Former NU Regent Hassebrook officially enters race for Nebraska governor

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June 4, 2013 - 4:45pm

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Chuck Hassebrook

Former University of Nebraska Regent Chuck Hassebrook made it official Tuesday: he’s seeking the Democratic nomination for governor next year. Hassebrook made a brief bid for the Senate seat vacated by Ben Nelson in 2012, but stepped aside when Bob Kerrey entered the race. He said he decided against running for the Senate again because Washington is “dysfunctional.”

“What drives me is the desire to create a better future in all of Nebraska and all of America, and I just think that the governor’s race is the best opportunity to do that,” he said.

Hassebrook is the first Democrat to enter the race. Democrats often fare poorly in statewide elections, he said, because they fail to win over rural Nebraskans.

“And I think there’s a reason for that. By and large, the Democratic Party hasn’t had a lot to say about the challenges confronting rural Nebraska, which are very real," he said. "And I intend to change that.”

The longtime executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs said if he’s elected, he’ll focus on education, small businesses, workforce development and wind energy.

Gov. Dave Heineman can’t run for reelection because of term limits; on the Republican side, state Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont has already started campaigning for the open seat.

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