April 20, 2014

Ricketts: education, jobs, and the rural economy are top issues

Republican gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts says education, jobs, and the rural economy are the top issues in the 2014 campaign.

Ricketts, a businessman from Omaha, says he’s heard a lot about taxes as he begins campaigning in the state.

“Ag producers are concerned about how much they are paying in property taxes versus income tax and sales tax,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WJAG during a stop in Norfolk. “And, I think that when you’re looking at tax reform, property tax has to be a part of that package as we talk about this at the state level.”

Ricketts says he is not in favor of raising taxes, but would consider shifting state spending to increase growth in state revenue, which could be used to restore aid to counties and cities to lower property taxes.

Ricketts says education should provide students with the skills needed for the jobs available.

“I think one of the things we can do a better job of is exposing our young people (that) there are great careers in the trades,” Ricketts says. “If you want to become a wielder, you go talk to our center-pivot manufacturers, they need wielders. And those are good paying jobs. So, we want to let to be able to let our kids know. Not every child wants that four-year liberal arts degree, but if you decide to go down the trades, we want to help you get there, because there are great jobs there, too.”

Ricketts says his background in business, including as former Chief Financial Officer of T-D Ameritrade, would help him as chief executive of the state.

By Susan Risinger, WJAG