2020 NEBRASKA LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES
The primary election was held on May 12, 2020. The top two vote-getters from each legislative district (regardless of party) advance to the November 3rd 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 1 (Slama)
Republicans: 54.8% – Democrats: 25.0% – Libertarians: 1.0% – Nonpartisan: 19.2%
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Julie Slama (R)
Julie Slama, appointed by Governor Pete Ricketts prior to the 2019 legislative session, is running to keep her spot in the Legislature. Slama, 23, is from Peru. Slama received a degree in political science from Yale University and is enrolled at the University of Nebraska College of Law. As a Senator, Slama is on the Agriculture Committee, the Business and Labor Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. During her first legislative session she passed legislation to reform Nebraska’s civics education statutes and to address human trafficking. She was named the 2019 Young Republicans National Legislator of the Year.
Slama worked as Press Secretary for Governor Ricketts’ re-election campaign, as a paraprofessional for Auburn Public Schools, and as an assistant manager and lifeguard at Auburn Municipal Pool.
Slama has said she will continue to focus on “property tax relief, state funding for schools and roads, improved rural broadband access and more economic opportunities across the district.”
Janet Palmtag (R)
Janet Palmtag, 58, is running for the legislative seat in District 1. Palmtag is a realtor and the past president of the Nebraska Realtors Association. She and her husband John own and operate several small businesses, including J.J. Palmtag Real Estate with offices in Nebraska City, Auburn and Rock Port, MO; a motel; and convenience store.
She served as a Commissioner on the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission, a Commissioner for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, a board member of the Nebraska City Veterans Building Project and the Brownville Concert Series. She was a past member of St. Mary’s hospital foundation, Nebraska City Park board, Nebraska City Airport Authority and airport zoning board, and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for children).
Palmtag was born and raised in Nebraska City and graduated from Lourdes Central Catholic School. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She and her husband have three grown sons and two young grandchildren.
Her campaign is focused on property tax reform and relief, helping agriculture, strengthening small rural businesses, and addressing the need for rural broadband and workforce housing. She is endorsed by former Governor Dave Heineman and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
Dennis Schaardt (R)
Dennis Schaardt, 53, is running for District 1’s seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Schaardt is the owner of Den’s Country Meats in Table Rock. He purchased the locker at age 19 after working for the previous owner who wanted to exit the business. He and his wife, Kim, have worked together in the business, along with the help of their three children. The business began with a small processing floor and a few pieces of equipment serving the town of Table Rock with custom processing but has grown over the years to become a USDA-inspected plant with award-winning sausages, retail store, and a quick stop gas station.
Schaardt has served as Mayor of Table Rock, Pawnee County Commissioner, and Fire Chief for the Table Rock Volunteer Fire Department. He has also served on the Pawnee County Ag Society and Pawnee County 4-H council. He was also the president of both the Nebraska and American Association of Meat Processors.
Schaardt has said he will work to grow local economies to create more jobs and improve local infrastructure. He also says, “We need to lower our property taxes while still being able to fund education expenses to help cultivate the next generation of leaders for our community.”
Mike Powers (D)
Mike Powers, 58, of Palmyra is running as a write-in candidate for the District 1 seat in the Legislature, joining three Republicans as the only Democratic candidate in the nonpartisan race. He is a sixth-generation Otoe County resident.
Powers is a manufacturing drafter (making blueprints for fabricators) for Mapes Industries in Lincoln. He previously farmed until he was 37 and then started a new career. He graduated from Palmyra High School and has an associate degree in graphic design from Southeast Community College and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. He previously served as a Palmyra-Bennet school board member from 1995-2011 while his children attended school there. He volunteers on his local cemetery board. Powers has two grown children and two young grandchildren.
This will be Powers’ third attempt at the seat, having run in 2000 against a two-term incumbent, and in 2004 in a field of six for the open seat. After seeing that three Republicans were the only candidates who filed, he decided to run again to give voters a choice. He is dismayed by the increasing partisanship at both the national and state level. If elected, he would support local property tax reduction delivered through increased state aid to schools. He would also like to address the ongoing depopulation of rural areas, supports transportation and broadband deployment as means of economic development, favors increasing funding for the University. He is pro-choice and critical of the state’s delay in Medicaid expansion.
District 3 (Blood)
Republicans: 42.1% – Democrats: 28.7% – Libertarians: 1.8% – Nonpartisan: 27.4%
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Carol Blood (D)
Carol Blood, 58, is running for re-election after beating incumbent Senator Tommy Garrett for the seat in 2016. Blood is a business consultant in Bellevue. She formerly was a CEO at La Vista Chamber of Commerce. She graduated from Adams Central High School and attended Metropolitan Community College.
Blood served on the Bellevue City Council from 2008-16. She serves as a chair on Bellevue Farmers Market board. She also previously served as Bellevue Public Safety Foundation Chair and on the Bellevue Police Citizens Advisory Council. She and her husband, Joseph, have three children and nine grandchildren.
Blood serves on the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee; Agriculture Committee; and General Affairs Committee. During her time in the Legislature, she has focused on making Nebraska a more “military friendly” state and has passed several health care compact bills.
Blood’s priorities are to “continue to remove hurdles to employment and create better job opportunities” while working to “maintain Nebraska’s strong education system” and “find ways to balance the current tax system while generating additional revenue sources that do not come out of the taxpayers’ pockets.”
Rick Holdcroft (R)
66-year-old Rick Holdcroft is challenging Senator Carol Blood for the District 3 seat in the Legislature. Holdcroft is a retired Navy captain residing in Bellevue. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from University of Nebraska-Lincoln through the ROTC program. Holdcroft served in the U.S. Strategic Command, where he was an analyst and later the Director of the Global Strike Division. In retirement, he was on the U.S.S. Omaha Commissioning Committee, working to raise funds for the celebratory events around the commissioning ceremony.
He has been president of the Bellevue Rotary Club and the State Air Force Association and has served as president of the Ak-Sar-Ben and Lincoln chapters of the Association.
He has been married for 43 years to Mary Jo, a middle school math and science teacher at St. Matthew’s in Bellevue. They have five children, four of whom have served as commissioned officers in the military, and nine grandchildren.
Holdcroft’s priorities are cutting property taxes and military retirement taxes, defending the unborn, and supporting military members.
District 5 (McDonnell)
Republicans: 24.9% – Democrats: 47.8% – Libertarians: 1.6% – Nonpartisan: 25.7%
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Mike McDonnell (D)
Mike McDonnell is vying to keep his place in the Legislature representing District 5. McDonnell, 54, is a 1984 graduate of Gross High School. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an associate degree in fire protection technology, and a master’s degree in public administration from Bellevue University. He is a second-generation Omaha firefighter who served as a firefighter for the Omaha Fire Department for 24 years, as well as six years as the Omaha Fire Chief. He is the President of the Omaha Federation of Labor AFL-CIO and has been a labor educator at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He resides in Omaha with his wife Amy. They have one son.
McDonnell is a member of the Appropriations Committee. He ran for Legislature with a focus on “providing good public safety, quality public education, and well paying jobs.”
Senator McDonnell was elected with 70% of the vote in 2016, defeating Gilbert Ayala.
Gilbert Ayala (R)
Gilbert Ayala, 50, will be facing Mike McDonnell for a second time to represent District 5 in the Nebraska Legislature.
Ayala, who calls himself a “strong conservative,” said he doesn’t like that the Legislature is nonpartisan and wishes party affiliation were included on ballots.
Ayala wants to cut spending and give the money back to taxpayers. He is opposed to medical marijuana and disagrees with U.S. Supreme Court rulings on abortion and legalizing same-sex marriage. “Democrats are opposed to our values, and Republicans are afraid to defend them,” said Ayala. “I’ll be a strong vocal proponent talking about those issues.”
District 7 (Vargas)
Republicans: 21.3% – Democrats: 48.2% – Libertarians: 2.0% – Nonpartisan: 28.5%
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Tony Vargas (D)
Tony Vargas, 35, is running to keep his spot in the legislature representing District 7. He is the Executive Director of the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance. He attended the University of New York to receive his bachelor’s degree and Pace University for his master’s degree. He was previously a public school teacher and a member of the Omaha Public School Board. He is on the board of the New Leaders Council and on the Nebraska Children’s Home Society board. He resides in Omaha with his wife, Lauren, who is the Executive Director of the newly formed Education Rights Counsel. They welcomed a daughter to their family in 2019.
Vargas is on the Appropriations Committee and is Vice Chair of the Executive Board. He says he has helped to fashion “a budget that prioritized Nebraska’s working families through funding for education, affordable and workforce housing, and health care for the most vulnerable in our communities.” He says he will continue to “stand up for small businesses and entrepreneurs and fight for access to affordable health care and strong public schools.”
Senator Vargas was elected with 62% of the vote in 2016, defeating former Republican Senator John Synowiecki, who held the seat from 2002-2008.
Jorge Sotolongo (R)
31-year-old Jorge Sotolongo has filed to challenge Senator Tony Vargas for the District 7 legislative seat. Sotolongo has lived in the district eight years and has been associated with it since he was a child, as his father practiced medicine on South 24th Street and he would work and volunteer in the community in the summers. Both of his parents are physicians. His family immigrated to the area when he was two. He says he understands the diverse legislative district and speaks Spanish and French as well as English.
Sotolongo has a Bachelor of Arts in biology and French from St. Louis University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Sotolongo is a commercial real estate executive, working as a vice president of NAI NP Dodge Real Estate with a focus on small-business and urban renewal projects. He was previously a property manager for S&R Development. He has been on Mayor Stothert’s millennial advisory committee for the past two years, working to provide input and increase civil engagement of millennials in Omaha. He is married to Joanna, a program manager at a local tech company. He and his wife recently had a baby daughter.
He says he’ll do everything in his power to promote education, the creation of good jobs, small business, and family values. He is interested in issues impacting immigration and the immigrant community.
District 9 (Howard, Term-Limited)
Republicans: 24.9% – Democrats: 47.5% – Libertarians: 1.8% – Nonpartisan: 25.8%
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Mark Vondrasek (D)
Mark Vondrasek, 28, is a self-described “queer socialist with a working-class attitude” who is hoping to capture District 9’s legislative seat. Vondrasek works as a bicycle mechanic and field technician for Heartland B-cycle, a bike share non-profit. He has been involved in supporting bike-friendly and other transit policies, supporting intercity bus routes and commuter trains. He rides his bicycle year-round in Omaha and does not own a car. He is involved in Omaha Tenants United, a tenants’ rights group that educates tenants about the law and works to fight against local slumlords. He also actively works with the Nebraska Democratic Socialists of America.
Vondrasek lives in midtown Omaha, where he grew up in a family that was active in hunting and the outdoors. He is an Eagle Scout and graduate of Omaha Central High School. His mother served in the Air Force for nearly 27 years. His father worked as an Omaha Police Officer. His grandfather was a judge in Omaha.
Vondrasek has said he will fight for health care, the environment, and regular workers.
Marque Snow (D)
Marque Snow, 31, from Omaha, seeks the legislative seat for District 9. Snow is president of the Omaha Public Schools board, which he was first elected to in 2013. He works as the program director at the Nebraska Center for Workforce Development, a nonprofit focused on creating opportunities for Omaha’s young people to gain exposure to and pursue careers in the trades. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of South Dakota. Born into a military family, he graduated from Seoul American High School in South Korea. He moved to Omaha in 2011 with his husband.
Snow says he plans to continue his work to improve our public schools and ensure all of our kids are receiving the education they deserve. He says he is proud of his union experience and will fight for working families and stand with small businesses to ensure that we are building a place where talented Nebraskans want to stay to raise their families.
John Cavanaugh (D)
John Cavanaugh, brother of Senator Machaela Cavanaugh and son of former U.S. House Representative John Cavanaugh, is running to represent central Omaha in the Nebraska Legislature. He is vying for Senator Sara Howard’s spot in District 9. 39-year-old Cavanaugh is an assistant public defender for Douglas County.
A 1999 graduate of Creighton Prep High School, Cavanaugh received a bachelor’s degree in politics from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He received his Juris Doctorate and master’s degree in environmental policy from the Vermont Law School. He previously worked as an aide to U.S. Senator Ben Nelson. He also worked in Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey’s office, as well as on his re-election campaign.
Cavanaugh serves on the Board of Directors of Mode Shift Omaha, which does transit advocacy. He resides in the Aksarben/Elmwood Park Neighborhood with his wife Kakie McGill, who is a cyber security engineer for Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab working out of an office at USSTRATCOM. Together they have four young children. They are members of Saint Margaret Mary Parish.
Cavanaugh says, “I have seen the cost to our community when we do not support education, fail to create job opportunities, eliminate affordable housing options, ignore sustainable transportation options, and deny drug and mental health treatment. These failures harm individuals and hurt our entire community. In the Legislature, I will work to ensure our laws and investments reflect our shared values of respect for the dignity of all the members of our community.”
District 11 (Chambers, Term-Limited)
Republicans: 10.1% – Democrats: 68.2% – Libertarians: 1.1% – Nonpartisan: 20.6%
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Terrell McKinney (D)
Terrell McKinney, 29, has earned the endorsement of Senator Ernie Chambers to take over his position for District 11. McKinney resides in North Omaha. He studied sports business management and earned an undergraduate degree from Maryville University in St. Louis. He received a master’s degree in business administration from Midland University and now attends Creighton Law. Terrell worked for Nebraska Appleseed as a hunger action advocate in 2018 and 2019. He is a two-time state wrestling champion for Omaha North and currently coaches wrestling at Omaha North High School and Ready RP Nationals Wrestling. McKinney is on the board of Black Men United, is a member of the Nebraska Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, and is on the board of Policy Research and Innovation, a nonprofit focusing on policy issues and local community events. He has a nine-year-old daughter.
Some issues of interest for McKinney are economic development for his district, criminal justice reform, education, and health care access. He hopes to bridge the gap between rural and urban Nebraska in addressing policy issues.
Dennis Womack (D)
Dennis Womack, 67, is running for the District 11 seat in the Legislature. Womack recently retired from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics collecting data on consumer pricing. He worked there in 2018 and 2019. He previously worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce Census Bureau. He was also previously employed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services as an employee and as a contractor.
He was born and raised in Nebraska but moved to California in high school to play baseball, graduating from San Bernardino High School. He is married to Terry Rogers-Womack, who works as a recruiter for Fiserv. They have three sons, 12 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.
Womack was appointed in 2004 to the election post of deputy Douglas County Election Commissioner by then-Governor Mike Johanns but was removed two years later after changing his registration to Republican. By law, the chief deputy must be from a different political party from the office head.
In recent years, he has run unsuccessfully for the Metropolitan Community College Board of Directors and twice lost races for the Omaha City Council. He placed behind Brenda Council in a 2008 run for the District 11 legislative seat and was runner-up to Chris Rodgers in the 2004 Democratic primary race for Douglas County Board.
Womack’s priorities are addressing poverty, workforce development, and education, including pension plan solvency.
Fred Conley (D)
Fred Conley is running for Legislature in District 11. Fred is the Enterprise Zone Coordinator with the Greater Omaha Workforce Development. He is a graduate of Omaha North High School. After high school, he entered the U.S. Air Force and returned to Omaha as a sergeant. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Nebraska in Omaha and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law.
He is presently the Vice Chair of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board. In 1981, he became the first African American to serve on the Omaha City Council, after Senator Chambers helped to spearhead the effort to change council representation to include district representatives. In 1988, Conley made another political first by becoming the city’s first African American acting mayor when Mayor Bernie Simon died in office. He also previously served as Chair of the Metropolitan Community College Board and was a member of the Omaha City Council and Omaha Housing Authority board. He was also on the board of Omaha Small Business Network Board and the Butler-Gast YMCA. He and his wife Teresa have lived in the district for more than 40 years, and they have three children.
Conley has said that he will oppose proposed voter ID bills and to work to find ways to encourage people to be involved in the political process and vote, introducing legislation that makes it easier for people to register and vote.
Cornelius Williams (D)
Cornelius Williams, 56, is in the race for District 11’s spot in the Legislature. He is an adjunct professor teaching physics at Metro Community College in Omaha. He was elected four years ago to serve on the coordinating council of the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties for subdistrict 2. He serves as an executive committee member of the Nebraska Democratic Party’s Black Caucus. He is active in his church.
He is a graduate of Central High School in Omaha. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Stanford University, a Master of Science degree from Texas A&M University, and a Ph.D. in physics from Michigan State University.
If elected, he plans to have a local office in the district to serve constituents. He would like to address the economic distress of his district, revitalize the area, and work to bring more people above the poverty line and decrease incarceration through increased employment. He recognizes the need to help people adapt to the changing gig and service-oriented economic. He would also like to address property taxes.
Teela A. Mickles (D)
Teela Mickles, 71, is running to represent District 11 in the Nebraska Legislature. She is a native of Omaha, has five children, 40 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. She is a member of the Brian/Fisher Family, the largest registered black family in the state of Nebraska, which has celebrated more than 100 years of family reunions. She has an associate degree in chemical dependency counseling from Metro Community College. She is the Founder/CEO of Compassion In Action Inc., a faith-based, non-profit organization serving individuals in the Nebraska State Correctional facilities and families affected by incarceration, providing re-entry preparation, personal validation and forgiveness, and community connections.
Mickles wrote the column, “A Tip from Teela” on spirituality and encouragement, for the no-longer-published “Go-Ahead” magazine for 28 years. She is a member of the Mayor’s Citizen Complaint Review Board, a pastor on staff at Mission Church, and author of the book, “What If?” written from the perspective of a newly born baby forced into a traumatic environment. She takes pride in her service in the community.
Mickles believes her district can work together to reduce violence and crime in the neighborhoods and criminal recidivism, breaking negative social, economic, racial, cultural, and generational cycles. She would like to address legislative issues that impact these cycles and the prison population.
John Sciara (R)
John Sciara is running again to represent District 11 in the Legislature. He unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2016, losing to Senator Ernie Chambers, 18% to 82%. He later unsuccessfully challenged Senator Chambers’ residency, claiming he actually lived in Bellevue and not in the north Omaha legislative district. A special seven-member legislative committee ruled 7-0 to reject the claim after hearing from both sides on the challenge. During the hearing, Sciara represented himself, questioning water usage at the home and testifying that he had driven by the home at various hours of the day and night without seeing evidence that someone was in the house.
He has studied political science at Creighton University and had Senator Sue Crawford as a professor. He is semi-retired and previously worked as an insurance salesman. He is a 25-year veteran of the Air Force and Army, having served two tours in Iraq and Kuwait. He served active duty and as part of a reserve unit based in Omaha. He and his wife Glorious have three children.
He has identified economic development as a top legislative priority, saying, “North Omaha needs private development to raise the living conditions of the community.”
Gwen Easter (I)
Gwen Easter, 50, is running for the District 11 spot in the Legislature. She was born and raised in north Omaha. She is the founder and CEO of Safe Haven Community and Safe Haven Preschool Child Care. She is certified in dyslexia training. Easter was appointed by Governor Pete Ricketts to be a member of the Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council, working to represent providers.
She was motivated to run because of the child care businesses forced out of business because of the partnerships made with the Department of Education where small businesses cannot compete with the free child care offered. Easter’s priorities are affordable housing, sustainable employment, business and job training, education, and juvenile justice.
District 13 (Wayne)
Republicans: 23.9% – Democrats: 52.3% – Libertarians: 1.2% – Nonpartisan: 22.6%
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Justin Wayne (D)
Justin Wayne, 40, is running unopposed to keep his spot in the Legislature for District 13. He is a 1998 graduate of Omaha Northwest High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Creighton University in 2002 and his Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law in 2005. He is an attorney practicing criminal defense and juvenile law. He is also the CEO of Trailblazers Constructors, LLC. He served on the Omaha School Board from 2011-2017 and was president from 2013-2014. He and his wife Katie, also an attorney, have two young children.
He is the chair of the Urban Affairs Committee, a post he was elected to as a freshman Senator. He has led the Legislature in the number of bills introduced in the past two sessions, covering topics from criminal sentencing reform to legalizing sports betting. He has championed hemp legalization and economic development in “extremely blighted” areas.
Senator Wayne was elected with 51% of the vote in 2016, defeating fellow Democrat Jill Brown.
District 15 (Walz)
Republicans: 50.5% – Democrats: 26.4% – Libertarians: 1.3% – Nonpartisan: 21.8%
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Lynne Walz (D)
Lynne Walz is seeking re-election to represent District 15. She was first elected in 2016, defeating incumbent Republican David Schnoor with 51% of the vote. Walz resides in Fremont with her husband, Chris, a radio station manager. They have three children and four grandchildren. Walz is a realtor and a former teacher and care provider to people with developmental disabilities. She graduated from Midland Lutheran College. Walz is a member of Salem Lutheran Church in Fontanelle, where she’s involved in children’s ministry and vacation bible school and is a past church council member. She also is a former board member of the Low Income Ministry, Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, Fremont Bergan School Board, and Fremont Board of Realtors.
Walz serves on the Health and Human Services Committee and the Education Committee. In her first term, Walz worked to raise awareness of the need for more mental health services in schools and addressing problems with assisted living facilities. She passed legislation to improve protections and quality of life for people with disabilities and provided additional funding for nursing homes. She says we need to explore business incentives that help entrepreneurs and small businesses in rural Nebraska, promote additional affordable housing, secure accessible high-speed internet for our communities, and find a property tax relief proposal that doesn’t raise other taxes for all Nebraskans.
David Rogers (R)
David Rogers is running for the District 15 position in the Legislature. He is the former County Republican Party Chair and is a U.S. Air Force veteran. Rogers is now the owner and president of Professional HPP Services and is an Adjunct Professor at Bellevue University in cyber security. He received his bachelor’s degree in electronics management from Southern Illinois University and received a master’s degree in computer systems management from Creighton University. He resides in Fremont with his wife, and they have 6 children.
His major priority is property tax relief “by advocating for policies that stimulate growth, create jobs, and promote spending reductions.” Some other issues of interest are helping veterans with low retirement pay and having to travel for medical appointments. Rogers also sees the importance in bettering our education system.
District 17 (Albrecht)
Republicans: 41.1% – Democrats: 36.4% – Libertarians: 1.0% – Nonpartisan: 21.5%
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Joni Albrecht (R)
Joni Albrecht is running to keep her spot in the Nebraska Legislature for District 17. Albrecht farms with her husband and used to work at Huber Chevrolet. She resides near Emerson with her husband Mike. They have 6 children and 12 grandchildren. Albrecht served on the Papillion City Council for eight years and the Sarpy County Board for four years. Albrecht is a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and the Women’s Legion Auxiliary.
She serves on the Natural Resources, State-Tribal Relations, and Transportation and Telecommunications Committees. She is also a member of the Nebraska Economic Development Task Force. Her priorities are “pro-life bills, protecting our second amendment rights, ensuring our children receive a quality education, and fighting to bring meaningful property tax relief.”
Sheryl Lindau (D)
Sheryl Lindau is running for the District 17 seat in the Legislature. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in political science and later received a master’s degree in public administration. She was the mayor of Wayne from 1994 to 2004. Lindau previously owned a retail clothing store in Wayne. She worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands in Omaha between 2007 and her retirement in 2015. She moved back to Wayne after retirement. She served as a Big Sister for over eight years. Lindau previously served on the Nebraska State College Board of Trustees and as the former president of the Nebraska League of Municipalities. She raised two children in Wayne, a son and daughter who now both live out of state.
Her priorities are education, taxes, economic development, and health care. She is particularly concerned about access to health care, including mental health services, and wants to ensure that rural hospitals remain strong.
District 19 (Scheer, Term-Limited)
Republicans: 59.3% – Democrats: 20.9% – Libertarians: 0.9% – Nonpartisan: 18.9%
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Mike Flood (R)
Former Senator Mike Flood, 44, is running unopposed to reclaim his seat in the Legislature from when he last served in 2013. Flood was the Speaker of the Legislature for six of his eight years in the Nebraska Unicameral. Flood received a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame University and his Juris Doctor from University of Nebraska College of Law. He and his wife Mandi have two children. Flood is an attorney and runs News Channel Nebraska through Flood Communications. He serves on the board of directors for Invest Nebraska and Teammates Mentoring Program. Flood is also the chairman of the board of directors for Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha.
While in the Legislature, Flood advocated for the sanctity of life, tax relief, and commandeered the Keystone XL Pipeline Special Session and CIR reform package. He was an advocate for pro-life policies and capital punishment. For the upcoming term, Flood would like to focus on improving Nebraska’s economy.
District 21 (Hilgers)
Republicans: 40.4% – Democrats: 32.9% – Libertarians: 1.6% – Nonpartisan: 25.1%
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Mike Hilgers (R)
Mike Hilgers, 41, is running to keep his District 21 spot in the Legislature. Hilgers graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and later acquired a Juris Doctor from University of Chicago Law School. He is an attorney at his own firm, Hilgers Graben, which has been named to the Inc. 5000 for its growth three years in a row. He lives in Lincoln with his wife, Heather, who is also an attorney, and their four children: Alice, Elsie, Clara Jane, and Michael Jr.
He serves as the chairman of the Legislature’s Executive Board. He is also on the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. Hilgers’ priorities are to increase access to health care, transportation innovation, lowering taxes, cutting regulations, and “developing and seizing growth opportunities” for the state.
Senator Hilgers was elected with 57% of the vote in 2016, defeating Democrat Larry Scherer. Hilgers ran for election to the office of Attorney General in 2014, coming in third in the four-candidate Republican primary. He also ran in the 2012 election for Legislature but was narrowly defeated by incumbent Senator Ken Haar.
Joseph Couch (D)
Joseph Couch, 26, is running for the District 21 seat in the Legislature. Couch graduated from Doane University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He works as a flight operations specialist for the Nebraska Army National Guard. Couch is a member of the Nebraska Secular Democrats and Lincoln Atheist organizations.
His priorities are climate change, food security, taxes, and voting rights and systems.
Brodey Weber (D)
Brodey Weber, 22, is running for the District 21 seat in the Legislature. Weber expects to graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and communication studies. He is the Vice President of Client Relations for Mid America Casing Supply, LLC in Airpark (a northwest Lincoln neighborhood). He was appointed to Lincoln’s Keno/Human Services Advisory Board. He is on the board of directors for Highlands Neighborhood Association and the Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties. He is also the assistant debate coach at Lincoln Southwest High School.
Weber recently served as a grassroots organizer opposing the large-scale poultry operation near Raymond and has been involved in several other community efforts to impact local policy and state law. In 2018, Weber was honored for his work on Legislative Bill 988 with State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks (related to affirmative consent with regard to sexual assault), receiving the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Communication Studies Department Community Impact Award. His priorities in the Legislature are access to quality education, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction, common sense criminal justice reform, and retaining young professionals through economic development.
District 23 (Bostelman)
Republicans: 55.8% – Democrats: 26.0% – Libertarians: 1.0% – Nonpartisan: 17.2%
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Bruce Bostelman (R)
Bruce Bostelman, 57, is running to keep his District 23 seat in the Legislature. He served in the United States Air Force for twenty years and attended the Community College of the Air Force. Bostelman later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management from Bellevue University and is currently a farmer. He is married to Jan Uden, an engineer, and they have two children. He is the advisory board president of Nebraska Cooperative Development Center and is on the board of Heartland Nuts ‘N More and Woody Florals Nonstock Cooperative.
Bostelman serves on the Natural Resources and Transportation & Telecommunications Committees. Bostelman’s priorities are property tax relief, pro-life policies, and protection of the Second Amendment. Bostelman champions legislation supporting EMS services in rural Nebraska and is an outspoken opponent of wind energy being constructed in the state.
Helen Raikes (I)
Helen Raikes, 76, is running for the District 23 seat in the Legislature. Raikes grew up on a farm in rural Iowa. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University. She also received a master’s degree in human development, and she earned a Ph.D. in child development from Iowa State. She was married to the late former Senator Ron Raikes, who served in the Legislature from 1998-2008. She has three children and five grandchildren. Her family has farmed in Saunders County for over a century and operates Raikes Beef in Ashland. Raikes previously worked for the Gallup Organization and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She’s been a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln since 2005, teaching early childhood education, and will retire in May 2020.
Her priorities in the Legislature are property tax relief and agriculture, quality education, and to help rural communities and small businesses thrive.
District 25 (Geist)
Republicans: 50.2% – Democrats: 29.8% – Libertarians: 1.0% – Nonpartisan: 19.0%
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Suzanne Geist (R)
Senator Suzanne Geist, 58, is running to reclaim her seat in the Legislature. Geist was first elected in 2016. Geist received a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is a small business owner with a background in sales in pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and fashion. Geist is a volunteer with Clinic With A Heart and the American Heart Association and is active at the Lincoln Berean Church and Mercy City Church. She and her husband Mark, a financial advisor, have been married for more than 35 years and have three children and five young grandchildren.
Geist serves on the Natural Resources Committee and the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee. She has prioritized legislation to speed road construction and to ban dismemberment abortion. Her priorities include fostering a positive business climate to create better jobs, providing tax relief, and increasing government efficiency.
Senator Geist was elected with 56% of the vote in 2016, defeating Democrat Jim Gordon.
Stephany Pleasant (D)
Stephany Pleasant, 30, is running to represent District 25 in the Legislature. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and German from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Pleasant also received her Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law. She previously worked as an AmeriCorps service member, teaching college prep classes to first-generation, low-income students at Omaha North High School. She began her legal career as a staff attorney for Disability Rights Nebraska. Pleasant is currently a staff attorney for Student Legal Services at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
She would like to improve health care access and has called on the administration to implement Medicaid expansion without restrictions. She says she has first-hand knowledge of how a medical emergency can upend a family and put them into debt. In 2017, she had to take out a personal loan to pay the medical bills of her husband, who had a stroke. They had insurance, but it was not enough to keep bills from going into collections. She would also like to strengthen economic and educational opportunities. She would also like to address prison overcrowding through justice system reforms, not by building more facilities.
District 27 (Wishart)
Republicans: 35.5% – Democrats: 38.2% – Libertarians: 1.8% – Nonpartisan: 24.5%
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Anna Wishart (D)
Anna Wishart is up for re-election for District 27. Wishart, 35, works as Director of Partnerships at Beyond School Bells, a coalition with the mission to improve access to quality after-school and summer school programming for Nebraska’s youth, especially youth in rural and underserved communities. She was raised in Lincoln and received a degree in film studies from Middlebury College in Vermont. Wishart resides in Lincoln with her husband, Joe Coleman, who previously worked as a Lincoln police officer and now works for Lincoln Public Schools. The couple has served as foster parents. Wishart previously worked for six years as a legislative staffer in the Unicameral. In 2011, Wishart was elected to the Lincoln Airport Authority, and she served as Chair of the Board.
She is a member of the Appropriations Committee. Her priorities are working to reform our mental health and corrections systems, along with initiatives to advance education and economic development.
Senator Wishart was elected with 73% of the vote in 2016, defeating Republican Dick Clark.
Brenda Bickford (R)
Brenda Bickford, 57, is running for the District 27 seat in the Legislature. Bickford was born in Central City and attended school in Grand Island, where her parents still live. Bickford attended Kearney State College and the University of Kansas and graduated with an occupational therapy degree. She worked as an occupational therapist for 15 years, including as the Director of Occupational Therapy at a large trauma hospital. She then spent six years working as a business law legal assistant. She has spent the last ten years working in information technology. She currently works at Nelnet as an IT Project Manager.
Her priorities are property tax relief, affordable housing, solutions to the mental health crisis, pro-life policies, and Second Amendment protection.
District 29 (Bolz, Term-Limited)
Republicans: 40.7% – Democrats: 36.4% – Libertarians: 1.4% – Nonpartisan: 21.5%
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Neal Clayburn (D)
Neal Clayburn, 67, of Lincoln is hoping to capture a seat in the Legislature to represent District 29. Clayburn is a former teacher, coach, U.S. Navy veteran, and executive director of the Lincoln Education Association. He recently retired from the Board of Educators Health Alliance and as the associate executive director of the Nebraska State Education Association. He also serves on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America Cornhusker Council and is on the international committee for the Boy Scouts of America. Clayburn lives in Lincoln with his wife Shelley, a teacher, and they have two sons, one of whom is also a teacher.
Clayburn’s priorities are local property tax relief, job growth, quality education, investments in roads and other essential infrastructure, stewardship of the environment, and support of working families and local businesses.
Jacob Campbell (R)
Jacob Campbell, 29, is running to fill District 29’s seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Campbell currently works as a legislative assistant in the office of Senator Ben Hansen. Campbell hails from Bertrand, Nebraska. He joined the Nebraska Army National Guard when he was 17 and served for eight years as a military policeman. During his service, he met his wife, Laura, who also joined at age 17 and served for six years, including a deployment to Afghanistan. Together they own a rental property management company and have one young daughter.
Campbell attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in secondary social science education and he later returned to work as an admissions recruiter. He received a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska–Omaha in December 2019. Campbell also worked at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services as a child abuse investigator.
Campbell’s interests for next term include supporting Nebraska’s families, property tax relief, investing in education, addressing prison overcrowding, and helping entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Eliot Bostar (D)
Eliot Bostar, 32, is running to represent District 29 in the Nebraska Legislature. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from Embry-Riddle University in Florida. He spent most of his childhood in New York but has Nebraska roots going back five generations. Bostar worked in the New York Governor’s Office during the 2008 recession, working on budget deficit and infrastructure issues. In 2013 he moved to Nebraska with his wife, Carrie, who works at Nelnet. They have one young son. He is the executive director of Nebraska Conservation Voters and Conservation Nebraska, non-profit organizations that work to protect our state’s natural legacy. He is a member of the Lincoln Electric System’s board of directors and is on the Mayor’s Climate Resiliency Task Force.
Bostar’s priorities include ensuring a quality education for children, creating good-paying jobs, protecting the environment, accessible and affordable healthcare, and a more fair tax-system.
Jennifer Carter (D)
Jennifer Carter is running to claim District 29’s legislative seat in Lincoln. Carter works as legal counsel for the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee. Carter received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University and her law degree from Boston University School of Law. She previously worked as the director of public policy for Nebraska Appleseed and a consultant for food banks. Carter serves on the board of directors for the Friends of Lied and HopeSpoke. She has also served on the board of the Prairie Hill Learning Center. Carter is married to Andy Barry, an attorney at Cline Williams. They have two school-age children.
Carter is running “to ensure that government is working effectively and efficiently for the good of all Nebraskans…one that creates opportunity, inspires innovation, supports families, and encourages tolerance and inclusion.”
Lisa Lee (R)
Fifty-eight-year-old Lisa Lee is running for the District 29 seat in the Legislature. She works as the lead programmer for the Lincoln Council for International Visitors. Lee graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree of business administration in accounting. She is married to Mitch, who works at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women in York. They have four children. Lee has been a member of the Lincoln Downtown Rotary Club, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, and a Teammate mentor. She received the Excellence in Programming Award for the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Lee’s priorities are economic development, balancing property tax reform with quality education, addressing the workforce shortage, prison reform, and clean energy initiatives.
Michael Connely (R)
Michael Connely, 58, is running for the District 29 seat in the Legislature. He was born in Broken Bow and joined the U.S. Marine Corps after high school. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Excelsior College and a master’s degree in educational administration, which he began at the University of Oklahoma and completed in Japan. He is the director of business development at the American English School in Fukuoka, Japan. Connely has also worked for the U.S. Census Bureau as the State Quality Assurance Director and in Japan for the Japanese Ministry of Education. He served in the Air National Guard for three years. He has been a volunteer with the Lincoln Literacy Council, American Red Cross, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
His priorities include protecting the environment, ensuring the health and safety of Nebraskans, simplifying governmental regulations, and the guarding of personal freedoms. He is very concerned about the security of the 4G/5G network.
District 31 (Kolowski, Term-Limited)
Republicans: 49.0% – Democrats: 25.7% – Libertarians: 1.0% – Nonpartisan: 24.3%
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Tim Royers (D)
Tim Royers, 34, is running for the District 31 spot in the Legislature. He received his bachelor’s degree in social science education from Northwest Missouri State University and master’s degree in history from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Royers’ wife, Angela, teaches kindergarten at West Bay Elementary in Elkhorn. They have two young daughters. He has taught social studies at Millard West since 2007. Royers was twice named Debate Coach of the Year for the Nebraska District of the National Speech and Debate Association, and in 2016 was named the Nebraska Teacher of the Year. He also has worked on the negotiations team for the Millard Education Association since 2010.
He is running to strengthen schools, reform the tax code, retain Nebraska talent, and strengthen the business community. He wants to reform the state funding formula, so schools are getting the necessary resources from the state and don’t have to rely so heavily on property taxes. Royers is also interested in family friendly policies like paid maternity and paternity leave and affordable health care.
Melanie Williams (D)
Melanie Williams is running for the District 31 seat in the Legislature. She’s taken courses in English literature, sociology, journalism, and black studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Williams is the co-founder and executive director of the Family Advocacy Movement nonprofit. She and her husband, Kent Smotherman, co-founded the KidJuice website for children and families. She is also the program director of the North Omaha Chess Academy and Club.
Williams prioritizes community activism and advocacy. She is committed to reforming the child welfare system, the preservation of families, and protection of children.
Alexandar J. Martin (D)
Alexander Martin, 39, is running for the District 31 seat in the Legislature. He is from Omaha and attended a community college, studying commercial photography. Martin then served in the U.S. Navy before attending Bangkok University International. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in business administration. Martin is the founder of White Pariah Inc., a custom design firm in Omaha. He also works as the service manager for Trek Bicycle Company.
His priorities include decreasing property taxes, quality education, and creating policies that help the middle class.
Mark B. Gruenewald (R)
Mark Gruenewald, 64, is running for the District 31 seat in the Legislature. He hails from David City and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics with minors in computers and chemistry. He is a licensed insurance adviser for biBERK, a Berkshire Hathaway business insurance company. He previously worked as a sales representative for ag companies, including Monsanto and Bayer. Gruenewald has served as a member of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Board since 2017, where he describes himself as a “fiscally responsible” board member seeking to reduce spending and the tax levy. He has opposed bonding authority for the NRD.
His legislative priorities are education, property taxes, and protecting our citizens, particularly the elderly and children. He says his experience on the NRD board has shown that there is a great deal of efficiency to be gained in government.
Rich Pahls (R)
Rich Pahls, 76, is running to reclaim his former legislative seat, which he held from 2005 to 2013. Pahls received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in school administration from Fort Hays State University. He also received his Doctor of Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and previously taught education courses as a professor at Wayne State College. Pahls is a former Millard Public Schools principal and administrator. He is currently serving his second term on the Omaha City Council, representing southwest Omaha. He has two grown children.
Pahls was previously the chairman of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee, where the committee’s work helped maintain Nebraska’s status as an insurance and banking-friendly state. His priorities include property tax relief, ensuring students benefit from tax dollars, pro-business initiatives, and accountability of schools.
District 33 (Halloran)
Republicans: 56.7% – Democrats: 22.9% – Libertarians: 1.2% – Nonpartisan: 19.2%
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Steve Halloran (R)
Steve Halloran is running unopposed for re-election for the District 33 spot in the Legislature. He graduated from Hastings St. Cecilia’s High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Creighton University. After graduation he became the fifth generation to work on his family’s grain farm near Hastings. From 1988-1995, he worked for the nonprofit National Farmers Organization, overseeing commodity marketing programs. In 1996 he helped to form an internet ag marketing company headquartered in Ames, Iowa. From 2001-2003, he worked as a membership director for the Council for Ag Science and Technology (CAST), a nonprofit that communicates science information on ag issues. He now is the co-owner of four HuHot restaurants in Montana, Washington, and Colorado. He also manages the leasing of their farm in Hastings. He and his wife Ann have two grown children.
Halloran serves as the Chair of the Agriculture Committee and also serves on the Business and Labor Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. His priorities are agriculture, economic development, commitment to service, education and workforce development, property tax relief, fiscal responsibility, family life, and public safety.
District 35 (Quick)
Republicans: 44.6% – Democrats: 30.6% – Libertarians: 1.5% – Nonpartisan: 23.5%
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Dan Quick (D)
Dan Quick, 61, is running for re-election for the District 35 seat in the Legislature. He was raised on his family farm and graduated from Hordville High School. He has worked at a grain elevator, in retail, construction, feedlot operations, and sand and gravel ready mix operations. Before being elected, he worked 28 years for the Grand Island Utilities Department at the Platte Generating Station. He first started as a material handler and later became a maintenance mechanic and welder. Quick has served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1597, as well as President of the Nebraska State Utilities Conference and Central Nebraska Central Labor Council. Quick and his wife Alice, an OB nurse, have three grown children and nine grandchildren. They are both active at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.
Quick serves on the Natural Resources Committee and the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee. His priorities include job growth, quality education, property tax relief, and safe neighborhoods. Quick has passed legislation to curb the use of tobacco by youth in schools and is a champion of land-banks in communities across Nebraska.
Raymond M. Aguilar (R)
Former Senator Raymond Aguilar, 72, is running for re-election for the District 35 spot in the Legislature. He studied at Central Community College and recently retired after owning a small business. He and his wife Susan have nine children together.
Aguilar was the first Latino in the Legislature, serving from 1999 to 2008 before he was term-limited out of office. During that time, he passed legislation creating the Central Nebraska Drug Court and the Child Advocacy Center. His priorities are property tax relief, controlling government spending, strengthening education for children, and increasing accountability and transparency in the government.
District 37 (Lowe)
Republicans: 56.9% – Democrats: 21.5% – Libertarians: 1.5% – Nonpartisan: 20.1%
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John Lowe (R)
John Lowe, 60, is running to keep his District 37 spot in the Nebraska legislature. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Kearney State College and is a real estate investor. Lowe lives with his wife Kim, and they have three grown sons. Lowe is a member of the Rob Morris Masonic Lodge and the Tehama Shrine Potentate. He was formerly on the Kearney Planning Commission.
Lowe serves on the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee; the Urban Affairs Committee; and the General Affairs Committee. His priorities include lowering property taxes, protecting the second amendment, and reducing government spending.
Lowe was elected in 2016, edging out Kearney City Council member and fellow Republican Bob Lammers with 53% of the vote.
Mercadies Damratowski (L)
Mercadies Damratowski is a 29-year-old running for the District 37 spot in the Legislature. She studied at Northeast Community College. She previously worked as a welder and in food service. Damratowski is the Vice-Chair of the Tri-Cities Nebraska Libertarian party. She and her husband Matthew have one young child together. She has lobbied the Kearney City Council to allow for residents to keep up to four laying chickens. Her father grew up on a chicken farm in Mexico, and her parents currently keep hens at their home in Grand Island.
Her priorities for the Legislature are to listen to her constituents, increase access to mental health facilities and services, and provide for adequate healthcare.
District 39 (Linehan)
Republicans: 53.4% – Democrats: 21.6% – Libertarians: 1.3% – Nonpartisan: 23.7%
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Lou Ann Linehan (R)
Sixty-four-year old Lou Ann Linehan is running to keep her District 39 spot in the Legislature. She has four grown children. Linehan was chief of staff to former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel and served as deputy assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration. Linehan is a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Linehan is the chair of the Revenue Committee and is on the Education Committee. Her priorities are property and income tax relief, investment in education, job creation, workforce development, and protection of pro-life values.
Senator Linehan was elected with 55% of the vote in 2016, defeating Democrat Bill Armbrust.
Allison Heimes (D)
Allison Heimes is a 29-year-old lawyer running for the Nebraska Legislature to fill the District 39 seat. Heimes graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha with a political science degree. She received a master’s degree in governmental organization and leadership and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law. Her law practice, at Omaha firm Marks Clare & Richards, focuses on immigration law and criminal defense. She previously interned for Mayor Jim Suttle. Heimes volunteers with the Kim Foundation, which raises awareness about mental illness and suicide prevention. Her husband, Ben, works at Camp Ashland in the Nebraska National Guard full-time. They have two young children and live in Elkhorn.
Her priorities are quality education, mental health advocacy, responsible budgeting, and placing families first.
District 41 (Briese)
Republicans: 65.4% – Democrats: 21.5% – Libertarians: 0.5% – Nonpartisan: 12.6%
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Tom Briese (R)
Sixty-year-old Tom Briese is seeking re-election in the District 41 seat in the Legislature. He and his wife Joan have two children. Briese is a farmer and graduated with a bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a member of Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, and Boone County Foundation Fund Committee.
In the Legislature, Briese serves as the Chair of the General Affairs Committee. He is also on the Revenue and Urban Affairs Committees. His priorities are to lower property taxes, control government spending, promote agriculture, and attract families back to rural communities.
District 43 (Brewer)
Republicans: 68.2% – Democrats: 15.9% – Libertarians: 0.8% – Nonpartisan: 15.1%
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Tom Brewer (R)
Tom Brewer is running to keep his spot in District 43’s place in the Legislature. Brewer is a retired Army Colonel. He earned the Bronze Star medal and two Purple Hearts while serving. Brewer graduated from Doane College with a bachelor’s degree and graduated from Army War College with a master’s degree. He resides in Gordon with his wife Kelli. They have two children who are both in the Nebraska Army National Guard. Brewer is a member of the Lakota Sioux Tribe.
Brewer is the chair of the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. He is also a member of the Education Committee. His priorities include supporting farmers and ranchers, limiting government overreach, defense of the second amendment, enforcement of immigration laws, and the death penalty.
Senator Brewer was elected with 52% of the vote in 2016, defeating incumbent Republican Senator Al Davis.
Tanya Storer (R)
Tanya Storer is running for the District 43 spot in the Legislature. She and her husband Eric run a cattle operation and have three grown children. She graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a bachelor’s degree in consumer science and education with a teaching endorsement. Storer was elected the Cherry County Commissioner in 2014 and 2018. Storer serves on the Blueprint Nebraska Board, the Nebraska DOT Innovation Task Force, the UNMC Advisory Board, the Region 4 Behavioral Health Board, and the Niobrara Council Executive Board.
Her priorities in the Legislature include property tax relief for Nebraskans, pro-life advocacy, protection of K-12 education, agriculture economic expansion, and second amendment rights.
District 45 (Crawford, Term-Limited)
Republicans: 41.3% – Democrats: 28.5% – Libertarians: 1.9% – Nonpartisan: 28.3%
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Susan Hester (D)
Susan Hester, 69, is running for the District 45 spot in the Legislature. Hester received her bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio State University and her master’s degree in education at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. After college she moved to Bellevue and taught at Bellevue Public Schools for 33 years. Susan and her husband Kirk have six children and 13 grandchildren. She is currently retired but stays active in the community. Hester is the Director of Nebraska Science Olympiad, is on the Eastern Nebraska Community Action Partnership Board, was appointed to serve on the Bellevue Community Development Block Grant Board, and is on the executive board of the Bellevue Public Schools Foundation.
Hester’s priorities for the Legislature include supporting veterans through increased mental health services and support, more affordable healthcare, decreasing the burden of local property taxes while keeping schools strong, and promoting economic development to increase jobs.
Rita Sanders (R)
Rita Sanders, 61, of Bellevue is running for the District 45 seat in the Legislature. She is working on a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bellevue University. Sanders served two terms as mayor of Bellevue and declined to run for a third term in 2018. She and her husband, Rick, own Richmont Village, a retirement home in Bellevue. In 2016 Sanders was inducted into the Sarpy County Business Hall of Fame, and in 2018 she received the Nebraska National Guard’s Distinguished Service Award for Civilians.
Sanders would like to ensure quality in schools, economic development, retention of a quality workforce, support veterans, reduce the burden of property taxes, and bring good-paying jobs to Nebraska.
District 47 (Erdman)
Republicans: 67.7% – Democrats: 14.6% – Libertarians: 1.9% – Nonpartisan: 16.7%
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Steve Erdman (R)
Steve Erdman, 70, is running unopposed for re-election to represent District 47 in the Nebraska Legislature. Erdman, a lifelong resident of Morrill County, attended Nebraska Western Junior College and graduated with an associate degree. He was a farmer and is now a realtor. Erdman lives in Bayard with his wife Cathy. They have three grown sons and nine grandchildren. (His son Phil served as a state senator from 2001-2009.) Erdman previously served as a member of the Bayard Board of Education, Morrill County Board of Commissioners, and local cooperative board. He is a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau and a community bible church and has served as a volunteer for FFA, 4-H, and county extension.
Erdman’s major priority is property tax relief. He serves on the Appropriations Committee, where he has been a conservative evaluator of spending requests. In Erdman’s first term, he passed legislation to help property owners adjust their valuations when suffering a loss due to flooding or other disasters.
District 49 (La Grone)
Republicans: 48.1% – Democrats: 24.0% – Libertarians: 1.5% – Nonpartisan: 26.4%
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Andrew La Grone (R)
Twenty-nine-year-old Andrew La Grone is seeking to remain in the Legislature after being appointed in 2018 by Governor Ricketts. La Grone resides in Gretna, where he is an attorney. He is the president of the Gretna Optimists and a member of the Gretna Chamber of Commerce and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to receive his bachelor’s degree and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2016. He was previously legal counsel to the Government Committee under then-Chairman, now-State Treasurer John Murante.
He prioritizes low taxes, quality education, and protecting the unborn. La Grone is a member of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
Jen Day (D)
Jen Day is running to serve District 49. Day lives in La Vista with her husband Jon, and their two boys, Canyon and Noah. Day graduated from University of Nebraska-Omaha with a bachelor’s degree in political science. She attended Western Kentucky University and received a master’s degree in Gender and Women’s studies. She is also the owner and co-founder alongside her husband of Artis Strength & Fitness/Artis Barbell. Day is the current Vice President of the Friends of Planned Parenthood Board.
Day chose to run for the Legislature because she wants to represent the voice of everyday people. Her priorities are public education, healthcare, property tax relief, and small business incentives.