee. He is the former executive director of the Platte Institute. Before that, he was president of McCollister & Co., a family manufacturing company, and the director of the Metropolitan Utilities District. In 2008, he ran for the Nebraska Public Service Commission. McCollister’s father, former Nebraska Congressman John Y. McCollister, represented the state in the 1970s. McCollister and his wife, Deborah, have three grown children.

McCollister’s priorities if he were elected to the Nebraska Legislature again are the state’s tax burdens, public sector pension reform and prison overcrowding.

District 22

Republicans: 60.7% – Democrats: 23.7% – Nonpartisan: 15.5%

Nebraska Legislative District 22

Click to enlarge.

Francis Kuehler

Francis Kuehler (D), Columbus

Registered Democrat Francis Kuehler is running for the spot that State Sen. Paul Schumacher currently holds. Kuehler is a 59-year-old firefighter and EMT and a former board member for Columbus Public Schools. He lived in Columbus up until two years ago, when he moved to Humphrey. Kuehler and his wife, Mary Pat (a nurse practitioner at Faith Regional in Norfolk), have five grown children.

If elected to the Nebraska Legislature, Kuehler will promote forging a compromise on funding for public education that seeks a balance between the interests of public education and property taxpayers. He is also prioritizing initiatives to tackle the problem of a lack of community-based services to treat mental health issues. Kuehler believes that providing better mental health services locally will help the state’s county jail and prison systems in the long run.

Kenneth Leischner

Kenneth Leischner (I), Columbus

68-year-old Kenn Leischner is a retired pastor seeking the District 22 seat in the Nebraska Unicameral. He is an ordained United Church of Christ Pastor. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of South Dakota and a graduate degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. He and his wife, Kathy (an administrative assistant), have been married for 48 years. They have three grown children—a son who works for the U.S. Postal Service in Omaha, a daughter who works as a family law attorney in Virginia, and a daughter who is a physician assistant in Omaha.

Leischner served for more than 20 years as an interim minister in Nebraska, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Tennessee. In this role he saw state legislatures deal with budget shortfalls, service cut-backs, education-funding problems, tax cuts, and tax increases. He says the experience offered him a view of what has worked and what did not prove valuable to the citizens of those states. As a Nebraska resident he has seen the Unicameral struggle with issues of tax-relief and budget shortages and is concerned that too much emphasis has been on cutting services, educational funding, and other necessary governmental functions. He believes tax-relief is an important issue, but it should not be the deciding factor in determining the future of the state. Leischner decided to seek election because of the shortage of progressive viewpoints and proposals in the Nebraska Legislature.

Mike Moser

Mike Moser (R), Columbus

66-year-old Mike Moser was mayor of Columbus for 12 years. Moser said he worked hard to build consensus among the city council members and the public during his time as mayor. Moser was defeated in the 2016 Columbus mayoral election. He ran for the Legislature in 2010, but lost to Senator Schumacher. Moser is a 1969 graduate for Scotus High School. He received an associate’s degree in speech communication from CCC-Columbus in 1971 and bachelor’s degree in speech communication from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1975. He previously worked as a community education computer instructor at CCC-Columbus. Moser and his wife, Jan, own and run Columbus Music, a downtown business selling musical instruments, music, and accessories. They have three grown children. Moser was a member of the Nebraska Crime Commission from 2007-2010. He has also served on the CCC Foundation Board and St. Bonaventure Parish Council.

Moser believes in “smaller government, fewer taxes, and more value for each tax dollar spent.” If elected, he wants to make Nebraska more competitive by lowering taxes on working families and seniors, as well as reducing property taxes and burdensome regulations on agriculture and businesses. His priorities also include helping to create more and higher paying jobs for our community and state, improve roads in and around the 22nd Legislative District with the completion of the expressway system, and protect the rights of the unborn.

Doug Oertwich

Doug Oertwich (R), Pilger

Doug Oertwich is a 54-year-old farmer running for State Sen. Paul Schumacher’s term-limited seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Oertwich was raised in Stanton County and serves on its County Planning Commission, the Thunder by the River Tractor Pull Board, and Stanton County Public Power District’s publicly elected board of directors. He was recently appointed to the grower advisory board for the Fremont Costco and Lincoln Premium Poultry Project, where he advises Costco on Nebraska farming practices and advocates for Nebraska farmers. Oertwich has served as a Nebraska Rural Electric Association Statewide Director and on the Nebraska Rural Electric Association Legislative Committee. He is assistant director for the Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pullers and a member of the Wisner Lions Club and Wisner Chamber of Commerce. He previously served on the Wisner Parks and Recreation Board and the Stanton County Fair Board. He has two children and three grandchildren.

Oertwich has said that if elected, he will prioritize lowering taxes, eliminating government red tape and promoting education and career training.

District 24

Republicans: 61.6% – Democrats: 21.3% – Nonpartisan: 17.1%

Nebraska Legislative District 24

Click to enlarge.

Mark Kolterman

Mark Kolterman (R), Seward

Mark Kolterman is running to be re-elected to the Nebraska Legislature. Kolterman is 66 years old and the owner and president of Kolterman Insurance Agency in Seward. He has held leadership roles in both the Nebraska Association of Health Underwriters and the Nebraska Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and served on the Seward County Economic Development Board, Seward Area Development Corporation, Seward Chamber, and the Southeast Nebraska Development District Board. He is currently a Diplomat with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Kolterman was first elected in 2014 and serves as the chair of the Retirement Systems Committee and is a member of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee. He and his late wife, Suzanne, have two grown daughters.

Kolterman’s priorities within the Legislature include health care, economic development, and pro-life issues.

Stephanie Nantkes

Stephanie Nantkes (D), Seward

68-year-old Stephanie Nantkes began her teaching career in Bee, Nebraska. She has several degrees from the University of Nebraska. Her husband, Dan Nantkes, is a recently retired Seward County Deputy Sheriff and a military veteran. Their daughter Danielle Conrad is a former state senator who was elected in 2006 and 2010. Nantkes served on the Seward School Board.

Nantkes says she is running because she cares deeply about the people in her community and will bring caring, common sense, and courage to the state legislature. She is a champion of liberal causes and a strong opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline.

District 26

Republicans: 31.9% – Democrats: 45.1% – Nonpartisan: 23.0%

Nebraska Legislative District 26

Click to enlarge.

Matt Hansen

Matt Hansen (D), Lincoln

Matt Hansen of Lincoln is once again running for the Nebraska Legislature as a registered Democrat. The 29-year-old was first elected in 2014. Hansen graduated from Lincoln Northeast High School and received his law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He currently works in nonprofit administration. In the Legislature, he has been a member of the Business and Labor Committee and the Judiciary Committee, as well as serving as vice chair of the Urban Affairs Committee. He is married to Jane.

Hansen’s focuses in the Legislature include supporting education for all students, supporting workers’ rights, promoting tax fairness, and investing in local infrastructure.

Bob Van Valkenburg

Bob Van Valkenburg (R), Lincoln

Van Valkenburg (who goes by “Van”) is a conservative community activist and retired senior military officer who runs a consulting business. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His career included work as a medical supply business owner, as well as in real estate holding and farm reorganization. His 31 years of military service included time on both active duty and reserve status, piloting a variety of aircraft. He is a member of Pheasants Forever and has been a sponsor of wheelchair basketball and sporting activities for individuals with disabilities. Van Valkenburg was a candidate for the Legislature in 2010 and 2014. He also previously ran for the State Board of Education in 2012, for Congress in 2004, and for a seat on the Lancaster County Board in 1996. He has previously lobbied for environmental and education legislation. He and his wife, Elaine, have four grown children and several grandchildren.

Van Valkenburg has said he will center on efforts to achieve property tax relief and promote government efficiency, as well as the high cost of attending the University of Nebraska.

District 28

Republicans: 61.6% – Democrats: 21.3% – Nonpartisan: 17.1%

Nebraska Legislative District 28

Click to enlarge.

Patty Pansing Brooks

Patty Pansing Brooks (D), Lincoln

Patty Pansing Brooks was first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014. She serves on the Education Committee and is vice chair of the Judiciary Committee. Pansing Brooks, who is 59 years old, has been the vice president and co-founder of Brooks, Pansing Brooks law firm in Lincoln since 1986. In 2009, she was the senior policy counsel and mayoral aide to Lincoln Mayer Chris Beutler. She has co-chaired a number of fundraising campaigns, including the $9.6 million campaign for Centennial Mall in Lincoln. Pansing Brooks has previously served on the boards of the Lincoln Parks Foundation, Family Service, and the Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln. She and her husband, Loel Brooks, have three grown children.

If re-elected to the Legislature, Pansing Brooks has said she will prioritize prison reform, child care, equal opportunity, and workers’ rights.

District 30

Republicans: 52.0% – Democrats: 27.2% – Nonpartisan: 20.8%

Nebraska Legislative District 30

Click to enlarge.

Myron Dorn

Myron Dorn (R), Adams

Myron Dorn is running for State Sen. Roy Baker’s spot in the Nebraska Legislature. Dorn is a 63-year-old farmer who works with his brothers, son, and nephew in the Firth and Adams area. He is chairman of the Gage County Board and has been on the board since 2010. He has also served on the Firth Co-op Board and on the Dorchester Co-op Board. Dorn and his wife, Julie (a nurse at Bryan East), have two grown children.

Dorn has said that if he is elected to the Legislature, he will focus on easing pressure on property taxes, roads, and economic development issues. He believes that elected officials “should treat people with respect and that you should treat people the way you want to be treated.”

Joe Murray

Joe Murray (R), Firth

Joe Murray is running for State Sen. Roy Baker’s spot in the Nebraska Legislature. Murray is a 52-year-old supervising auditor for Horizon Inventory Specialists. He is the former owner of a small cow-calf operation and current horse trainer, sportsman, and member of the National Rifle Association. Murray received his bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education from Union College before receiving his law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a member of the Lincoln Independent Business Association and has held leadership positions within the Lancaster County and Nebraska Republican parties. Murray and his wife, Sharron, have twin sons.

Murray’s priorities within the Legislature would include tax cuts (including property taxes), economic development for rural Nebraska, education, and the continued operation of the Beatrice State Developmental Center.

Don Schuller

Don Schuller (D), Wymore

After State Sen. Roy Baker announced he would not be seeking a second term in the Nebraska Legislature, Don Schuller of Wymore announced his candidacy. Schuller is a 61-year-old civil engineering technician and owner of a business that performs surveys and designs conservation projects. He also farms in Gage County between Wymore and Barneston and previously worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service for 30 years. Schuller is a member of the Wymore Fire Department Board, Barneston American Legion Post, and American Legion Riders Beatrice Post. He has also organized and conducted meetings on behalf of the Gage County Taxpayers Organization. He is married to Julie.

Schuller has said that if elected to the Legislature, he will prioritize the economic stability of family-owned farms and businesses in Nebraska, the state and local tax structure, and the conservation of soil, water, and other natural resources in the state.

District 32

Republicans: 51.4% – Democrats: 30.6% – Nonpartisan: 18.0%

Nebraska Legislative District 32

Click to enlarge.

Tom Brandt

Tom Brandt (R), Plymouth

Tom Brandt is a 58-year-old farmer and livestock feeder from Plymouth.  He earned a degree in Agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He is past chairman and a current member of the Southeast Nebraska Corn Growers and past chairman of the Jefferson County Republicans.  He served nine years on the board of directors for the Farmers Cooperative of Dorchester, is a past member of the Farm Credit Services of America Advisory Council, served as president and is actively involved in the Plymouth Improvement Association, and is currently chairman of First Trinity Lutheran Church.  Brandt and his wife Sandra have two grown children—a daughter in the Air Force currently on her second combat tour and a son who operates a custom farming company in Plymouth.

Brandt’s priorities in the legislature are property tax relief, fairness in school funding, rural economic development, and improved broadband across the rural areas of the state.

Laura Ebke

Laura Ebke (L), Crete

Seeking re-election to the Nebraska Legislature is registered Libertarian Laura Ebke of Crete. She was first elected in 2014 as a registered Republican. She serves as the chair of the Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Education Committee. The 55-year-old lawmaker is an adjunct professor at Doane College and previously served on the Crete School Board for more than 10 years. She chaired the Republican Liberty Caucus of Nebraska, which is an organization comprised of “Goldwater, Reagan and Paul Republicans” that “promote individual liberty and limited government within the Republican Party.” She and her husband, Dr. Russ Ebke (a family physician), have three children.

Ebke’s priorities in the Legislature include preserving gun rights, providing a free public education for all, cutting taxes and spending, and supporting pro-life initiatives.

Al Riskowski

Al Riskowski (R), Lincoln

Al Riskowski has been a farmer south of Lincoln for more than 30 years, raising corn and soybeans with his sons and cattle and vegetables with his daughter and son-in-law. He is the former executive director of the Nebraska Family Alliance and has lobbied for the conservative policy group. Riskowski is also a past member of the People’s City Mission board and Nebraska State Penitentiary Community Involvement Committee and the former co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking. Riskowski and his wife, Linda, have four grown children.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, former Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr, and U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry have all endorsed Riskowski for the Legislature. If elected, he promises to prioritize education, protecting Nebraska values like family, life, liberty and gun rights and finding solutions to issues like property taxes on agricultural land.

District 34

Republicans: 60.2% – Democrats: 22.6% – Nonpartisan: 17.2%

Nebraska Legislative District 34

Click to enlarge.

Curt Friesen

Curt Friesen (R), Henderson

Curt Friesen of Henderson is running to be re-elected to the Nebraska Legislature for the seat he was first elected to in 2014. During his tenure in the Legislature so far, the 62-year-old has chaired the Telecommunications and Transportation Committee and has been a member of the Revenue Committee. He is the former mayor of Henderson and a farm leader active in water issues. Friesen served as president of the Hamilton County Corn Growers, vice chair of the Nebraska Corn Board, and vice chair of the National Corn Growers Public Policy Action Team. He is also the past board chair of the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District. Friesen and his wife, Nancy, have four grown children.

Friesen’s priorities in the Legislature are property tax relief, rural economic development, strengthening agriculture, and investing in schools.

District 36

Republicans: 64.5% – Democrats: 22.2% – Nonpartisan: 13.3%

Nebraska Legislative District 36

Click to enlarge.

Matt Williams

Matt Williams (R), Gothenburg

Matt Williams is a fourth-generation banker and has been with his family’s bank in Gothenburg since 1973; he is currently the chairman and president. Williams received both his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Running for re-election, the 68-year-old serves on the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and on the Judiciary Committee. He was the 2013 chair of the American Bankers Association and a former board member and vice chair of the Nebraska Chamber. Williams and his wife, Susan, have two grown children.

If re-elected, Williams has said his priorities include the need to “work hard to create a positive environment for job growth and economic expansion” and that “tax policy and economic incentives are part of the answer.” He also said that he wants to help bind the “urban/rural divide.”

District 38

Republicans: 64.5% – Democrats: 19.8% – Nonpartisan: 15.7%

Nebraska Legislative District 38

Click to enlarge.

Michael Combs (D), Superior

Michael Combs, age 72, was born and raised on a farm near Superior. He is retired from a career spent working for the world’s largest cement company, during which he lived in Ohio and Fremont, Nebraska. He returned to Superior in 1994. He lives on an acreage with his wife, Sharon. They have four grown children.

He served two terms as a Nuckolls county commissioner. He intends to meet with voters to hear about the legislative issues of interest to his district.

Marsha Fangmeyer

Marsha Fangmeyer (D), Gibbon

Marsha Fangmeyer is a 65-year-old attorney running for the open seat being vacated by Senator John Kuehn. Fangmeyer grew up in Deshler as one of nine children. Her mother passed away when she was three. She went on to be the first in her family to graduate from the college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then UNL Law School. She has practiced law for 38 years and is presently a partner in the Kearney law firm of Fangmeyer, Aschwege, and Besse. Her public service includes a term as the President of the Nebraska State Bar Association in 2012-13. Her husband is Jim Wiest, who retired in 2011 as vice president for academic affairs at Hastings College. In 2016, she ran for the District 6 seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, finishing second to Paul Kenney of Amherst in her bid for the open seat.

She is running for the Legislature to be a strong advocate for rural Nebraska, with a focus on families, schools, healthcare, and meaningful property tax relief. Fangmeyer has said that “for too long the Nebraska Legislature has catered to lobbyists and the needs of Omaha and Lincoln while ignoring rural Nebraska.” Fangmeyer has also said that “rural Nebraska lacks a strong voice in the Nebraska Legislature and it seems like every day I hear of another economic development package or state funding dedicated to our urban centers of Lincoln and Omaha. As a State Senator I will wake up every day ready to fight for the needs of rural Nebraska.”

Dave Murman

Dave Murman (R), Glenvil

Dave Murman, a farmer from Glenvil, is seeking to represent District 38 in the Nebraska Unicameral.  Murman in a 1971 graduate of Sandy Creek High School.  He obtained a bachelor’s degree in agriculture with a minor in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He is a former Sandy Creek school board member, former EMT with Glenvil Fire & Rescue, and former president of the Nebraska State Dairy Association.  He is a LEAD Program graduate and member of the Adams County Farm Bureau and Nebraska Farm Bureau state legislative policy committee.  He is also a member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and an active member of the Hastings Evangelical Free Church.  He and his wife Kathy have been married for 40 years and have three children and four grandchildren.

Murman said, “As a third- generation farmer, I am fortunate to have grown up here, raised my family here, and benefited from working together in our community.  I feel an obligation to give back for the benefit of the next generation.”  His priorities are to lower property taxes while working for fair funding of schools and high-quality education.  He also wants to promote policies that support small businesses and new jobs that will encourage young people to stay in Nebraska and raise their families here.

Andrew Murphy (R), Amherst

46-year-old Andrew Murphy is a labor union official for the Teamsters. Since 2012, he has been a vice chair handling railroad track maintenance workers for Union Pacific. Prior to that worked in multiple capacities for Union Pacific. He grew up in Duncan, Nebraska, and graduated from Columbus High School. In 1997 he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As an undergraduate he spent time around the Legislature as an intern for then-Senator Jon Bruning, the Nebraska Municipal Public Power Pool, and the City of Omaha. He previously lived in Kansas City and St. Louis. He and his wife moved back to Amherst, where his wife is from, before their twin daughters entered school. His wife, Vicky Kenney, is a public defender in Hall County. Their twins attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Hastings CCC. Their third daughter is a student in Amherst Public Schools. He and his family are members of Kearney Evangelical Free Church.

Murphy describes himself as an advocate for workers. He is interested in water and natural resources issues. He is running to continue the conservative representation of the 38th district. He is pro-life and wants to protect quality public education.

Brian Thomas Osborn

Brian Thomas Osborn (D), Holdrege

Brian Thomas Osborn says he is “a bit different than most candidates you normally see running for the Nebraska Legislature in rural Nebraska.” He describes himself as a “working class guy” who has worked many jobs from a young age. He followed in his father’s and brother’s footsteps in joining the Navy, where he trained in avionics and took an assignment to Italy. He continued working in Italy after leaving the Navy developing commercial software and then working on communications equipment for the Air Force. He returned home to Holdrege for his 20-year class reunion and took employment as a sportswriter for the local newspaper. Later he worked for Allmand Bros. as an assistant production manager. He then enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, graduating in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in visual communications. While attending UNK, he worked in IT for the Fine Arts Department. He worked as a graphic designer in Kearney and then as a technical writer distilling complex information. He is now retired and enjoys occasional carpentry work. The 65-year-old gained local fame last year for displaying the American flag upside down on his porch. He said it was a political statement about President Trump. He has served as commander of the Martin-Horn American Legion Post 66. He has been with his high school classmate, Trish Sheffield, for more than 30 years.

Osborn believes his wide-ranging work experience and education and strong communication skills would make him an effective legislator. He has pledged to run a low-budget campaign. He favors legalization of hemp and medical cannabis, as well as legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana.

Ronald Johnson (R)

 

District 40

Republicans: 64.5% – Democrats: 22.2% – Nonpartisan: 13.3%

Nebraska Legislative District 40

Click to enlarge.

Tom Ferry

Thomas Ferry (R), Ponca

62-year-old Tom Ferry is a small businessman with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He began his Interstate Battery distribution business in 1981. He operates in four states and has done business in almost every community in District 40. Perry is a Coast Guard veteran who served many years as a Ponca volunteer Ponca Firefighter. He is a founding member and board member of the Missouri Outdoor Expedition Board, as well as a member of the American Legion. Ferry also completed two full terms as a member on the judicial nominating commission for the District and County Court. He has traveled the world on hunting expeditions and is a lifetime member of the NRA. Ferry made news in 2014 for hunting a male mountain lion in Dawes County. Ferry bid $13,500 at the Nebraska Big Game Society banquet and auction for the chance to hunt. Tom Ferry and his wife of more than 30 years, Bonnie, reside in Ponca in Dixon County.

Ferry believes we need to cut property taxes, lower regulations, and cut state spending.

Timothy Gragert

Timothy Gragert (R), Creighton

Timothy Gragert is a lifelong resident of Creighton and a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Agriculture with a degree in natural resources. He recently retired after 31 years with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, where he worked extensively with area natural resources districts.  He served with the U.S. armed forces as a MEDEVAC helicopter pilot, deploying four times to the Middle East.  He retired from the Army National Guard in September 2017 after serving in the military 40 years.  He is a lifetime member of the Creighton Veterans of Foreign Wars, has been a member of the Creighton Volunteer Fire Department for more than 25 years, and is currently serving on the board of education of Creighton Community Schools, a position he has held for more than 12 years and would resign from if elected to the legislature.

Gragert and his wife, Donna, have three children and three grandchildren.  Gragert said his 40 years of service in the military now contribute to his desire to serve Nebraska and the 40th District in the legislature.

Shane Greckel

Shane Greckel (R), Bloomfield

A fifth-generation Knox County farmer, Shane Greckel of Bloomfield is a 31-year-old Republican running for State Sen. Tyson Larson’s term-limited seat. Greckel studied Computer Programming at Northeast Community College before pursuing a degree in Computer and Systems Design at Mount Marty College. He is a member of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission. He is the former president and a current member of the Knox County Farm Bureau Board and serves on the State Legislative Policy Committee on the Nebraska Farm Bureau. Greckel is a life-long member of the National Rifle Association.

Greckel has said that his priorities include representing the needs of agriculture and rural businesses, comprehensive tax relief, addressing skyrocketing agricultural land valuations, eliminating burdensome government regulations, and emphasizing rural economic development.

Kurt Kube

Keith Kube (R), Crofton

Running for State Sen. Tyson Larsen’s term-limited spot in the Nebraska Legislature, Keith Kube is a farmer and rancher from northeast Nebraska. Kube graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and has since worked as a process engineer and as an international management consultant. He is currently the chief financial officer and a business analyst at Manufacturer’s Network Group. Kube also has experience in commercial real estate development and has authored two books. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Salvation Army and Rotary International in Wisconsin, was the Yankton Area Concert Association President, and was chairman of the LaCrosse Preservation Society in Wisconsin.

Kube has said he is a “fiscally conservative, pro-life NRA member.” He believes that government must be managed like a business and said that if elected to the Legislature, he wants to focus on investing taxes to reduce future expenses, changing the property tax in Nebraska and making sure laws are “fair, honest, sustainable and have integrity with the ultimate objective to make the world a better place.”

Michael Sobotka

Michael Sobotka (R), Inman

32-year-old Michael Sobotka grew up on a family farm south of Inman in Holt County and was homeschooled through high school.  He helped his dad and uncle with farming and ranching.  He joined the Nebraska Army National Guard at age 17 in 2003.  As a member of the 755th Chemical Company out of O’Neill, he was deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007.  After returning from Iraq, he was assigned with the 754th Chemical Company of Omaha, where he attained the rank of staff sergeant.  He received an honorable discharge in 2012, having served nine years.  He earned an associate degree in biology from Northeast Community College in Norfolk and then transferred to Chadron State College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in rangeland management in 2014.  He had several jobs throughout college involving ag and natural resources.  After college Michael returned home to Inman to take over his uncle’s farm and ranch, becoming the family’s fourth generation to work the land.

If elected to the Legislature, he would focus on reducing taxes and cutting state spending.  He also intends to work toward legislation protecting second amendment rights, including constitutional carry for all law-abiding Nebraskans.  He supports local control of our education system.  He is a pro-life Catholic who has pledged to work to protect the lives of Nebraska’s unborn citizens.

Julie Thomsen

Julie Thomsen (D), Wakefield

Julie Thomsen is a Quality Control Specialist for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. She has worked for the Pender and Wakefield DHHS offices. She graduated with an associate’s degree from Chadron State College in 1975 and a bachelor’s degree in 1996 from Wayne State College. She is a substitute paraeducator at the Wakefield School. Thomsen, 63, and her husband Kenny, a cattleman and farmer, each have two grown children.

Thomsen would like to see Medicaid expanded in Nebraska and would work to fix property taxes in the state. She has said, “As a resident of Dixon County I understand firsthand the desire of people in rural Nebraska have for access to quality health care and support for our public schools. We cannot continue to rely on local property taxes to fund these important priorities while the Legislature gives more and more state aid dollars to Lincoln and Omaha.”

District 42

Republicans: 57.1% – Democrats: 24.3% – Nonpartisan: 18.6%

Nebraska Legislative District 42

Click to enlarge.

Mike Groene

Mike Groene (R), North Platte

Mike Groene was first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014. The 61-year-old is the chair of the Education Committee and a member of the Revenue Committee. He is a sales manager for an agricultural equipment company and a board member of the Platte Institute. In the late 1990s, he organized the Western Nebraska Taxpayers Association. He previously worked to get a state spending limit petition question on the ballot in 2006. He and his wife, Barb, have two children.

Groene calls himself a “statewide advocate for open, transparent, and efficient government” and has said he will work to “champion local control, by seeking to eliminate state mandates, regulations, and excessive taxation.” He has questioned the value of Tax Increment Financing and economic development incentive programs. Groene will not accept “special interest money” for his campaign.

Judy Pederson

Judy Pederson (R), North Platte

Judy Pederson, a 57-year-old North Platte business owner, is running as a write-in candidate for Lincoln County’s legislative seat.  Pederson served eight years on the North Platte City Council.  She is on the North Platte Public Schools Shaping the Future committee, the mayor’s Housing Task Force, re-VISION Committee, Nebraska Commission on Housing and Homelessness, the Twin Platte Natural Resources District board, and is co-chair of the North Platte Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee.  Pederson and her husband David have six children (three each) and five grandchildren.  They purchased Pro Printing & Graphics and The Copy House in May of 2010.  Pederson’s previous background was in banking and property management.

Pederson said she works with a group that seeks out good candidates for various local and state races. Two other potential candidates for Legislative District 42 dropped out at the last minute, Pederson said, so she stepped in.  Pederson’s father-in-law, Don Pederson, who served in the Nebraska Legislature from 1996-2007, partially sparking her interest in running.  (According to Nebraska law, to win a spot on the general election ballot, write-in candidates must earn 5 percent of the total votes cast during the most recent gubernatorial or presidential election within the district they’re running to represent.  Pederson would need 5 percent of the total votes from the 2016 presidential election (805 write-in votes).  If she can achieve that, her name will go on the general election ballot.)

Pederson’s top issues are property taxes and education.  “I’ve been an active member of this community, listening and learning from people throughout Lincoln County,” Pederson has said.  “We all want the same things from our state government. We want safe neighborhoods, quality schools for our kids, good jobs and prosperous businesses that support those jobs.  We also want the ability to keep more of the money we work hard to earn. I’m running to bring our community’s values back to the state legislature.”

District 44

Republicans: 67.6% – Democrats: 16.6% – Nonpartisan: 15.8%

Nebraska Legislative District 44

Click to enlarge.

Dan Hughes

Dan Hughes (R), Venango

Dan Hughes was first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014. The 61-year-old is the chair of the Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. Hughes is a farmer and small business owner and former president of the Nebraska Wheat Growers Association. He was also a board member for the National Wheat Growers and has served on the Nebraska Ethanol Board, Chase County Farm Service Agency, and Grant/Perkins County School Board. He and his wife, Josie, have two grown children.

Hughes’s key issues in the Legislature are water policy and taxes—particularly property tax relief—and education.

Stephanie Malcolm

Stephanie Malcolm (I), Palisade

44-year-old Stephanie Malcolm is a teacher who is challenging incumbent Senator Dan Hughes.  She has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Chadron State College.  She is in her third year of teaching third grade at Wauneta-Palisade Schools.  She previously taught in Laramie, Wyoming.  She and her husband are both originally from McCook.  Her husband Brock works as a telecommunications technician for BWTelcom in Benkelman.  They own a small grocery store in Palisade and have three teenage children.

Malcolm decided to run for the Legislature because she has the time, energy, and desire to give back.  As an educator, education issues are very close to her heart.  Having previously worked in rural and economic development, she is also interested in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs in western Nebraska.

District 46

Republicans: 31.1% – Democrats: 42.1% – Nonpartisan: 26.8%

Nebraska Legislative District 46

Click to enlarge.

Matt Morfeld

Adam Morfeld (D), Lincoln

A 32-year-old Democrat first elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2014, Adam Morfeld serves as a member of the Education and Judiciary Committees. He is the executive director for Nebraskans for Civic Reform. He graduated from the University of Nebraska’s Law College and now serves on their Young Alumni Council. He also serves on the boards of the Daily Nebraskan student newspaper and a veteran’s advocacy group called Boot Straps and Beyond.

Morfeld is focused on “civic reform” in the Legislature, including voters’ rights, improving education standards, and providing a voice for working families. He has said he is also interested in educational opportunities for skilled labor and in cutting education costs.

District 48

Republicans: 54.2% – Democrats: 24.9% – Nonpartisan: 20.9%

Nebraska Legislative District 48

Click to enlarge.

John Stinner

John Stinner, Sr. (R), Gering

Running for re-election in the spot he was first elected to in 2014, John Stinner, Sr. of Gering is the chair of the Appropriations Committee. He is the president of Valley Bank and Trust Company. Stinner served as chairman of the Nebraska Bankers Association in 2013 and was once president of the Gering School Board. He also played for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s national championship football teams in 1970 and 1971. The 66-year-old and his wife, Rita, have two grown children.

Stinner’s priorities in the Legislature are on the state budget, taxes, economic growth, water issues, education, and creating “good paying jobs.”