Gov. Dave Heineman has selected Omaha state Senator John Nelson as the new lieutenant governor, serving out the remaining three months of the Heineman Administration.
Heineman said Nelson is a perfect candidate to fill the vacancy left with the resignation of Lavon Heidemann.
“I chose him, because John is a respected public official, he’s a veteran, and he’s been a very successful attorney and I have great respect for him,” Heineman said after a swearing in ceremony at the Capitol.
Heineman was forced to choose his third lieutenant governor after Lavon Heidemann stepped down when his sister received a protection order against him in wake of a family dispute. Heidemann had been chosen to replace Rick Sheehy, who was asked to resign after the inappropriate use of a state-issued cell phone with a number of women, none of whom were his wife.
Nelson said he first considered the position after he got a call from someone close to him shortly after Heidemann made his decision.
“Someone did give me a call and said, ‘Are you interested? You really ought to apply for lieutenant governor with your background.’” Nelson told reporters after being sworn in. “And I said I would think about it. And I did think about it and so I did indicate to the governor that I would be interested in serving approximately three months, for the remainder of the year.”
Nelson had been forced to leave the Unicameral due to term limits. He is an attorney from Omaha.
Nelson said it’s an honor to serve in the administration of Gov. Heinemann.
“I’m interested in public policy,” Nelson said. “We don’t know what’s going to come to pass in the next three months, but I think with my background, especially my military background, in light of the things I’m expected to do, I probably was a logical candidate to serve and I was certainly willing to do that; to resign from the legislature and probably wind up my political career as lieutenant governor.”
Nelson has resigned from the legislature to begin serving in his new role.
Nelson first won election to the legislature, District Six, in 2006. He has been in private practice as an attorney since 1964. He retired as Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves.