Unicameral needs the best, brightest

Saturday, June 4, 2005

As the 2005 session of the Nebraska Legislature comes to a close, people thoughout Southwest Nebraska need to start asking a very urgent and important question. The question is this: How can we persuade capable and qualified area residents to enter the race for the 44th District seat in the Nebraska Legislature?

The issue is of pressing concern because this area's current state senator, Tom Baker of Trenton, will have to leave office after one more year because of the state's term limits law. He will have served two four-year terms -- a total of eight years -- which is the maximum now allowed for members of the legislature.

While Sen. Baker's term will last until the end of 2006, those who wish to replace him must act much sooner. The deadline for filing for the open seat will be March 1, 2006 -- less than 10 months from today.

This will set the stage for the primary election, which will be May 9, 2006, and the general election, which will take place Nov. 2, 2006.

For serious candidates, that doesn't allow much time. In order to conduct a full, comprehensive campaign, candidates for the legislative post need to visit all parts of the 44th District. That -- they will discover -- is a vast region, including all of Chase, Dundy, Hayes, Hitchcock, Frontier, Furnas, Perkins and Red Willow counties, as well as a part of Dawson County.

Many worthy candidates come to mind. These individuals have distinguished themselves with excellent records of service on state boards, in local and regional government positions and in business and professional capacities. But, regrettably, some of the best qualified people are reluctant to serve.

First of all, they're busy, with their many obligations making it difficult to find the time to devote to legislative service. And, second, they are turned off by the political aspects of campaigning and pleasing constituents.

Ironically, one of these reluctant and busy achievers may be the best person for the legislative job. These driven individuals believe in getting things done, and they believe in solving problems fairly and equitably, instead of through political deal-making.

You know people like this. Seek them out. Urge them to run for office. We need the best and the brightest public servants possible to work on behalf of the citizens of the 44th District.

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