Governor Dave Heineman on Wednesday appointed Tommy Garrett of Bellevue to the vacant third district seat, representing part of Sarpy County, in the Nebraska Legislature. Garrett is a retired Air Force Colonel and the owner of a small business in Bellevue that specializes in defense contracting. He said he supports the governor’s positions including lowering taxes and conservative values. He replaces former Sen. Scott Price of Bellevue, who resigned citing family obligations.
Heineman had announced last Friday morning he would appoint Patrick Shannon of Bellevue to the post. That appointment was withdrawn Friday afternoon, officially at Shannon’s request due to family health problems. The withdrawal also followed news reports Shannon had been fined $16,000 by the Accountability and Disclosure Commission for failing to report spending on an anonymous leaflet that accused an opponent of domestic abuse in a 2004 legislative campaign. At a news conference Wednesday, Heineman declined to answer three times when asked if he knew of Shannon’s problems before announcing his appointment.
Heineman also confirmed he had spoken to Attorney General Jon Bruning about Bruning’s colon cancer, first reported by the Lincoln Journal Star. The newspaper reported Bruning will undergo surgery Thursday. Heineman said Bruning indicated the cancer had been caught early, and he thought everything would work out well. He said the attorney general intends to continue to serve and run for reelection next year, adding his thoughts and prayers are with Bruning and his family.