Candidates for Governor speak at LIBA forum - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Candidates for Governor speak at LIBA forum

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By: Jenn Schanz

The race to replace is in full swing.

Monday, Nebraska's seven Gubernatorial candidates gathered at Lincoln's Holiday Inn to chat candidly with LIBA members.

They were asked the same questions, starting with minimum wage. Should the state bump it from $7.25 to $9 over the next 3 years?

Former Congressional Aide Bryan Slone echoed what all Republican candidate's felt.

"I wouldn't increase the minimum wage," he said. 

The lone Democrat in the race, Chuck Hassebrook would increase it.

Candidates also spoke about how they would support the state's businesses.

"We need to have a lower corporate tax rate and a lower individual income tax rate," said State Sen. Tom Carlson.

They were asked how they would compare to the current governor; most candidates want to mirror Heineman.

"I'm not going to try to be Dave Heineman, if you choose me as governor, but I expect to try to keep it going down the same path," said Attorney General Jon Bruning. 

"I wouldn't differ at all," said State Sen. Beau McCoy. 

But Hassebrook noted his approach to immigration as a central difference between himself and Heineman.

"I think it's short sighted to drive these young people we've educated and could make very good employees out of the state," he said. 

Jobs and education were popular topics, but another high priority for many candidates was tax reform.

"If we're ever going to have meaningful and sustained tax reductions in Nebraska, we've got to get our arms around the spending," State Auditor Mike Foley said. 

"We are overtaxed as Nebraskans," said McCoy. 

Agriculture was another hot topic.

"We're an Ag state. It's important for the governor to be a strong advocate for agriculture," said Pete Ricketts. 

This race for governor isn't short of variety; a candidate list filled with state officials, current lawmakers, businessmen, and academics.

All candidates agreed that Nebraskans will have plenty to choose from.

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