State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha will leave the Unicameral at the end of the month to become Chief of Staff for Congressman Brad Ashford.
Nordquist worked with Ashford in the legislature prior to Ashford’s election to Congress in 2014.
Nordquist first won election to the legislature in 2008 and won re-election in 2012.
“I feel blessed to have been part of the Unicameral legislature. It’s such a unique institution that allows us to have thoughtful debate on critical issues,” Nordquist tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Now, I’m very much looking forward to working with Congressman Ashford who is very much a thoughtful, bi-partisan policy maker and he’s committed to try to make Washington more functional and break the gridlock and I hope to help him in any way I can to do that.”
Nordquist’s term expires next year. He represents District 7, a portion of downtown and southern Omaha. Ashford represents the 2nd Congressional District of Nebraska, the larger Omaha metropolitan area.
Gov. Pete Ricketts will appoint his successor until the 2016 elections.
One of Nordquist’s biggest successes came outside the Capitol. After the legislature refused to raise the state minimum wage, he led the successful ballot measure last year that raised the state minimum wage to $9 an hour. Another success for Nordquist was his success in overriding a veto by Gov. Ricketts of the bill that authorizes the children of illegal immigrants to apply for Nebraska driver’s licenses.
“Both those are policies that had an impact on thousands of Nebraskans and will really improve their life,” according to Nordquist.
A disappointment to Nordquist is the failure of the legislature to expand Medicaid.
“I think that will be a net plus to our healthcare system, a net plus to our state fiscally, would strengthen access to services all throughout Nebraska,” Nordquist says. “Unfortunately, we’ve let politics continue to get in the way of that.”
Nordquist formally resigns his seat June 30th. He begins his duties as Ashford’s Chief of Staff July 1st.