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2024 NEBRASKA LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES

The next primary election will be held on May 14, 2024.  The top two vote-getters from each legislative district (regardless of party) advance to the November 5th general election.  We will keep this page updated as more candidates declare their intentions to run in this election cycle.

District 1 (Slama)

Republicans: 58.86% – Democrats: 20.41% – Independents: 20.73%

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Edited Dennis Schaardt LD1

Dennis Schaardt (R)

Dennis Schaardt, 57, 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.”  Schaardt was a candidate for the seat in 2020, coming in third in the primary with 18% of the vote.

Edited Glenda Willnerd LD1

Glenda Willnerd (D)

Glenda Willnerd is running for the District 1 seat in the legislature. She graduated from Syracuse High School and received her bachelor’s degree in family consumer science and her master’s degree in education, both from the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She worked for 36 years in Nebraska public schools as teacher and librarian. Willnerd has previously worked as the library media specialist for Waverly Public Schools and the coordinator of media services for Lincoln Public Schools. She is currently a supervisor at the University of Nebraska Omaha and is the director of the Palmyra Memorial Library.

Willnerd has received the “Heart of 4-H Award” in recognition of outstanding volunteer service with 4-H for more than four decades. She has been co-superintendent of the 4-H Photography area at the Lancaster County Super Fair since 2014 and was a parent volunteer with the Flying Hoofs 4-H horse club for about nine years. Willnerd says she learned the value of hard work early on, helping her parents on their dairy farm just outside of Unadilla. She has been active in the Unadilla Community as a volunteer for many organizations. She and her husband Phil have two children and three grandchildren.

Supporting public education, working for family farmers, fighting for fair taxation, and working on veterans’ issues will be her priorities. Willnerd pledges to be a voice of reason and represent all residents of the first legislative district. She promises to lead with integrity and will put families and communities first.

Robert Hallstrom LD1

Robert Hallstrom (R)

Robert (“Bob”) Hallstrom, 68, is running for the District 1 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Hallstrom, a third-generation Nebraskan, was raised in Avoca, Nebraska, and graduated from Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca High School in 1974. He received his bachelor’s from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1978 and went on to obtain his JD from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1981. Hallstrom and his wife LuRae raised four children who attended Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca School. LuRae was raised on a farm near Elk Creek and is a realtor/broker, the chaplain at the Grand Lodge in Lincoln, and a part-time pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Otoe.

Hallstrom currently works as an attorney for Brant, Horan, Hallstrom, and Stilmock in Syracuse. He also serves as general counsel and lobbyist for the Nebraska Bankers Association and is counsel and lobbyist for Networks, Inc., the Nebraska Pharmacists Association, and the National Federation of Independent Business.  Hallstrom is a member of the Syracuse Area Chamber of Commerce and a past board member of Luther Memorial Church in Syracuse.

Hallstrom’s priorities in the legislature include reducing the property tax burden for farmers and families, championing farmers and small businesses, and supporting quality education. He is pro-life, a supporter of the Second Amendment, and a fiscal conservative.

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Bob Holman (R)

Bob Holman entered the race because he was concerned there would not be a suitable candidate for the office and was not aware of other candidates ahead of the filing deadline. While his name will still appear on the ballot, he is not campaigning and is giving his support to Dennis Schaardt.

District 3 (Blood, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 40.48% – Democrats: 28.67% – Independents: 30.85%

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Felix Ungerman LD3

Felix Ungerman (R)

Ben “Felix” Ungerman has announced his candidacy for the Nebraska Legislature’s District 3. He has been married to his wife, Katina, for 27 years. Together, they have three children and three grandchildren.

Ungerman spent nearly 25 years in the United States Air Force, serving in Afghanistan, leading counter-terrorism efforts in Islamabad, Pakistan with the Pakistan Air Force, and managing training activities in the Republic of Georgia. Ungermann also served as White House Staff working Presidential Advance for President George W. Bush and acted on the Joint Staff as the Liaison for policy and strategy in Pakistan. His Air Force career concluded with more than 2700 flight hours, over 200 hours of combat, and 900 hours of combat support time for operations in Haiti, Iraq, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. Currently, Ungerman serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Don Bacon, where he and the staff earned the 2021 award for Top Congressional Office in Congress for Constituent Services.

Ungerman’s key issues in the legislature include tax relief, bolstering support for job creation, opening up access to education statewide, congressional financial responsibility, and government transparency. Ungerman is pro-life and describes himself as a defender of the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Victor Rountree LD3

Victor Rountree (D)

Victor Rountree, 65, of Bellevue is running for the District 3 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Rountree received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Maryland while in Germany, and he has also graduated from the United States Air Forces in Europe NCO Academy and the Senior NCO Academy. He is a decorated veteran with over 30 years of service, previously serving as the United States Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. He spent time at Offutt Air Force Base working in financial management and budgeting, serving under Don Bacon, and was the Superintendent for the 55th Comptroller Squadron in Nebraska. Rountree noted the most rewarding moment in his military career as the part he played in response to the 9/11 attacks. Roundtree took a deferred retirement in 2017 and began subbing at Bellevue Public Schools for three years, and he was hired to work with FEMA to help Nebraska recover from flooding, eventually becoming an on-call responder.

Rountree currently commits himself to service through his role as a Senior Pastor at Endure to the End Ministries, a church he and his wife founded in 2012, providing community outreach, organizing donations to schools and food pantries, and sharing his ministry services with a health and rehab center. He has been married to his wife, Cheryl, for 41 years, and the two have three children and one young grandchild.

Rountree’s priorities in the legislature include bringing collaboration and unity to the Unicameral; strengthening our public schools by giving educators the tools they need to educate and increasing education opportunities for students; fixing our broken tax system; keeping money in the pockets of families; supporting first responders, active military, and veterans; and working towards affordable and accessible healthcare.

District 5 (McDonnell, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 25.30% – Democrats: 45.22% – Independents: 29.48%

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Harkness LD5

Flint Harkness (D)

Lifelong Nebraskan Flint Harkness, 35, is running for the District 5 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. After graduating from Homer High School in Nebraska, Harkness received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education as well as a master’s degree in secondary education with endorsements in Special Education Leadership and Special Education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Harkness has worked in a variety of schools, including Alpha School, a Level-3 behavior school in South Omaha. Currently, he works as a resource teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School. He and his wife, Shylo, who is also a resource teacher, live in Hanscom Park with their son, William.

In the legislature, Harkness hopes to properly fund public schools, support measures to increase constituent’s ability to provide for their families, and lower property taxes. He has promised to “work with anyone—regardless of party—who is willing to stand up for the needs of everyday Nebraskans.” Harkness plans to use his experiences in education to advocate for solutions to school staffing obstacles, as well as work with legislative colleagues to develop better solutions for mental healthcare, general healthcare, and the foster system. Harkness aims to be an approachable resource in his community.

Margo Juarez LD5

Margo R. Juarez (D)

Margo Juarez of Omaha is running for the District 5 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Juarez, 66, graduated from Omaha South before going on to receive her bachelor’s degree in banking and finance and her MBA, both from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. After starting her career working with the Social Security Administration doing supplemental needs claims, she went on to spend 20 years as a tax examiner for the Internal Revenue Service.  Following retirement from the federal government, she worked part-time for the City of Papillion as a customer service representative. She has two children, Jeremy and Rachel, and four grandchildren.  She lives with and cares for her 100-year-old mother.

Juarez has strong roots in South Omaha. She is a founder of the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association and a member of the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance. She is a member of the sodality of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Juarez was appointed in 2021 to fill a vacancy on the Omaha Public School board as a representative for Subdistrict 8.

In the legislature, Juarez plans to prioritize education. She aims to prevent changes in the educational system from leaving behind disenfranchised students. If elected, her bills will focus on keeping education equitable.

Gilbert Ayala

Gilbert Ayala (R)

Gilbert

Ayala, 54, challenged Senator Mike McDonnell two times to represent District 5 in the Nebraska Legislature, earning 36% of the vote in the last general election.  Ayala was also a candidate for Omaha City Council in 2021.  He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at El Paso, majoring in political science. He moved to Omaha in 2013. He has worked as a shift supervisor at CVS and at Domino’s Pizza.

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.  He favors lower taxes and smaller government.

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, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 20.18% – Democrats: 48.22% – Independents: 31.60%

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Christopher Geary LD7

Christopher Geary (D)

Christopher Geary of Omaha is running for the District 7 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Geary, 52, has been a longtime karate teacher after serving in the United States Marine Corps from 1990-1994. He is a published poet.

Over the years, Geary has lost his share of races, including races for governor, state senator, and Omaha Mayor. In previous races, Geary has notably said he does not take campaign contributions or participate in debates.

In 2022, the City of Omaha approved a commemorative street name, “Christopher Geary Drive,” to be located on Pine Street from 35th to 36th Street. This is the location of Geary’s childhood home. The city council thanked him for his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, his decades of owning a martial arts school, teaching others to defend themselves, and for becoming the youngest martial arts grandmaster promoted in our country.

Geary has said he wants to prioritize safety and would like to see more police officers become active in our schools and more after-school programs to keep kids active.  As a mayoral candidate, he wanted get rid of the restaurant tax and improve the city’s infrastructure.

Guereca LD7

Dunixi Guereca (D)

Executive Director for Stand for Schools Dunixi Guereca is running for the District 7 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Guereca, 35, is looking to replace term-limited Tony Vargas as the representative for parts of downtown and south Omaha. As the son of Mexican immigrants, Guereca seeks to make the American Dream attainable for Nebraskans across the state.

After graduating from high school in Manhattan Beach, California, Guereca obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska. He has served as the President of the Nebraska Young Democrats and is currently a national officer for the Young Democrats of America. As an Eagle Scout, Guereca volunteered with the Boy Scouts of America, building a compost bin for his elementary school garden as his Eagle Scout project. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Stand for Schools, a nonprofit whose mission is to support Nebraskan public schools. He has worked as a union organizer for SEIU, building collective support for higher wages and increased safety tools for healthcare workers throughout the pandemic.

Guereca plans to support common-sense goals in the legislature like “strong public schools, higher wages, access to affordable healthcare and housing, and a fair tax system for hard-working Nebraskans.” As a first-generation immigrant, Guereca wants to champion South Omaha to bring resources and opportunities for the district. Guereca aims to encourage legislation that invests in his community via safe and sustainable jobs, updated infrastructure, and bolstering schools.

Tim Pendrell LD7

Tim Pendrell (D)

Tim Pendrell, 43, of Omaha is running for the District 7 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. He is a graduate of Gross Catholic High School and received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with minors in Asian studies and economics.  He has also studied abroad in Nepal, Vietnam, China, and England. He also received his master’s in urban planning from New York University with specialization in economic development and housing policy.

Pendrell served a year for AmeriCorps/VISTA, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of Omaha. He worked as the Executive Director for the Nebraska City Chamber of Commerce and then as a grant administrator of the Department of Correctional Services. He has worked since 2019 in the Nebraska Legislature, serving as the Committee Clerk for the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee and aide to Senator Mike McDonnell on the Appropriations Committee. Pendrell is proud to have played a role in the ImagiNE Act, inland port authorities for the federal CHIPS for America Act, and funding for the NC3 Project.

Pendrell was previously a candidate for the Legislature, running for the 6th Legislative District seat in 2002 when he was a UNL undergraduate.  Pendrell lost to Pam Brown, 44% to 56%.

Ben Salazar LD7

Ben Salazar (I)

Ben Salazar is running for the District 7 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Salazar is a native of Scottsbluff and obtained his bachelor’s degree in sociology and his JD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is a Chicano activist and advocates for Latinos and Spanish-speaking individuals in his community. In the past, he has worked with organizations such as the Legal Aid in Phoenix, the Lincoln Action Program, and Chicanos por la causa. Salazar is also the publisher of Nuestro Mundo, a newspaper in Omaha. He advocated for women and meatpacking workers during the Covid pandemic. Last year Salazar and former Senator Ernie Chambers worked together to protest the $10 million bond set for a Latina woman in Omaha accused of manslaughter; the bond was later reduced to $250,000.

District 9 (Cavanaugh, J.)

Republicans: 22.48% – Democrats: 48.60% – Independents: 28.92%

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Sen. John Cavanaugh LD9

John Cavanaugh (D)

Senator 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 once again. 43-year-old Cavanaugh was previously 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 has served 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.” Cavanaugh has served on the General Affairs, Natural Resources, and Urban Affairs Committees in the Legislature.  He has prioritized legislation to increase protections for juveniles in the juvenile justice system, strengthen tenants’ rights, and assist inmates who are leaving prison.

Julia Palzer LD9

Julia Palzer (R)

Julia Palzer, managing partner and practicing attorney at Kellogg & Palzer, is running for the 9th District seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Palzer, 47, graduated from Central High School before going on to earn her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and her law degree from Creighton University School of Law in 2001. Her practice focuses on estate and business planning, probate and estate administration, trusts, and wills.  She was previously the Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Creighton Law School. Julia has served on the Board of Directors for Essential Pregnancy Services, the National Board of Catholic Engaged Encounter, the School Board of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Omaha, and Connect Omaha. She has been President of the Sierra Club of West Omaha and been on the Executive Committee for the Women and Law Section of the Nebraska Bar Association. She lives in Midtown with her husband and law partner, Jeff.  They have three children, who attend Holy Cross Catholic School, Roncalli Catholic High School, and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

In the legislature, Palzer’s focus is to support law enforcement, lower tax burdens, support small businesses, provide access to high-quality education, improve access to mental health treatment, and identify affordable housing solutions.

District 11 (McKinney)

Republicans: 10.58% – Democrats: 63.61% – Independents: 25.80%

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Sen. Terrell McKinney LD11

Terrell McKinney (D)

Senator Terrell McKinney, 33, is running for re-election in District 11.  Four years ago he earned the endorsement of Senator Ernie Chambers to take over his position, but now faces him as an opponent. 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 has attended Creighton Law School. 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 has coached 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 13-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. Senator McKinney is the Chair of the Urban Affairs Committee and serves on the Business and Labor and Judiciary Committees. He has prioritized legislation to establish Innovation Hubs, prohibit natural hair discrimination, and to make changes to the Parole Board and increase parole eligibility.

Calandra Cooper LD11

Calandra Cooper (I)

Calandra Cooper, 56, of Omaha, is running for the District 11 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. She graduated high school from Omaha South and attended the University of Nebraska Omaha for communications and public relations. She obtained an associate’s degree in legal studies, accounting, and business management. She currently works as a pharmacy technician and medical support agent with CHI. Cooper is studying to become a nurse and is married with four adult children.

In the legislature, Cooper’s priorities include representing everyone and working in partnership with those in her district.

Ernie Chambers LD11

Ernie Chambers (I)

Once again, Ernie Chambers is running for the District 11 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Chambers, 86, graduated from Omaha Tech High School before going on to earn his bachelor’s degree in history with minors in Spanish and philosophy at Creighton University. He stayed at Creighton to obtain his law degree. Chambers has a long and storied political career, beginning with protests in 1963 against the Postmaster General and serving 46 years in the Nebraska State Legislature, making him the longest-serving State Senator. Chambers was term-limited once in 2008 and then again in 2020.

Chambers, the defender of the downtrodden, has focused on police reform and abolishing the death penalty. In the legislature, Chambers has served on the Agriculture Committee, Business and Labor Committee, Judiciary Committee, and the Executive Board.

District 13 (Wayne, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 25.08% – Democrats: 48.37% – Independents: 26.55%

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Hightower-Henne LD13

Tracy Hightower-Henne (D)

Tracy Hightower-Henne is running for the District 13 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Hightower-Henne is the Executive Director of the Nebraska Innocence Project and co-founder of Hightower Reff Law, a firm dedicated to pro bono work in the Omaha community. She graduated from Burke High School, got her undergraduate degree from Doane, and earned her law degree from Thomas M. Colley Law School in Lansing, Michigan. Hightower-Henne and her husband, Tom, spend their free time outdoors, traveling, and watching documentaries together. They have one dog named Scuba.

 

Hightower-Henne serves as the Board Chair of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Nebraska. A self-proclaimed activist, Tracy believes, “Every Nebraskan deserves the opportunity to thrive…with strong, well-funded schools, better-paying jobs, housing that is affordable for working families, and affordable and accessible healthcare for everyone.” She is a member of the Women’s Fund Circles Class 9, the Nebraska State Bar Association’s Legislation Committee, and the Omaha Bar Association, and she is on the executive committee for Women in the Law. Her firm, Hightower Reff Law, won the Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Equal Justice Award in 2021 for their work with low-income individuals so that they can receive “high-quality legal representation during some of the toughest times of their lives.”

Nick Batter LD13

Nick Batter (I)

Nick Batter, 37, is running to represent Northeast Omaha in the Nebraska Legislature. Batter grew up as the child of a single mother in Omaha, who moved him to California to complete his high school education. He eventually received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, where he won a public service fellowship, earned medals as the captain of the archery team, and produced a thesis that won high honors. He founded a nonprofit organization after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and his work in this region, including over a dozen visitations in an active warzone, for he received recognition from members of Congress. After college, he enlisted in the Army and underwent training as a Combat Engineer, serving for eight years.

While serving in the Army, Batter received a law degree from the University of Nebraska School of Law and eventually accepted his current position at Hawkins Construction. At Hawkins, he negotiates projects, leading to the delivery of some of Nebraska’s largest public infrastructure projects, such as the Eppley Airfield renovations and the Lincoln South Beltway. Batter also provides pro bono legal services and serves on various boards and advisory groups, including the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He resides in Omaha with his wife, Jill, and they have three children.

Batter stated he is running for the legislature “to help make LD 13 an affordable, safe, and thriving place to live and work,” with a particular interest in bettering the dangerous portion of Highway 75 that runs through his area of Omaha. He intends to work towards reducing partisanship in the legislature, providing quality and affordable living, improving access to health care, increasing incentives for educators, maximizing federal funding, supporting those who come out of prisons, and decriminalizing the use of marijuana by adults.

Ashlei Spivey LD13

Ashlei Spivey (D)

Ashlei Spivey, 37, is running for the District 13 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. She grew up in North Omaha, leaving home to pursue her education at Jackson State University in Mississippi, where she played volleyball and obtained her bachelor’s degree in mass communications. She then attended the University of Texas at Arlington to study urban social planning.

Spivey eventually moved back to Omaha and wears many different hats in her community. She developed the Young, Black, and Influential Awards, founded I Be Black Girl and serves as its executive director, sits on the board of the Women’s Funding Network, is involved in Nebraska Perinatal Quality Improvement, and co-founded the restaurant Best Burger. She previously served as a program officer for the Peter Kiewit Foundation and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and was the past President of the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Nebraska.

Ashlei was named a 2018 Greater Omaha Chamber YP Changemaker and a Midland’s Business under 40, received the Urban League Nebraska Leadership Award, and was recently made the Nebraska honoree for USA Today’s 2024 Women of the Year program. She lives in Omaha with her two young children, who inspire her work.

One of Spivey’s main goals in the legislature includes fostering inclusive prosperity through entrepreneurship by investing in marginalized business owners, such as people of color, women, disabled individuals, and veterans. She also intends to promote health equity, ensure individuals have a sense of belonging, and build vibrant communities.

Matthew Clough LD13

Matthew Clough (R)

Matthew Clough, 68, is running for the District 13 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. He graduated high school from Shawnee Mission Northwest in Kansas, going on to attend William-Jewel College and Harlaxton College in England to study philosophy and English literature.

Clough previously worked for the Department of Health and Human Services but is now mostly retired, still doing some consulting work. He is married to his wife, Mary, and they have three sons and 11 grandchildren, with two more grandchildren being adopted.

Clough stated that he has always wanted to run, as he wants future generations of Nebraskans to grow up here and reach their full potential. In the legislature, he intends to prioritize supporting education, lowering property taxes, and facilitating a more efficient government.

District 15 (Walz, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 53.62% – Democrats: 22.22% – Independents: 24.16%

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Dave Wordekemper LD15

Dave Wordekemper (R)

Dave Wordekemper, 58, of Fremont, is running for the District 15 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. He was born and raised in West Point, graduating from West Point Central Catholic and going on to attend some college for fire science and receiving his paramedic certification through Creighton. Dave started his volunteer firefighting career in West Point, continuing this career in Virginia, where he married his wife, until moving back to Nebraska in Fremont. He has served as a firefighter/paramedic for the Fremont Fire and Rescue for almost 30 years. Dave is also a member of the Saint Patrick Church, the Knights of Columbus Council 1497, and is the vice president of the Nebraska Association of Fire Fighters.

Dave spends his time providing charity for his community by organizing toy and gift drives for children and previously saved the lives of residents trapped by raging flood waters in 2019. He is married to his wife Barb, a registered nurse, and they have two grown sons and one granddaughter.

In the legislature, Wordekemper states he will be “a strong, conservative voice for hardworking Nebraskans.” He intends to prioritize public safety, reign in state spending, and lower the property tax burden.

Anthony Hanson LD15

Anthony Hanson (R)

Anthony Hanson, 34, is running for the District 15 seat in the Legislature.  Hanson was born and raised in Osceola and is a 2008 graduate of Osceola High School. Growing up, he worked on the family farm where they grew commercial corn and soybeans and ran a small hog operation. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2012 from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he met his wife Dana.  They are both engineers working at Cargill in Blair.  Hanson previously worked for five years as an engineer at Becton Dickenson in Columbus.  He and Dana have lived for the past 10 years in Fremont, where they are raising three young children.

Hanson says understands the need for efficiency in all operations, especially government, and that he has seen firsthand how rampant inflation has impacted families, small businesses, and project budgets, and knows the importance of spending every dollar wisely.

Hanson says he is running to secure a bright future for his children.  He wants to put Nebraska first and uphold conservative, Christian values.  He says he will work toward a better tax climate that fosters an environment of growth and success, while promoting trades and business ownership in our state’s schools. He is also committed to fighting for parents’ rights and prioritizing protecting our children – defending the unborn, improving foster care and adoption services, and stopping the rampant trafficking in our state. He also says our infrastructure is extremely vulnerable to many unpredictable emergencies and we cannot be reliant on China and other foreign adversaries for Nebraska’s infrastructure needs.

Roxie Kracl LD15

Roxie Kracl (R)

Roxie Kracl is running for the District 15 seat in the Legislature. Kracl graduated from Fremont High School. She attended cosmetology school in Laramie before returning home.  She has worked for 35 years at Credit Bureau Services, a collections and account recovery agency.  She owns a bar and restaurant in downtown Fremont, LA Fireproof Door Company (which she calls “the Door”), that her youngest son manages.  Her oldest son works for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.

Kracl has been the Chair of the Dodge County GOP and now serves as Past-President.  She was previously a member of the Executive Committee for Nebraska GOP and has attended the last three Presidential Conventions as a delegate for Nebraska. She and her previous husband farmed near Fremont and have four children and three grandchildren.  Her children attended school in Arlington.  In 2010, Kracl Farms was the 2010 winner of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce’s Farm Family Excellence Award.  Kracl serves on the Fremont Chamber board of directors.  She was previously the chair of Fremont Days.

Kracl is running as a champion of Nebraska values—hard work, individual liberty, and fiscal responsibility. As a legislator, Kracl says she will work to improve Nebraska’s infrastructure, advocate for pro-life policies, defend the Second Amendment, stop government control over small businesses, and fight for Nebraska farmers.

Scott Thomas LD15

Scott Thomas (R)

Scott Thomas is a Trump supporter and running for the Legislature to protect children. A self-proclaimed human rights advocate with the U.S. Institute of Diplomacy and Human Rights and co-founder of Village in Progress, Scott lives in Fremont with his parents and has two children. An artist on the side, Scott works with immigrants, and is an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fremont. He has testified several times in support of Senator Kauth’s proposals, including her biometric data privacy bill.

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Peter Mayberry (D)

Peter Mayberry is running for the District 15 seat in the Legislature. Mayberry is a multi-laundromat owner and “serial entrepreneur.”  He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Kearney and a Trump supporter who has previously ran for office unsuccessfully.

District 17 (Albrecht, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 44.39% – Democrats: 32.39% – Independents: 23.22%

LD17

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Meyer-Headshot-1

Glen Meyer (R)

Glen Meyer of Wayne County is running for the District 17 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Raised in agriculture, Meyer graduated from Pender High School before going on to enjoy a career in farming and agri-business. Together, he and his wife, retired schoolteacher Lorie, have three children and seven grandchildren. He farmed west of the town of Pender, focusing on grain and livestock. His farming career and experience as District Sales Manager at Channel Seeds give him a unique perspective on the state of the state’s number-one industry.

Meyer served for nine years on the school board. He also served on the Northeast Nebraska Pork Producers board, St. Mary’s parish council, the Northeast Nebraska Board of Health, and the Region 4 Behavioral Health board. He is currently the Chairman of the Thurston County Board of Supervisors.  His website notes endorsements from U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts and U.S. Congressman Mike Flood.

Meyer’s focus in the legislature is, “protecting the second amendment, lowering the tax burden on our families and small businesses, and eliminating wasteful government spending.” Aside from his economic policies, Meyer remains a strong proponent of education, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

Cindy Kai LD17

Cindy Kai  (D)

Cindy Kai is running for the District 17 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Kai, 70, graduated from Wakefield High School after attending Wayne’s County School. She went on to attain her bachelor’s degree from Midland and then obtained her nursing degree from St. Xavier in Chicago, Illinois. A women’s health nurse by trade, Kai has served as an OB-GYN nurse and a full-scope nurse midwife in Illinois. While in Chicago, she met her husband, Bob. She has step-children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She and Bob returned to Nebraska, where he coaches golf and bowling at Pender High School.

In the Legislature, Kai hopes to represent the members of District 17 who feel unrepresented. Using her passion for learning and listening, Kai aims to serve the needs of her constituents in the Nebraska Legislature.

Mike Albrecht LD17

Mike Albrecht (R)

Mike Albrecht is running for the District 17 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Mike is the husband of current state Senator Joni Albrecht, who is unable to run again due to term limits. Albrecht is a fourth-generation farmer who married his wife in 2010. Together they raise cattle, operate a small feedlot, raise corn and soybeans, and have six grown children and 12 grandchildren. Albrecht is a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

In the legislature, Albrecht will prioritize pro-life bills, protecting Second Amendment rights, ensuring children receive a quality education, and fighting to bring meaningful property tax relief.

District 19 (Dover)

Republicans: 63.51% – Democrats: 16.65% – Independents: 19.84%

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Sen. Rob Dover LD19

Rob Dover (R)

District 19’s incumbent, Senator Rob Dover, is running for re-election. In July of 2022, then-Governor Ricketts announced the appointment of Robert Dover to represent Legislative District 19 following the resignation of Mike Flood after his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dover, 65, is a Norfolk entrepreneur and realtor with a history of community work in Norfolk, including fundraising efforts for the YMCA and United Way.  Dover earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wayne State College with majors in managerial finance and Spanish. He is president of multiple realty and property management companies including Coldwell Banker Dover Realtors, Dover Management Company, and American, Title and Escrow. He was a member of the Board of Directors for the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce. He and his wife, Ann, have four children.

In the legislature, Dover has served on the Appropriations Committee.  In 2023, he prioritized the constitutional amendment to allow state lawmakers to serve three consecutive terms.  This year he prioritized a bill brought to him by Farm Bureau to allow non-profit agricultural membership organizations or an affiliate to offer a non-insurance, affordable health benefit plan to its members.

Jeanne Reigle LD19

Jeanne M. Reigle (R)

Northeastern Nebraskan Jeanne (pronounced Jean) Reigle is running for the District 19 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Reigle, 65, graduated from Madison High School in Kent, Nebraska, before attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for two years. Reigle, an ag producer and rancher by trade, has “deep roots as a conservative Nebraskan.” She and her husband, John, married in 1982 and worked to expand their family’s cattle ranch, the Reigle Cattle Company. Together, Jeanne and John have four children and nine grandchildren, and are in the process of transitioning the Reigle Cattle Company down to their youngest son and his wife.

Reigle has served in multiple different capacities with Northeast Community College. She co-chaired an Agriculture and Water Nexus Capital Campaign and saw great success before going on to serve on the Northeast Community College Board of Governors. Reigle resigned from that position to run for the District 19 seat.

Jeanne plans to lead with her strong “common-sense” conservative values. Politically, her priority is addressing the high property tax rate. She has pledged to promote the Second Amendment, parent’s rights, and the lives of the unborn. She hopes to remove trade barriers, improve access to precision ag technologies, and bolster broadband connectivity in rural Nebraska once elected to the legislature. Motivated by her faith, family, and community, Reigle hopes to be a strong voice advocating for agriculture in the Nebraska Legislature.

Melissa Temple LD19

Melissa Temple (D)

Melissa Temple, 49, of Norfolk, is running for the District 19 seat in the legislature against incumbent Rob Dover. She completed her high school education in Maryland and went on to attend Northeast Community College, eventually obtaining her bachelor’s degree in K-12 Special Education from Indiana Wesleyan University and her M.A. in Social Justice and Innovation and Leadership from Klins College in Oregon. She also holds an M.Div and an M.A. in Christian Education from the Princeton Theological Seminary, learning ethics and political theology with a focus on ecology.

Temple has previously worked as a special education teacher for the Eastern Learning Center in Norfolk, where she helped found a non-profit to combat human trafficking and aid survivors. After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary, she went back to Norfolk to serve as the chaplain for St. Croix Hospice, where she currently educates children with autism, practices rural medicine hospice, and is working to get ordained at the church. Melissa is active in her community, serving as the vice president for the Norfolk Parks and Recreation Board and the Connections Project. She is also involved in the Norfolk community Theater and helps coach gymnastics at the YMCA.

Temple serves on the 15-county Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District board. Temple had raised a complaint against a fellow board member alleging he had spoken condescendingly to women testifying to the board, dismissed public health threats to women and children, and disparaged her intellect. The NRD Board stripped her position on NRD subcommittees and prohibited Temple for a year from being reimbursed for any board-related travel expenses outside the district or per-diem payments while working on board business—a decision that a district court ruled went too far.

Temple’s goals in the legislature include expanding access to rural healthcare, funding public schools and community colleges, providing affordable housing and childcare, expanding public transportation, retaining young talent in the state, advocating for those with disabilities and mental illnesses, structuring tax reform, and mitigating nitrates in groundwater.

District 21 (Ballard)

Republicans: 45.03% – Democrats: 28.93% – Independents: 26.04%

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Sen. Beau Ballard LD21

Beau Ballard (R)

Senator Beau Ballard, 29, is running to retain the District 21 seat he was appointed to in the Nebraska legislature. He was appointed in January 2023 to replace former state Senator, current Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers. Before his appointment, Senator Ballard served as a legislative aide to Senator Hilgers for six years. He was raised in northeastern Lancaster County and began knocking on doors in legislative district 21 when he was 12 when his grandfather, James Arthur Jeffers, ran for the same legislative seat. (Jeffers lost narrowly to Senator Ken Haar in 2008.) Jeffers founded the James Arthur Vineyards winery in Raymond, which his family continues to operate today, along with the From Nebraska Gift Shop in Lincoln. Senator Ballard is an owner of Rabbit Hole Bakery. Senator Ballard graduated from Parkview Christian High School in Lincoln in 2012 and earned a business administration and political science degree from Colorado Christian University in Denver in 2016.  Senator Ballard is engaged to married to his fiancé Katie.

In the Legislature, Senator Ballard serves on the Banking, Commerce and Insurance and Health and Human Services Committees.  He has championed legislation on enhancing workforce incentives, expanding pet insurance, and funding the East Beltway in Lincoln.  His 2024 priority bill is Senator Bostar’s Pacific Conflict Stress Test Act and the Foreign Adversary Contracting Prohibition Act.

Derner LD21

Seth Derner (D)

Seth Derner, 48, is running for the District 21 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. The seat is currently held by Senator Beau Ballard who was appointed by the Governor.

Derner grew up near Bartlett in Wheeler County on a cow-calf ranch. Derner earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a master’s degree in education leadership from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. He began his career as an agriculture teacher at Elgin Public Schools, then became an Education Specialist for the National FFA Organization. In 2006 he co-founded Vivayic Inc, a consulting company that provides support designing and implementing education programs, talent management services, learning experience design and development, and much more. Inc. Magazine recognized Vivayic as one of America’s fastest-growing private businesses six times in the past decade.

Derner is a founding member of the Neighbors United Methodist Church and Kiwanis of Northwest Lincoln and is a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau. He says he hopes to help put Nebraskans above partisan politics and restore common-sense solutions to the challenges our state faces every day. He and his wife, Carrie, have two sons.

Bryan Paseka LD21

Bryan Paseka (D)

Bryan Paseka is running for the District 21 seat in the Legislature. Paseka was born and raised in Fremont, Nebraska, and is a ​lifelong resident of eastern Nebraska. A 4th-generation ​Nebraskan, he graduated from the University of Nebraska ​system with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal ​justice. After graduation, he moved to Omaha and took a ​position with the Nebraska Department of Corrections where he ​served as a Corrections Corporal.

In 2015, Paseka moved back to Lincoln to pursue a career in the ​transportation sector. He currently holds an elected officer ​position within his local rail union.  Paseka lives in north Lincoln with his wife, Kimberly, son, and two dogs.

Paseka’s legislative priorities include fighting for dignity and equality for all, the right to affordable healthcare and medical privacy, high-quality childcare and education, and common sense in politics.

District 23 (Bostelman, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 61.51% – Democrats: 20.14% – Independents: 18.34%

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Dennis Fujan LD23

Dennis Fujan (R)

A fourth-generation Nebraska farmer, Dennis Fujan is running for District 23 in the Nebraska Legislature. Fujan is a lifelong resident of Saunders County.

Fujan, 76, has served on the boards of the American, Nebraskan, and Saunders County Soybean Associations. He has served as the president of both the state association and the county association. Fujan has also been on the Saunders County Farm Bureau board of directors, a director of the Nebraska Rural Radio Association, a member of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Saunders County Livestock Association, and a volunteer on the Prague Volunteer Fire Department for 25 years.

Fujan is a United States Navy veteran and a past post commander of the American Legion. He has been married for more than 50 years to his wife Pat, who is a homemaker.  They have two daughters and four grandchildren.  They are members of the Methodius Church in Clarkson. He took over his family farm in 1981, and currently runs it with the help of his nephew.

Fujan has said he is running to provide conservative leadership in the Legislature.  His priorities include fighting for family farmers, growing rural communities, defending gun owner rights, protecting the unborn, and supporting parental rights and local control of schools. He plans to focus on lowering property taxes in a way that is sustainable for the state. He wants to work with people on both sides of the aisle to find compromises using common-sense conservatism.

Alan Zavodny LD23

Alan Zavodny (R)

Alan Zavodny, 60, is running for the District 23 seat in the Nebraska Legislature.

Zavodny was raised on a farm outside of David City and graduated from David City High School and the University of Nebraska. He has worked 42 years in the field of developmental disabilities, the last 25 as the Chief Executive Officer of NorthStar Services, which serves people with developmental disabilities in 22 counties in Northeastern Nebraska.

Zavodny served 12 years (3 terms) as the Mayor of David City and owns over 300 acres of farmland in the area. His four primary priorities are agriculture, protecting the unborn, protecting Second Amendment rights, and providing tax relief.

Zavodny has served as a coach since 1991, primarily in basketball but also flag football, soccer, and baseball. He served on the Butler County Area Foundation Board and was Optimist Club President in both Fairbury and David City and has served on the Chamber of Commerce board. He served on the award-winning Nebraska Community Improvement Program committee in Fairbury and was named one of ten Outstanding Young Nebraskans. He also served on the David City Housing Development Corporation and has received numerous recognitions for his time as Mayor and with NorthStar. He is active in his church and community.

Zavodny and his wife Rhonda (Divis) Zavodny have been married 34 years and have two sons; Zachary, 23, who is attending medical school at UNMC, and Clayton, 17, who is a senior at David City High School. In the legislature, Zavodny plans to prioritize property tax relief while ensuring that Nebraska’s keep systems can run smoothly, although he is not in favor the EPIC tax. He hopes to bring his skills of economic development from his experience as David City mayor to the Nebraska Legislature.

Wolff LD23

Jacob Wolff (R)

Jacob Wolff, 28, is running for the District 23 seat in the Nebraska Legislature – despite not living in the district at the time he announced his candidacy.

Wolff attended high school at Roncalli Catholic High School and graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in Ocean Engineering. He then served five years in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Wolff and his wife, Brittany, a family and lifestyle photographer, have two dogs. They are expecting their first child in April 2024.

Throughout his career in the Civil Engineer Corps, Wolff managed in part the spending of taxpayer dollars. As a sailor, he led high-risk diving operations worldwide, from Greenland to Cyprus. He also led a refugee camp in Spain for Afghani refugees in 2021.

In the legislature, Wolff plans to prioritize policies that further agricultural-technology development, promote economic growth, lay foundations for generation building, make tax relief tangible, push for greater development in broadband for rural communities, and guard against government overreach. He wants to make Nebraska a better place to invest in for both businesses and families. As a fifth-generation Nebraska –with a sixth on the way, Wolff seeks to preserve Nebraska for future Nebraskans using his Navy experience.

Jared Storm LD23

Jason Storm (R)

Jared Storm is running for the District 23 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Originally from Kansas, Storm, 52, graduated from Scotty Community High School. He earned his bachelor’s in kinesiology from Kansas University and his bachelor’s in teaching from Fort Hayes State University while also

obtaining his commercial pilot’s license on his own. After a year of teaching, Storm began his career working as a pilot for a local operator in Nebraska, before eventually starting Storm Flying Service in 2004. His company provides services to farmers and seed corn companies performing aerial applications. In 2011, Storm purchased a company, renaming is Storm Aeronautics, to perform aircraft maintenance and parts manufacturing.

Storm and his wife, Colleen, have six children (ages 25, 16, 15, 13, 12, and 8).  Storm has been involved with the National Agricultural Aviation Association, NRA, and Representative Mike Flood’s campaign for Congress. He served on the board of the Nebraska Aviation Trades Association and the board of the Wahoo Airport Authority.

In the Legislature, Storm hopes to represent conservative values. He is pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-law enforcement, pro-school choice, and pro-agriculture. As a fiscal conservative, Storm hopes to run Nebraska like a business. He aims to lower property taxes, fighting to be a pro-business, pro-family, and pro-life voice in Nebraska’s legislative body.  He says he “will protect our kids and women’s rights against the woke left, and will ensure quality K-12 education to prepare our kids to be the next generation of Nebraska’s leaders.”

Allie French LD23

Allie French (R)

Allie French, 30, is running for the District 23 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. She grew up in Omaha, graduating from Millard South High School and attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for a short time before she moved back home to Omaha. She currently resides in Prague with her fiancé, Scott.  French and her fiancé are small business owners of Anglers Allie, a live bait shop, located on the southside across the street from Czechland Lake. Scott also owns Emergency Refrigeration, an HVAC and refrigeration company.  She has two young children.  Her website also describes her experience giving up a child for an open adoption when she became pregnant during college.

French co-founded Millions March Against Mandatory Vaccination, a global grassroots group for medical freedom. She also founded and currently leads Nebraskans Against Government Overreach, which aims to influence local and state government as well as support local businesses and raise awareness on the effects of government overreach.

French’s goals in the legislature include supporting pro-life and pro-second amendment legislation, fostering school choice for parents and their children, supporting law enforcement, advocating for the EPIC tax option, and promoting a free and fair market for the growth and use of cannabis.

Larissa Schultz LD23

Larissa Schultz (D)

Larissa Schultz is running for the District 23 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Schultz is a small business owner, yoga instructor, beekeeper, and events manager. She has a passion for providing nutritious food to all citizens of Nebraska and works for a non-profit organization that rescues retail food waste and distributes it to food pantries. She also has her own vegetable garden which she donates from.

Schultz is the chair of the Saunders County Democratic Party, president of the Nebraska Young Democrats, and a member of the Farmers Union of Nebraska and the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.

Key issues of importance to Schultz are health care access for rural communities, clean water, medical freedom, quality education, and keeping Nebraska youth in the state. Her campaign website also touts a commitment to “a new nonpartisan unicameral” and a promise to “check [her] party affiliation at the door.”

District 25 (Bosn)

Republicans: 49.15% – Democrats: 28.62% – Independents: 22.24%

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Sen. Carolyn Bosn LD25

Carolyn Bosn (R)

Senator Carolyn Bosn is running for reelection in the District 25 seat. Bosn, 41, was born and raised in Columbus, Nebraska. She received a BA in Political Science from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She earned her law degree from Creighton University, graduating in 2009 with a concentration in criminal law and procedure. During law school, she worked as a law clerk in the Platte County and Douglas County Attorneys’ Offices. Upon graduation, she worked as a Deputy County Attorney in the Saunders County Attorney’s Office. From 2010-2017, she worked as a prosecutor in the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office, serving under Lancaster County Attorneys Joe Kelly and Pat Condon. In that role, she handled juvenile law and child welfare cases and prosecuted domestic assault and narcotics cases.

Seven years ago, Bosn resigned from her position to stay at home with her four young children. She helps her husband Reggie manage their family business, Bosn Service Company, a commercial HVAC service company. She taught at the University of Nebraska College of Law as an adjunct trial advocacy professor for four years and has helped coach the law school’s trial team.

In the legislature, Bosn serves on the Judiciary and Transportation & Telecommunications Committee.  She has championed legislation to strengthen consumer protections, increase criminal penalties for drug distribution resulting in death and serious bodily injury, and expand access to continuous glucose monitors for women with gestational diabetes.

Behmer Popp LD25

Nicki Behmer Popp (I)

Nicki Behmer Popp is running for the District 25 seat in the Nebraska Legislature.  She was elected in 2021 as nonpartisan to serve on the Lincoln Airport Authority board.  The position is an unpaid six-year term on the Airport Authority, which meets once a month and is responsible for managing the Lincoln Airport and its industrial park.

Behmer Popp, 39, graduated from Hastings High School and received a B.A. from Hastings College and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska before she and her husband, Josh, started the Provision Realty group. She serves on the boards of Civic Nebraska and Friends of Lied.

Behmer Popp is a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Realtor’s Association of Lincoln, serving on the public policy subcommittee.  She previously worked as a legislative staffer at the Nebraska Legislature and with the Jensen Rogert lobbying firm.

Behmer Popp is interested in prioritizing affordable housing, promoting small business, and protecting public education. She and her husband have two sons, Hayden and Ian.

Zeb LD24

Maher Aurang Zeb (L)

Aurang Zeb, 55, has ran unsuccessfully for the Lincoln Airport Authority Board twice, running as a Democrat in 2019, losing to Nick Cusick, and losing to fellow LD25 candidate Nicki Behmer Popp in 2021.  He also lost a race for an at-large city council seat in 2022.

Zeb, a Pakistani immigrant who moved to Lincoln in 2003, flips houses and runs a painting company.

Chief among his priorities is the need for more prudence in government spending.  Zeb also would seek to make housing more affordable and build stronger neighborhoods.

District 27 (Wishart, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 37.54% – Democrats: 33.45% – Independents: 29.01%

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Prokop

Jason Prokop (D)

Jason Prokop, 42, is running for the District 27 seat in the Nebraska Legislature to replace Senator Wishart, and he has her endorsement. Prokop attended Crete High School and obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science and communication studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University. After college, he spent time in Washington D.C., serving U.S. Senator Ben Nelson as his legislative director and senior policy advisor, and he was also the Chief of Staff to the Nelson when he was CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. After returning to Nebraska, Jason served as the External Affairs Manager at the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

Prokop currently serves as the Director of First Five Nebraska, a nonprofit organization centered around early childhood care and education, overseeing its policy and communications work. Jason is proud of the policy work that has taken place through this organization, as it has given families access to childcare and helped providers serve Nebraska families. He resides in Lincoln with his wife of ten years, Jennifer, who works in the senior care industry, and their two children.

Prokop’s priorities in the legislature include bringing people together for compromise, recruiting and retaining talent to the state to relieve the workforce crisis, fixing our tax system to lower property taxes, expanding access to affordable healthcare, supporting first responders to ensure community safety, and providing quality education through supporting teachers and public schools.

Dawn Liphardt LD27

Dawn Liphardt (R)

Dawn Liphardt, 58, is running for District 27 in the Legislature to fill the seat of term-limited Senator Anna Wishart. She is a tax accountant who has run her own tax and accounting business from her home for the past 30 years.

Liphardt graduated from Lincoln High School and received her bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She has been involved in her church board doing financial and fundraising work, as well as parent-teacher organizations.  Her husband Martin has a doctorate in physics and works for J.A. Woollam Company, a science technology company, doing physics, engineering, and patent work.  The couple has two children, who are in college and graduate school; they were adopted as infants and attended Lincoln Public Schools.

In May 2023, members of the Nebraska GOP approved Dawn Liphardt to serve as the party’s executive director. She described herself as a “citizen on the sideline” for most of her life when it came to politics, until she attended her first Lancaster County GOP meeting in March 2020. Liphardt said she was motivated to attend after witnessing the turmoil in national politics, particularly centered around education, election integrity, and gun rights. What started as a desire to know more led to Liphardt volunteering for some local Republican campaigns, and eventually saw her appointed as the Lancaster County GOP’s executive director in November 2021.  She was a part of the GOP “makeover,” shaking up the leadership and governance of the party.

“I’m so passionate about getting this state back on track,” Liphardt said.  “Together, we can bring about positive change, ensure economic prosperity, and uphold the proven principles that make Nebraska great.”  Liphardt is focused on fiscal responsibility, helping businesses be successful by cutting burdensome regulations, and helping create a bright future for our state’s children.

District 29 (Bostar)

Republicans: 34.50% – Democrats: 39.64% – Independents: 25.85%

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Sen. Eliot Bostar LD29

Eliot Bostar (D)

Senator Eliot Bostar, 36, is running unopposed for re-election to represent District 29 in the Nebraska Legislature. Bostar was first elected in 2020, beating Republican challenger Jacob Campbell with 53% of the vote in what was one of the most expensive legislative races in recent history. 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 two young children. 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 was a member of the Lincoln Electric System’s board of directors and and the Mayor’s Climate Resiliency Task Force.  He is the Chair of Assemble Lincoln, established in 2023 to create and provide recommendations to the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners regarding development and operation of a convention center in the City of Lincoln.

Bostar’s priorities include ensuring a quality education for children, creating good-paying jobs, protecting the environment, making health care accessible and affordable, and creating a more fair tax system. In the legislature, Bostar serves on the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee; the Revenue Committee; and the Executive Board.

In announcing his reelection bid, Bostar touted his work to fund a second water source and a new convention center for Lincoln as well as efforts to lower health care costs for patients by capping the cost of insulin and requiring insurance companies to pay for breast cancer and colorectal cancer screenings. He  also highlighted his efforts to make child care and housing more affordable while aiming to stimulate workforce development by adding resources to training programs to help workers gain access to higher-paying jobs.

District 31 (Kauth)

Republicans: 45.77% – Democrats: 26.65% – Independents: 27.58%

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Sen. Kathleen Kauth LD31

Kathleen Kauth (R)

Senator Kathleen Kauth is running for reelection to the District 31 seat. Kauth was initially appointed June 7, 2022, following the death of Senator Rich Pahls in April of that year.  Kauth, an Omaha business owner and legal professional, owns a consulting and mediation business alongside husband Andrew Fisher. Kauth initially won re-election in November of 2022, defeating Democrat Tim Royers and earning 53% of the vote, to represent District 31 through January 2025. Now, she’s hoping to extend her seat through 2028.

Kauth earned degrees from the University of Northern Iowa, including a bachelor’s degree in criminology and sociology and a master’s degree in public policy. Additionally, she has a graduate certification in gerontology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is president of her mediation and conflict coaching firm, K.T. Beck Enterprises, where she utilizes her knowledge to specialize in Eldercare Mediation, helping families navigate through decisions as family members age. In the legislature, Kauth serves on the Revenue Committee and the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee.  In 2023, she has prioritized legislation to restrict hormone therapy and ban gender-affirming surgeries for minors, which drew strong opposition and a prolonged filibuster before passage. Her 2024 priority selection was the Sports and Spaces Act, which seeks to prohibit participation in interscholastic K-12 athletics and locker room used based on biological gender.

Mary Ann Folchert LD31

Mary Ann Folchert (D)

Mary Ann Folchert is running against Senator Kathleen Kauth for the District 31 seat in the Nebraska Legislature.

Folchert attended Westside High School before earning degrees in elementary and special education from Miami University in Ohio and resource teaching and learning disabilities from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Folchert worked as a teacher in the Westside school district until she resigned to focus on raising her children.

Folchert has volunteered in her children’s schools, their family church, and in the community. On her campaign website, Folchert says, “Nebraskans need sensible, honest, and open-minded lawmakers who will work together to create legislation that reflects the needs of our communities.”

Folchert and her husband, Daren, have two daughters and a son.

District 33 (Halloran, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 62.51% – Democrats: 18.21% – Independents: 19.29

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Michelle Smith LD33

Michelle Smith (D)

Michelle Smith, 39, is running for the District 33 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Born and raised in Hastings, Smith graduated from Doniphan-Trumbull High School. Her son, Jordan Whitlock, 20, graduated from St. Cecilia High School and is currently pursuing a degree in physics and secondary education.

Smith first got her associate’s degree at Central Community College before going on to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hastings College. Smith has also earned two master’s degrees: an M.A. in Counseling from Doane University and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University. She started off as a provisional therapist in Geneva for four years, after which she opened her private practice in Hastings in 2014. In addition to working as a mental health therapist for children, adolescents, and families, she has served as an Adjunct Professor for Doane University.

Smith owns and works at Sunrise Inspirations, PC, a counseling office in Hastings. Smith believes her “experience as a therapist will allow [her] to empathetically listen, understand, and advocate for all constituents in the District.”

In the legislature, Smith’s number one priority is to address mental healthcare. Through therapist education programs, she wants to make sure residents have access to quality mental healthcare and healthcare in general. Smith plans to take on the workforce shortage to further economic development. This also means addressing the housing needs of these new professionals coming in. She also wants to further support agriculture in the state. She’s a born-and-raised-local voice who plans to work together to address issues in communities.

Dan Lonowksi LD33

Dan Lonowski (R)

Dan Lonowski is running for the District 33 seat in the Nebraska Legislature.

Lonowski retired in 2023 after 34 years of teaching. At Adams Central, he taught English and Spanish as well as coached boys and girls wrestling. He also retired from the National Guard in 2016; during his time in the service, he was deployed to Afghanistan and went on several overseas missions near the Demilitarized Zone in the Republic of Korea. Currently, Lonowski works as a project coordinator for Area Substance & Alcohol Abuse Prevention, traveling to schools to educate students on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Lonowski and his wife, Janet, have five children and six grandchildren.

In the legislature, Lonowski hopes to advocate for free-market capitalism as a foundation for economy and job creation, with a focus on creating a consumption tax to replace property, income, inheritance, and corporate taxes.

 

Paul Hamelink LD33

Paul Hamelink (R)

Paul Hamelink is running for the District 33 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Hailing from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, Hamelink moved to Nebraska to work as a Senior Living Administrator at Good Samaritan Village. From there, he began to work as a Senior Instructor and consultant for the National Center for Housing Management. In this position, he trains housing authorities, property managers, and industry professionals across the country. This position also brought about his appointment by Governor Pete Ricketts to a third term on the Nebraska Commission for Housing and Homelessness in 2022. He and his wife, Sandra, own and operate Paul’s Cigar Lounge, which has locations in Hastings and Norfolk. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Hamelink has served as president of the Hastings City Council and Hastings Noon Rotary. He was also on the board for the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce and the Hastings Community Theater and directed his church’s choir. He currently works on the Steering Committee for the Community Impact Network to reduce poverty by 30% by 2030.

Hamelink hopes to use his conservative values to lower taxes, support small businesses, address housing shortages, and revive rural workforces in the Nebraska State Legislature. His number one priority is economic development. By making Nebraska a tax-friendly state, Hamelink aims to incentivize businesses while passing policies that would support their workforces by focusing on housing and affordable daycare. Hamelink hopes to bring his integrity and work ethic to the Legislature to grow Nebraska.

Joshua Frederick LD33

Joshua Frederick (R)

Joshua Frederick, 27, is running for the District 33 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. He was home-schooled alongside five siblings, where he says he “learned about his Savior Jesus Christ, the fundamentals of being a man, and the foundations of our country made manifest in the national constitution.” He went on to the University of Nebraska Lincoln to obtain a bachelor’s degree in architecture. After graduation, he ended up in Alabama and soon enlisted in the U.S. Army, becoming a Cavalry Scout and serving in the 3rd Infantry Division 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, where he was deployed on a rotation in South Korea. However, Joshua separated from the U.S. Army after not compromising his religious convictions and refusing the COVID-19 vaccination and fighting against the requirement, which prompted him to run for the legislature.

Frederick currently works with his father as an architectural designer and project manager at Master Builder Associates. He lives in Juniata with his wife and two children, with another baby on the way.

Frederick’s goals in the legislature included supporting pro-life legislation, protecting First and Second Amendment rights, and eliminating property taxes through the EPIC tax option.

District 35 (Aguilar)

Republicans: 43.49% – Democrats: 28.75% – Independents: 27.76%

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Sen. Ray Aguilar LD35

Ray Aguilar (R)

Senator Raymond Aguilar, 76, 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. He is the Chair of the Executive Board and serves on the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.  His 2024 priority legislation was Senator Jen Day’s bill to require Nebraska to accept the federal summer nutrition benefits for students, which Governor Pillen originally refused, but later changed his mind about—crediting Senator Aguilar for helping to educate him on the issue.  Last year he prioritized a bill to add a judge for Hall and Buffalo County.  In 2020, Aguilar defeated then-incumbent Senator Dan Quick, taking 53.6% of the vote in the general election after earning only 37% against Quick’s 63% in the primary.

Dan Quick

Dan Quick (D)

Former Senator Dan Quick is running once again for the District 35 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Quick, 65, served in the Legislature from 2016 until 2020, before losing the seat to Senator Ray Aguilar, earning 46% of the general election vote, a difference of 882 votes.

While in office previously, Quick helped pass legislation to increase access to education, decrease access to tobacco and vape products for Nebraska youth, and combat human trafficking in our state. In the coming years, Quick hopes to address issues such as housing and transportation for Nebraskans in poverty as well as problems with the juvenile justice system.

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 boards of Central Community College, Heartland United Way, and Nebraska Alliance of Child Advocacy Centers. Prior to his work in the Legislature, Quick worked at Grand Island’s Power Plant and served as President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1597 and the Nebraska State Utility Workers Conference.

District 37 (Lowe, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 58.39% – Democrats: 19.28% – Independents: 22.33

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Stan Clouse LD37

Stanley Clouse (R)

Stanley Clouse, 66, is running for the District 37 seat in the Nebraska Legislature with support from the former Speaker of the Legislature, Senator Galen Haldley. Clouse has served as the Mayor of Kearney since 2006, delivering millions in capital projects to the area and keeping the lowest property tax levy of first-class municipalities.  He served on the Kearney City Council for 20 years. He says he enjoys the economic development work of being mayor.  Clouse helped to recruit a company to build Nebraska’s largest solar farm in Kearney’s TechoNE technology park. He also brought a data center company to town and prepared young people enrolled in Leadership Kearney and Leadership Nebraska.

Clouse is also a 40-year-plus employee of the Nebraska Public Power District; he began as a construction worker building the Gerald Gentleman Station at Sutherland and currently is an account manager. He is involved in the Kearney community through Rotary International, Leadership Kearney, TeamMates, Make-A-Wish, Junior Achievement, and New Life Church. Clouse and his wife, Leann, lost their only child, Jeremiah, to inoperable brain cancer when the boy was 8. Then Leann died from cancer in 2010.

If elected, Clouse would work to lower property taxes, advocate for farmers and ranchers, protect the right to life, attract new businesses and investments to the state, protect First and Second Amendment rights, and ensure quality education.

Lana Peister LD37

Lana Peister (R)

Lana Peister is running for the District 37 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Peister, 44, has lived in Buffalo County nearly her whole life. Graduating from Gibbon high school, Peister went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, a bachelor’s in nursing from Creighton University, and a master’s degree in nursing education from Methodist College in Omaha. She has been married to her husband, Cameron, for twenty years.

Peister has worked as a registered nurse for twenty years and is an active member of her community. She works for Good Samaritan Hospital, a surgical center, and a rural county hospital in Minden. She has volunteered with many local and regional organizations and served on the board of directors for the Kearney Area Animal Shelter, where she regularly donates in honor of one of her four dogs.

Peister pledges to promote conservative values, including “freedom from vaccine and mask mandates, protecting the unborn, and advocating for available housing and local business incentives.” She is also concerned with tax burdens, voter integrity, and protecting women sports. Her main priority in the legislature is keeping the quality of life in her district high through measures to keep communities safe, protect children provide tax relief, uphold the Second Amendment, and bolster economic growth.  She is endorsed by Senators Loren Lippincott and Steve Erdman.

Nathan Leach LD37

Nathan Leach (I)

Nathan Leach, 27, is running for the District 37 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. A 2015 graduate of Kearney High School, Leach attended a semester at the University of Nebraska at Kearney before becoming a legislative page in the Arizona State Senate. He then joined organizers of a ballot initiative for nonpartisan/open primary elections in South Dakota. Following that campaign, Nathan enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard as a 27D Paralegal Specialist. He obtained a medical discharge in 2020.

In 2016, Leach founded and became volunteer executive director of Nonpartisan Nebraska, which works to preserve the nonpartisan structure of the Nebraska Legislature. He was also the past voter rights field organizer for Civic Nebraska, is a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians, and serves as a board member for the Norris Institute.

Leach’s priority in the legislature is to preserve Nebraska’s nonpartisan Legislature, hoping to bring the Legislature back to the “foundational principles and positive relationship-building in the face of growing partisanship.”

District 39 (Linehan, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 54.07% – Democrats: 20.56% – Independents: 25.37%

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Tony Sorrentino LD39

Tony Sorrentino (R)

Tony Sorrentino, 69, is running for the 39th  District seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Sorrentino is a certified public accountant, attorney, and a certified life underwriter/chartered financial consultant. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Creighton University, where he stayed to earn his juris doctorate. He has spent 45 years providing services. He and his wife of 43 years, Kate, have four children and six grandchildren. He currently works as an adjunct professor of Law at Creighton University and is the President and Founder of the Health Plan Fiduciary Compliance LLC, an organization that specializes in federal compliance with employer-sponsored healthcare plans, Medicare, Medicaid, and medical malpractice. He serves as a volunteer coach for the Creighton University Cross Country and Track and Field teams and is himself an accomplished long-distance runner.

In the legislature, Sorrentino intends to enact policies centered on fiscal responsibility, building for the future, and keeping government small. His plan is to fix the tax climate so that it can become a place where Nebraskans stay throughout their careers and into retirement.

Allison Heimes LD39

Allison Heimes (I)

Allison Heimes, 33, is running for the District 39 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Heimes graduated from Lincoln Southeast before going to receive a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a law degree from Creighton University. She currently works as an immigration attorney at Brown Immigration Law, representing corporations pursuing a talented workforce from across the globe. She and her husband, Benjamin, have lived in Elkhorn for 13 years, and have three children and two dogs. Heimes serves on the loss advisory board of the Kim Foundation as a commitment to suicide prevention and response.

Heimes’s priority in the legislature is providing better mental health resources to communities. As a people-centric candidate, she plans to introduce legislation that would expand mental health wings in hospitals and create crisis intervention teams so that there are more options for people struggling with mental health crisis than the emergency room or the police. Aside from her focus on mental health, Heimes also plans to address property taxes, fight for accessible childcare, and introduce solutions to key workforce shortages.

Heimes ran for this seat as a Democrat in 2020, earning 44% of the vote in a loss to Senator Lou Ann Linehan.

 

District 41 (Meyer)

Republicans: 69.03% – Democrats: 16.40% – Independents: 14.56%

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Daniel McKeon LD41

Daniel McKeon (R)

Daniel McKeon is running for the District 41 seat in the legislature. McKeon, 57, grew up on his family farm, participating in Eagle Scouts and FFA, until he attended the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and decided to join the Nebraska Army National Guard. Today, he works as an agronomy consultant and entrepreneur, lending his expertise to serve farmers in a role he describes as “crop coach.” He has been a farmer for 10 years.

McKeon is also involved in the Nebraska LEAD Program, an agricultural leadership development program, and has been a high school wrestling official for 33 years, mentoring young athletes. He resides in Amherst with his wife of 28 years, Traci, and their four children.

In the legislature, McKeon intends to reduce spending to lower taxes, preserve parental choice in education, support policies to protect farmers and ranchers, safeguard natural resources, support rural hospitals and nursing homes, advocate for veteran support, and defend the Constitution.

Nadine Bane LD41

Nadine Bane (R)

Nadine Bane is running for the District 41 seat in the Nebraska Legislature.

Bane, 65, was born in Detroit, and graduated high school from Sterling Heights, Michigan. She has lived in District 41 for 35 years. Bane has had experience in a wide array of fields, including trucking, farming, and home healthcare. She has two adult children and five grandchildren. Her son is an Iraq war veteran and her daughter is a registered nurse for a public school system in Elko, Nevada. Bane is still active with home healthcare, driving folks to their medical appointments when necessary. She is currently serving as the Vice Chairwoman for the Greeley County GOP.

Bane’s top priorities in the legislature will be property rights, child safety and education, support for veterans and military personnel, and rural housing and broadband access. As a self-described “Ronald Reagan conservative Republican,” Nadine aims to pass legislation that is good for seniors, supports veterans, and defends education. She hopes to use her conversational talents to find common ground with potential colleagues in the legislature.

Ethan Clark LD41

Ethan Clark (R)

Ethan Clark, 27, is running for the District 41 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Clark graduated from Papillion La Vista South. Clark received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and currently works in marketing and communications for AKRS Equipment (one of the nation’s largest John Deere dealerships) at its offices in Ord and Lincoln. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have two dogs, and are expecting their first child this year.  Elizabeth was a former staffer for District 41 Senator Tom Briese and currently is a payroll coordinator for Canvass America, which develops voter contact plans for campaigns.

Clark has previously worked for public officials at the state and federal levels, gaining experience drafting, researching, and advocating for legislation. At the state level, Clark was the administrative assistant for former Senator Andrew La Grone of LD49, before going on to work various jobs in Washington for Representative Adrian Smith, Representative Jake LaTurner, and Senator Deb Fischer. Previous legislation he’s worked with includes education curriculum, property tax reform, rural economic development, and election protection. Clark currently volunteers at TeamMates of Ord, Valley County Health System Foundation, and Greater Loup Valley Activities Incorporation.

In the legislature, Clark is hoping to lower tax burdens, provide economic development, fight for agriculture, advocate for the unborn, uphold Second Amendment rights, protect elections, and support education. With plans to “show the district and the state that rural Nebraska is a great place to move, live, and raise a family,” Clark aims to focus on rural economic development by supporting small businesses and targeting the lack of workforce housing.

District 43 (Brewer, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 75.15% – Democrats: 11.05% – Independents: 13.80%

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Tanya Storer LD43

Tanya Storer (R)

Tanya Storer is running for the District 43 seat in the Nebraska Legislature with support from U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts, and U.S. Congressman Mike Flood. Tanya and her husband, Eric, reside in Whitman, where they run a cattle operation. They have three grown children.

Tanya has served as the Cherry County Commissioner for eight years, as well as the vice chair of the Nebraska Brand Committee and the chair of the Niobrara Council. She is also involved in Blueprint Nebraska as a board member, the Nebraska DOT Innovation Task Force, the UNMC Advisory Board, and the Region 4 Behavioral Health Board.

Storer’s goals in the legislature include defending constitutional freedoms, protecting conservative values, providing real tax relief, being a voice for agriculture, and expanding rural economic opportunities.

Storer ran for this seat in 2020, earning 42% of the vote in a defeat to Senator Tom Brewer.

Tony Tangwall LD43

Tony Tangwall (R)

Tony Tangwall is running for the District 43 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Tangwall, 54, moved to Nebraska in 2001, as he and his wife appreciated the beauty of the land and the people in the state. He and his wife live in Whitney, where they raise beef cattle and irrigate hay on the family ranch. The two have three grown children and four grandchildren. Tangwall is also the founder and senior pastor of Spirit Faith Church, a nondenominational Christian church in Chadron. He owns the Bunkhouse Motel in Chardon and is board president of the Rural Water District #1 in Dawes County.

In the legislature, Tangwall plans to work toward “lowering taxes, strengthening agriculture, and enforcing our laws for the safety and growth of our communities.”  A proponent of the EPIC tax, Tangwall aims to prioritize legislation to reduce the property tax burden, advocate for solutions to support elders in Nebraska, and represent western Nebraska in a genuine, fair fashion. Tangwall testified before the State Board of Education in favor of Commissioner Kirk Penner’s measure to define and ban sexually explicit materials in school libraries, saying there is a tide rising to defend parents’ rights.

District 45 (Sanders)

Republicans: 38.99% – Democrats: 28.47% – Independents: 32.54%

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Sen. Rita Sanders LD45

Rita Sanders (R)

Rita Sanders, 65, of Bellevue is running for the District 45 seat in the Legislature. 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 was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Her father is of Filipino descent and her mother is of German descent. As a teenager, Sanders moved to Germany for 5 years, then to Livermore, California. In 1983 Rita moved to Bellevue, Nebraska, where she started a family. Sanders continues to take classes at Bellevue University.  She is an accomplished rock climber, bicyclist, and marathon runner.

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. She serves on the Education Committee and the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.

She has supported tax relief and legislation to exempt military retirement and social security from taxes, championed Nebraska’s largest-ever state investment in K-12 education (providing $1500 in state aid for every student), voted for $50 million in workforce housing grant, and approved of prohibitions for gender-altering surgery for minors.  In 2024, Senator Sanders prioritized a proposed constitutional amendment to  Constitutional amendment to provide for life imprisonment for sex or labor trafficking of a minor and certain sex offenses involving minors.  She has previously prioritized legislation to give parents greater access to and involvement in learning materials in schools.

Sanders was elected with 53.5% of the vote in 2020, defeating Democrat Susan Hester.

Sarah Centineo LD45

Sarah Centineo (D)

is running for the District 45 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. After graduating from Abraham Lincoln in Council Bluffs, Centineo, 50, obtained her associate’s nursing degree from the University of Iowa. She worked bedside as a pediatric and neonatal intensive care nurse at Children’s hospital for 15 years. After earning a law degree from Creighton University, Centineo then began to practice as an attorney representing people who have been injured by medical negligence.

Centineo has been elected to the Bellevue Public Schools board twice. In this role she has been involved in contract negotiations, expanding learning opportunities, and advocating for additional health and educational resources. In the past several years, she has appeared before the Legislature several times to advocate for students and public schools. Centineo and her husband, Joe, have two sons, 20 and 17.

A self-described fighter for the little guy, Centineo hopes to be a representative for the most vulnerable in the Nebraska Legislature. Her two key priorities are education and healthcare. She aims to address the nursing shortage in Nebraska and ensure that public schools are well supported and that physicians are compensated for their work.

District 47 (Erdman, Term-Limited)

Republicans: 68.58% – Democrats: 12.58% – Independents: 18.84%

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Paul Strommen LD47

Paul Strommen (R)

Paul Strommen is running for the District 47 seat in the legislature. Strommen, 54, was born in New York, graduating from North Shore High School in Long Island, and later went to the University of Colorado Denver to obtain his bachelor’s degree in arts and science, with an interest in neuroscience and behavioral psychology. In Colorado, he met his wife, Kendra; in 2006, the two moved to Nebraska, his wife’s home state, and then to Sidney, where the have resided since 2013.

Strommen helped build a major ethanol plant in Sidney, focusing on the plant’s business development. Strommen serves on the Sidney city council and was appointed to serve as deputy mayor, where he focuses on economic development, affordable housing, and reducing the tax burden. He was appointed to the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission by then-Governor Ricketts, where he works to ensure the development of Nebraska’s oil and natural gas resources while also promoting health and safety. He names himself “a champion of the Nebraska ethanol industry,” serving as an executive with Mid America Bio Energy and Commodities, which is an ethanol plant in Perkins County.

In the legislature, Paul’s goals include supporting an environment that attracts businesses and promotes agriculture, voting to protect innocent life, ensuring Second Amendment rights, bolstering parental rights in schools, standing with law enforcement, protecting our water rights, and maximizing the benefits of ethanol. He aims to move legislation to expand workforce housing in western Nebraska, further economic development, aie costs of health and childcare, and lower property taxes.

Larry Bolinger LD47

Larry Bolinger (D)

Larry Bolinger, 55, is running for the District 47 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. He was born and raised in Alliance, joining the U.S. Air Force after his high school graduation. He attended tech school for structural education in Texas and served in the 26th Civil Engineering Squadron in Germany, going on to then join the Army National Guard based in Alliance Nebraska. At 49, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in criminology from the University of Nebraska Omaha and went on to get his master’s in public administration from Bellevue University.

Bolinger has been running his own contractor business for more than 20 years and has authored more than 18 books, with topics ranging from self-defense to politics. He has run for a multitude of offices, was on the Alliance Planning Commission, was Chairman of the Legal Marijuana Now Party of Nebraska, has raised funds for nonprofits, and volunteered with the Active Alliance Initiative and the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS).

Bolinger is running for Legislature on his Nebraska First Initiative, a program that emphasizes the state entering into contracts for things like energy with Nebraskan businesses. He also plans to advocate for greater access for mental health and drug rehabilitation clinics to ensure there is enough help for the people who need it in the state of Nebraska. He wants to reduce the recidivism rate, as well as advance policies that encourage technological innovation. He aims to be a voice with the people, for the people in the Nebraska Legislature.

District 49 (Day)

Republicans: 45.41% – Democrats: 24.78% – Independents: 29.78%

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Sen. Jen Day LD49

Jen Day (D)

Senator Jen Day is running to continue to serve District 49. Day, 42, lives in La Vista with her husband Jon, and their two boys, Canyon and Noah. Day is a 1999 graduate of Papillion-La Vista High School and graduated from the 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 previously owned a gym alongside her husband: Artis Strength & Fitness/Artis Barbell. Day was the Vice President of the Friends of Planned Parenthood Board. She is a fitness coach and on the Nebraska Local Weightlifting Committee.

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.  Her 2024 priority bill provides for a prorated homestead exemption for property tax relief to veterans who are partially disabled due to a service-related disability.  Her 2023 priority bill expanded eligibility for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  Day serves on the General Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Urban Affairs Committees.  She is the Chair of the State-Tribal Relations Committee.

Day defeated then-incumbent Senator Andrew La Grone in 2020 by 252 votes.

Bob Andersen LD49

Bob Andersen (R)

Bob Andersen is running for the District 49 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Andersen, 61, graduated from Seaton Hill High School, going on to obtain his bachelor’s degree in business from Peru State. Andersen served in the United States Air Force from 1982 until 2003, working as a Russian linguist, signal analyst, and as aircrew in the RC-135 aircraft. During his tenure with the Air Force, Andersen was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base on three separate occasions. Andersen met his wife, Julie, while stationed at Offutt and they have lived in Nebraska since his retirement in 2003. The couple have two sons, Joe and Jack. Since his retirement from the Air Force, he has worked for a defense contractor and formed the Defense Scientific and Technical Services, a non-profit research organization.

Andersen’s key issues of interest are upholding the Constitution, fiscal transparency, lower taxes, protecting children from gender-altering procedures, high-quality education, and defending women’s athletics by banning males from competing in women’s sports. He aims to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the tax burden, hoping to create shifts at the state, county, and city levels to provide relief for Nebraskans. A self-described constitutional conservative, Andersen wishes to communicate with his constituents to ensure that their wishes are being fully represented in the Nebraska Legislature

Caleb Muhs LD49

Caleb Muhs (R)

Caleb Muhs, 40, is running for the District 49 seat in the Nebraska Legislature. Muhs, 40, was born and raised in Grand Island, Nebraska, graduating from Grand Island Senior High. Muhs went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in finance from Georgetown University. He worked for the FBI as an analyst in counterterrorism before moving on to obtain his law degree from Fordham University. After being unable to join the U.S. Marine Corps due to a medical condition, Muhs volunteered as a public defender in New Jersey. Muhs then joined an insurance company as a financial analyst, working his way up to become Chief Financial Officer of a subsidiary. Eventually, Muhs and his wife, Julie, decided to return to Nebraska to raise their five young children.

In the Legislature, Muhs hopes to focus on three key areas: family, economy, and transparency. His legislative goals include improving foster care; fighting human, sex, and drug trafficking; advocating for parental rights in schools; reducing government waste; creating greater accessibility for new business owners; and increasing accountability for election processes. He intends to protect parental rights and constitutional freedoms for people in Nebraska using his guiding principles of honesty and forthrightness.