Gov. Pete Ricketts rejects the two top criticisms his opponent levels against him.
This is the conclusion of our two-part series about the governor’s re-election campaign.
State Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha, the Democratic candidate for governor, charges Gov. Ricketts, the Republican incumbent, doesn’t listen to Nebraskans.
“Couldn’t be further from the truth,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network in an interview. “I have done over 140 town halls, Rotary Clubs or Optimist Clubs. I travel the state all the time, talking to Nebraskans.”
Ricketts says he listens to Nebraskans during those trips across the state. And, the governor says he listens to legislators, citing such bills the Transportation Innovation Act and various tax bills. Ricketts says he has even reached across the political aisle, working with Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln on anti-sex trafficking legislation and Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha on legislation to curb opioid abuse as well as others.
Also, Ricketts rejects Krist’s criticism that he takes a “My way or the highway” mentality.
“I’ll take this last property tax bill as an example of how that is just not true,” Ricketts responds. “If you look at all the property tax bills that were introduced this year, earlier this year in the session, my bill was the one that actually moved the most. It changed the most. We went through several iterations of that bill. It changed quite a few times.”
Ricketts attempted to craft a bill which would appeal both to rural and urban state senators. The final version failed to attract the votes necessary to break a filibuster.
Ricketts has used “grow Nebraska” as the theme for his administration. He says the phrase unfolds in four broad areas: developing the skills of Nebraskans, making Nebraska easy to do business with, managing the state budget while cutting taxes, and promoting Nebraska abroad. The governor says those can create an environment in which the residents of the state can enjoy the good life that is Nebraska.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]