Lt. Governor Lavon Heidemann says his close working relationship with Gov. Dave Heineman led to the invitation to join the administration in which he says he’ll serve as a liaison with the legislature and speak honestly with the governor.
Heidemann says he and the governor spoke by telephone before meeting in person. Then, the governor offered him the position.
“We’ve worked closely together the last eight years. He knew who I was, what I stood for, what my values were. We knew we had a working relationship. We agreed on a lot of things. So, those questions really weren’t there,” Heidemann tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Heidemann served eight years in the Unicameral, six as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Heidemann says that experience should serve the administration well.
“I feel like I’m going to be a conduit between the legislature and the executive branch. I know both sides,” says Heidemann.
Heidemann is a farmer from Elk Creek. He won election to the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, a seat he had to give up to become Lt. Governor. He replaced Rick Sheehy, who resigned over his personal use of a state-owned cell phone.
Heidemann says the administration will push forward with tax reform, though it won’t look like the governor’s initial proposal. Heidemann says the governor started an important conversation by proposing to eliminate the state income tax in favor of doing away with certain sales tax exemptions.
“He wanted a discussion. He definitely got a discussion. The starting point maybe didn’t turn out quite where a lot of people would have liked. So, (we’re) going to go back and start again,” according to Heinemann.
The legislature has scrapped the two bills proposed by the governor. It is moving forward with a measure that would create a tax reform study group that will report its findings to the legislature in mid-December.
Heidemann says he will provide input, even if he disagrees with the governor.
“Lavon Heidemann will always say and stand up for what he thinks is right. It’s who I am and he knows that,” Heidemann says. “But, in the end, it’s always going to be the governor’s call, what’s going to go down, and I understand that, also.”
AUDIO: Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann talks with Kevin Thomas on KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln. [7 min.]