Topics ranged from tax reform to health care and housing during a Republican candidate forum last Thursday night in Albion’s Cardinal Inn Conference Center.
A small crowd of about 15 people attended.
District 41 State Sen. Tom Briese introduced the guest candidates, Third District Congressman Adrian Smith, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley and Larry Temme, candidate for District 3 Boone County Commissioner.
Commissioner candidate Temme recapped his background. He grew up in Petersburg, where he still lives and owns Rae Valley Market. He served 12 years on the Boone Central School Board, and is now looking to get back into public service.
“I don’t know everything, but I’m willing to learn,” said Temme. “I want to represent the people of Boone County.”
Temme said housing availability is one of the biggest challenges for Boone County currently. Small businesses face constant challenges of competing with internet sellers and big box stores.
The bottom line, said Temme, is “we have to have opportunity here” to maintain population and commerce in a rural setting.
Not Enough Workers
Adrian Smith opened by calling attention to tax reform and other pro-business measures enacted during the past two years to create today’s strong economy.
“Along with a growing economy, we have some tough challenges,” said Smith. “Businesses can’t find enough employees.”
Smith said there are still Americans who are not working and not looking for work, including some seven million men. He said he will soon have a proposal to “get people off the sidelines and into the job market.”
Smith said he is pro-life and supports the Second Amendment. He has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and Nebraska Right to Life. He supports the state’s ethanol industry and is working to make E-15 available to all consumers year-around.
Lt. Gov. Foley, who served seven years as State Auditor, said he devotes much of his time to serving as presiding officer of the Legislature. He emphasized that Nebraska needs more workers all across the state, and cited examples of businesses offering signing bonuses to qualified workers. Union Pacific at North Platte is now offering a $25,000 signing bonus for some positions.
Foley said the state has instituted a re-employment program to provide job training for those collecting unemployment benefits.
Nebraska also has a VR program to work with schools and other organizations to help students plan for the future and prepare for careers that match their skills, abilities and interests. Youth as young as eighth grade are exposed to various career paths.
“Not every kid should get a four-year degree,” said Foley. “Two-year schools provide great opportunities.”
Nebraska has benefitted from a “very good work ethic” among its residents, Foley said.
Read the complete story in the Sept. 26 Albion News & Petersburg Press, Print and E-Editions.