Gov. Heineman sounding right theme for state
Very quickly after becoming Nebraska's 39th governor, Dave Heineman made it a point to reach out to all parts of the state.The effort started on his first full day on the job. After taking the oath of office, Heineman embarked on a flight to Scottsbluff and Gering, where he met well-wishers at the end of a long day. It added up to a 19-hour first day, but the governor said it was worth it to show the importance of statewide unity.
The unity effort continued Wednesday. After delivering the State of the State address to the Nebraska Legislature, the new governor boarded the airplane again, this time heading west on a trip that wound up in McCook at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
So what kind of impression did he make in the McCook community which once, in the early '50s, was his childhood home? Based on comments made by those who gathered at the McCook Regional Airport, Gov. Heineman is off to a good start, touching on themes which appeal to Nebraskans. Heineman's goals, as he explained in his remarks here and at other stops, is to hold the line on taxes, while advancing the state economically.
Heineman's not the bombastic type. He speaks clearly, referring frequently to his notes. But the tone he set Wednesday is what the state needs: a mixture of caution and optimism. The question is: Can he carry this philosophy through into state policy and legislative action? We shall see ... and we shall see very soon.
This was indicated by some of the questions raised at Wednesday's airport appearance. "How do you stand on Class I's?," asked Richard Klein of rural McCook. This was quickly followed by a question from Gary Bieganski, president of Community Hospital, about Medicare reimbursement.
The governor told both questioners he needed more time to study the issues. But he promised to look into the matters, and come up with courses of action he felt were in the best interest of Nebraska.
At this point, there was very little the governor could say. He has to bring himself up to speed on the many issues facing the state. Still, we like his approach. He's thoughtful and deliberate, yet determined to move the state forward in a reasonable fashion. The proof will be in the performance. But, at this point, Gov. Heineman is sounding the right theme for Nebraska's future.