State Senator Announces Independent Bid for Governor

Surrounded by family, State Sen. Bob Krist announces his campaign for governor in the state capitol rotunda (photo by Mike Tobias, NET News)
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September 13, 2017 - 1:51pm

Omaha state senator Bob Krist formally announced his bid for governor today. 

Krist is entering the 2018 governor’s race as an independent candidate. The former Republican changed his voter registration to non-partisan today. Krist is a 60-year-old Air Force veteran who has been a state senator since he was appointed by Gov. Dave Heineman in 2009. He then won elections in 2010 and 2014.

“I’ve spent the last several weeks having conversations with my wife Peggy, our family, friends and the voters of Nebraska. And people across the state are saying the same thing. Nebraskans are looking for independent and effective leadership,” Krist said during a news conference in the capitol rotunda. “We believe I am the right person to answer the call and return us to the non-partisan traditions that made Nebraska great.”

“I’ve always believed that the emphasis should be on working together, building consensus, not kowtowing to a political party mandate,” Krist said. “My number one priority as governor will be to focus on finding non-partisan solutions to reducing property taxes for all Nebraskans, while assuring adequate education funding at all levels. Real tax relief is about restoring the balance between the three-legging stool. The income tax, the sales tax and the property tax have to equally fund our systems.”

Krist says fixing problems within the state’s corrections system is also a priority. “I understand the overtime issue, I understand the overcrowding issue, and I understand that the time for talk is over. The governor needs to act now and declare an emergency. Our prisons have become the number one public safety issue in Nebraska, and the time to act is now,” Krist said.

He’s been openly critical of the only other declared candidate for governor so far, incumbent Republican Pete Ricketts. Nebraska Republican Party executive director Kenny Zoeller criticized Krist in a news release, saying he was “party shopping for a higher office.” Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb, whose party does not have a candidate for governor at this time, said Krist’s bid “is good for democracy.”

Krist is confident he’ll be able to get enough signatures to get on the ballot next year. He acknowledged that it would be easier to run as a major party candidate, but said “when you look at the platforms of both parties, I don’t believe I can conform to the platform as a Democrat or as a Republican.”

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