Democrats embrace Krist as he pledges tax reform, health care | Regional Government

KeepHealthCare.ORG – Democrats embrace Krist as he pledges tax reform, health care | Regional Government

Nebraska Democrats embraced Sen. Bob Krist as their gubernatorial nominee with a sustained standing ovation at their state convention Saturday as he pledged to work for property tax reform, health care expansion and policies that “treat all Nebraskans equally.”

The two-term Omaha state senator, who abandoned his long affiliation with the Republican Party to challenge Gov. Pete Ricketts’ re-election bid, switched his party registration to Democratic four months ago and won his new party’s nomination in May.

Krist told the party gathering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Innovation Campus that Democratic State Chair Jane Kleeb actively recruited him as a candidate and he is determined “to make the state whole again (and) unite the state.”

And he intends to do that, he said, while championing a tax reform policy that centers on reducing the local property tax load while opposing tax policy that would mean “pizza for you and me, and caviar for Pete and his friends.”

Krist’s support for expanded health care coverage appeared to line up with a statewide initiative petition drive to expand Medicaid coverage to 90,000 Nebraskans who generally fit the description of the working poor.

The party’s proposed state platform and resolutions highlighted a number of Democratic positions that run counter to current Republican or Trump administration policies or positions.

Among resolutions that were adopted was Restoration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections for young immigrants to continue to have legal presence in the United States with a pathway to achieve eventual U.S. citizenship.

The platform recommendations called for strengthening trade relations with Canada, Mexico, China, Germany and other nations now facing President Donald Trump’s threat to target them with high U.S. tariffs. 

Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, Krist’s lieutenant governor running mate, told the convention that the state needs strong and unifying leadership in order to “come together” and effectively address issues such as high property taxes, while supporting people with needs and adequately funding the University of Nebraska.

Jessica McClure of Lincoln, who is seeking the 1st District House seat held by Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, focused on the need for congressional action to address the gun violence that has led to a continuing series of mass shootings in schools.

Gun-control measures need to be enacted that would “keep firearms out of the hands of people who are dangerous,” McClure said. 

Earlier, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler told the convention that “an administration that thinks it’s OK to separate young kids from their families … does not reflect the values of the American people.”

And, he said, “the Republican Party has not stood up to the president (on) that inhumane policy” or others that deny health care for the most-vulnerable Americans and widen the growing income gap.

Kleeb told the convention that “the Republican Party has become the party of mean.”

Trump announced earlier this week that the policy of separating families would end.  

Kleeb was re-elected state chair of the party without opposition; Frank LaMere was re-elected as first associate chairman, also unopposed.  

In their platform document, Democrats celebrated diversity, focused on support for agriculture, opposed efforts or policies to restrict voter access, and urged prison reforms that address overcrowding and segregation practices, staffing needs, medical care and mental health treatment.


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