Nebraska state Senator Tom Carlson of Holdrege announced Friday he is running for next year’s Republican nomination for governor.
Carlson announced his candidacy in the rotunda of the Capitol, where he has served in the Legislature for the last seven years. He was introduced by his son Chad, who recounted his father’s background as the son and grandson of Nebraska farmers, a football and baseball coach, and an insurance agent.
For his part, Carlson emphasized his time as a legislator, and promised to run a positive campaign. “I love this state and this country, and I pledge to you that I will run this campaign not as a politician but as a statesman,” he said. “I’ll treat each candidate with the respect they deserve, and I’ll answer any concerns with honesty and integrity. I want it known from the beginning that if any negative material is released about any of the candidates, it will not be from our campaign team.”
Carlson, who is 71, was asked how he would contrast himself with the one other Republican who has announced his candidacy so far, 42-year old state Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont. He said he has more experience than Janssen, now in his fifth year in the Legislature, and has been elected to leadership positions, including the chairmanships of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees.
Carlson said he is a fiscal conservative, and favors reforming both unemployment compensation and child care subsidies to give people more incentive to work. The only Democrat in the race so far is former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook. Primary elections to select the parties’ nominees will be held next May, prior to the general election in November.
In other news, Gov. Dave Heineman announced Friday that Kearney has been selected as the site of a new Central Nebraska veterans home to replace the 125-year old Grand Island Veterans Home. Kearney and Grand Island, along with North Platte and Hastings, had bid to host the new facility, projected to cost more than $100 million, with about 2/3 of that coming from the federal government. A committee made up of state agency officials ranked Kearney’s proposal the highest, taking into account various factors including community support.
The home will have 225 long-term beds and more than 350 full-time employees.