Gov. Pete Ricketts says the people sent a strong message to the legislature by keeping the death penalty on the books.
Nebraska voters overwhelmingly overturned the Unicameral’s move to repeal the death penalty, not a surprise to the governor.
“I travel the state quite a bit and have talked to a lot of Nebraskans and the majority of Nebraskans I’ve spoken with support capital punishment as an important tool for public safety. And so I was not surprised by the outcome,” Ricketts tells reporters during a conference call from China, where he is on a trade mission.
It wasn’t close.
Final, unofficial results show 482,236 votes were cast to repeal LB 268, the bill approved by the legislature at the end of the 2015 session that repealed the death penalty. Only 310,319 supported the move by the Unicameral, a split of nearly 61% to 39%.
Ricketts had vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode his veto. The petition drive to place the issue on the ballot in November began almost immediately. Ricketts contributed quite a bit of money to the petition effort.
On the national vote, Ricketts says he’s pleased Republican Donald Trump has won the presidency. Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the nation’s 45th president.
“Obviously, Donald Trump was able to pull off an upset, at least from the standpoint of what the polls and the media were saying and I look forward to working with our president-elect as he puts together policies that will help us grow our country,” Ricketts says.
Ricketts backed Trump after the real estate tycoon won the Republican nomination, urging fellow Nebraska Republicans to end their opposition to Trump and unite behind the party’s nominee.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]