Saturday, March 26, 2005

Heineman Only Cares About the "R"

by Kyle Michaelis
Showing concern for party label above all else, Governor Dave Heineman named six finalists yesterday to replace out-going State Senator Nancy Thompson (District 14-Papillion). All six are Republicans, including John Strawn, chairman of the Sarpy County Republicans.

Although unsurprising to see this sort of stacked deck, it's disappointing whenever the legislature is treated in such blatantly partisan manner. Is it just me or is this not also rather insulting to voters in the 14th Legislative District? Eventually making a pick of a candidate in one's own party is perhaps justified on Heineman's part because that is the world we live in, but showing so little interest and respect for voters of a different stripe that you discount them entirely is just bull-headed. It's exactly this sort of blind partisanship that led to previous Governor Mike Johanns' abysmal and embarrasing appointment of Ray Mossey (District 3-Gretna).

With Heineman unelected to the governorship, one would expect him to be more careful and concillatory with voters because he's entirely lacking of a mandate from them to act in so disrespectful a manner. Seems he's more interested in kissing up to the party faitful rather than securing the trust of actual voters. No matter how much of a registration advantage Republicans may have in this state, Nebraskans have always proven willing to look beyond party labels and have in fact been proud of their doing so. Sad that Heineman is not endowed with the same spirit of independence and would use something so silly and arbitrary as an "R" by someone's name as a litmus test.

This is especially disheartening because the State Capitol will be a less friendly place to women and children without Nancy Thompson, a 2004 Congressional nominee, who is leaving the legislature to become executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands. I'm sure she'll be wonderful in her new position. Hopefully, District 14 will remember how good a job they did at electing their last State Senator, and they won't simply be content in 2006 with whomever the unelected Heineman puts on their ballot.


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