October 30, 2014

Sen. Johanns: elections could send message to Washington bureaucrats

Sen. Mike Johanns speaks with reporters

Sen. Mike Johanns speaks with reporters

Sen. Mike Johanns isn’t running for re-election this year, but he’s interested in how the elections turn out and what impact they might have on Washington.

Johanns, a Republican, says the elections next week could determine whether bureaucracies will be reined in or have free rein to expand their powers.

“I think it gets worse over the next two years. Waters of the U.S. is one of the most egregious,” Johanns tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX. “I mean this thought that we’re going to give EPA power over every puddle of water in the United States drives me crazy.”

Johanns has been a strong and vocal opponent of the Environmental Protection Agency proposal to revise the Clean Water Act called “Waters of the United States”.

Johanns says election results will send a message to Washington bureaucrats and Johanns hopes the message is that they need to work with Congress.

“Because what I worry about is, well let’s say Gina McCarthy (EPA Administrator) sees the light and she says well we’re not going to enforce it that way,” Johanns says. “What about the next one and the next one and the next EPA administrator 20 years from now. You’ve got to look ahead, because once these rules are in place, they’re hard to change.”

Johanns is retiring from public office. Republican Ben Sasse and Democrat Dave Domina are running to succeed him, as well as two independent candidates.

Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this story.

Ricketts reports having nearly $670K campaign cash on hand

GOP gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts addresses the media during a news conference with running mate Mike Foley

GOP gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts addresses the media during a news conference with running mate Mike Foley

Republican candidate for governor Pete Ricketts has announced raising $419,215 during the 20-day reporting period than ended on the 20th.

The Ricketts campaign reports it ended the period with $669,020.70 cash on hand.

Ricketts, an Omaha business executive, is running against Democrat Chuck Hassebrook, the former executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons.

Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, is prohibited from running for re-election due to term limits.

Nebraska Taxpayers For Freedom oppose OPS bond issue

Voters in the Omaha area will vote on a $421-million dollar bond issue placed on Tuesday’s ballot by the Omaha Public School District. Nebraska Taxpayers For Freedom President Doug Kagan says this is just part one. He says in a few years the district will ask for phase two and together will total $1-billion.

Kagan says, “OPS taxpayers are still facing the financial burden of paying over $200-million in previous bond issues.”

The Omaha Public School District says the money is needed for renovations and reconstruction. Kagan compares this to the Millard School District bond issue approved by voters several years ago. He says that survey was itemized with cost estimates. Kagan says the survey done for OPS was generalized and no specifics were given for individual buildings. He says that is like giving the district a taxpayer blank check.

Kagan says, “New carpeting and new paint doesn’t guarantee higher test scores. I’ve had building engineers that work for OPS and tell us one of the problems with the infrastructure in the OPS schools is they do not do sufficient preventative maintenance.  What happens when you let things go and after a while it is more expensive to repair and renovate. So, their not doing a good job, not wisely spending their money right now.”

Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney stumps for Ben Sasse

GOP US Senate hopeful Ben Sasse talks with voters at a rally

GOP US Senate hopeful Ben Sasse talks with voters at a rally

Former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney stumped for Republican Senate candidate Ben Sasse at a campaign stop in Hastings Monday evening.

Romney, the party nominee in 2012, criticized the policies of the man he ran against, President Barack Obama, especially the president’s policies on health care.

“He was going to deal with poverty and yet, there are more people in poverty today than ever before in our nation’s history,” according to Romney. “And he told people that if they had health insurance they wanted to keep and a doctor they wanted to keep they could keep them. He didn’t deliver on that promise either.”

Romney told the audience policies would change under a Republican-controlled Congress.

“We’ll actually fix our schools and make them globally competitive again, get them at the top of the world instead of down at the bottom third,” Romney told the audience. “Our policies will finally allow America to have an energy policy that takes advantage of our resources, allows us to have low-cost energy and bring more jobs back to do manufacturing in America. We’ll have respect for the family farmer and respect for small businesses.”

Sasse said the race between him, Democrat Dave Domina and two independents is important.

“We’ve got eight days and we need to send a message to Washington about what we believe in this state,” Sasse stated during the campaign rally.

Election Day is a week away.

Tyson Havranek, KICS, contributed to this report.

Sasse: federal government has responsibility to contain Ebola

Republican Ben Sasse

Republican Ben Sasse

A nurse who worked with Ebola patients in West Africa and was under mandatory quarantine at a hospital in Newark, New Jersey was released after threats of suing that her human rights had been violated.

This brings up the question whether the government can force quarantine if there is a risk to the public.

Republican United States Senate candidate Ben Sasse says the government needs to be careful about flexing this power.

Sasse says, “In the case of a true pandemic exposure the government does have power. What the government exists to do is essentially to tax people forcibly, threaten to take your stuff and imprison you which is why we don’t want to use the force of the government to solve many problems. But, in the case of a pandemic, yes, the government does have responsibilities.”

Sasse says, “There is so much of the science that none of us knows so let put the framework in what kind of principle should guide us. I think the answer to the question is yes but there is a bunch of science that I don’t know enough about and the CDC has acted for the last three or four weeks like they knew a bunch of things clearly that they regularly didn’t know so I want to be humble about what we don’t know there.”

Sasse says it appears the C-D-C was not prepared for one of their fundamental duties.  Sasse will campaign Monday evening in Hastings and will be joined by U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.