State Sen. Bob Krist entered the Unicameral as a Republican.
Now, he challenges the incumbent Republican governor as a Democrat.
This is the first of a two-part series.
Krist recalls the day he decided to challenge Republican incumbent Gov. Pete Ricketts. The legislature was debating a veto by Ricketts. Krist says Ricketts had lined up his supporters in the Unicameral who would vote to uphold the veto but wouldn’t engage in debate on the floor.
Krist says it blurred the separation of powers.
“It was that day that I decided I would be there in November to face down Gov. Ricketts, to provide the people of the state with an option, another option for leadership,” Krist tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Krist, a 21-year Air Force veteran, calls himself a one-time Reagan Republican. Gov. Dave Heineman appointed Krist in September of 2009 to replace Sen. Mike Friend, who resigned.
Krist has served in the Unicameral the past 10 years after winning election to his seat in Omaha twice.
Krist, though, found he clashed often with Nebraska Republicans while in the Unicameral on issues such as Medicaid expansion and the death penalty.
Krist first announced as an independent candidate for governor. He found the prospect of running as a non-partisan too daunting and accepted an invitation from Nebraska Democrats to switch parties.
Krist claims Ricketts uses his wealth to buy influence rather than working to earn it.
“He could earn the trust and the admiration and the loyalty of almost anyone in that legislature if he would just sit down and talk to them; not always agreeing with them, mind you, but building consensus with the legislative process. But, he doesn’t choose to do that,” according to Krist.
Krist criticizes Ricketts for not listening, not understanding, and not providing leadership to bring people together. He says he understands his campaign is an uphill battle, but he says Nebraska needs new leadership to move forward.
Tomorrow, Krist talks issues and his uphill battle.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]