State Sen. Charlie Janssen today made it official.
“It is because anything is possible that I stand before you today, a kid that grew up in a town of 200 people to announce that I’m a candidate to become the next governor of the great state of Nebraska,” Janssen, a Republican, told supporters gathered at Midland University in his hometown of Fremont.
Janssen had indicated he was thinking about running for governor earlier. He scheduled the announcement for the Presidents’ Day holiday, normally a light day for news. That assumption shattered with the announcement from Sen. Mike Johanns that he would not seek re-election and a media availability held by Gov. Dave Heineman later in the afternoon in which the governor stated he would consider a Senate race.
Janssen emphasized his military service as a search and rescue swimmer for the Navy in the first Gulf War as well as his credentials as a business owner. Janssen is one of the founders of RTG Medical.
Janssen struck conservative themes throughout his speech to the throng of supporters that gathered in the university events center, advocating for a smaller government that provides more freedom and opportunity to Nebraskans
“We as Republicans and conservatives must offer solutions that will create opportunity, growth and prosperity,” according to Janssen. “I believe the people of Nebraska will favorably respond to a new generation of conservative leadership that takes problems head-on, honestly, forthrightly and most of all with their best interest in mind.”
Janssen proposed eliminating burdensome regulations.
“We need a sunset commission that will research the economic cost of all state regulations and identify which regulations are preventing Nebraska’s economy from growing and moving forward and we can start that right now,” Janssen stated.
If elected governor, Janssen pledged to push to make Nebraska more business-friendly.
“We need to assert the leadership necessary to bring people together and foster new ideas and explore new lines of economic development. This will be a public-private partnership with these goals in mind: make Nebraska a leading state for business start-ups, technological advancements and sustainable economic growth,” Janssen stated.
Janssen enters a race that has been notable more for who has dropped out than who has entered. The former Speaker of the Legislature, Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, announced his candidacy only to withdraw after learning that his wife had contracted breast cancer. Gov. Dave Heineman had backed his Lt. Governor, Rick Sheehy, to succeed him until Sheehy abruptly resigned after it was disclosed he had made thousands of personal calls on his state-issued cell phone.
AUDIO: State Sen. Charlie Janssen gubernatorial announcement from Midland University in Fremont. [23 min.]