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It is day one of Democrat Chuck Hassebrook’s run for the U.S. Senate, but it is also arguably a good day for whichever Republican faces Hassebrook in November.

Nebraska Watchdog has learned that the man who orchestrated several key Democratic wins in Nebraska will not be running Hassebrook’s campaign.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here

For more stories on the Senate race click here.


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Democrat Chuck Hassebrook launched his bid for the U.S Senate today telling Nebraska Watchdog he can do without President Obama’s help on the ground.

At the same time Hassebrook, the lone major Democrat in the race, supports the President’s health care plan.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here

For more stories on the Senate race click here.


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A move keeping state lawmakers in office longer—12 years instead of eight— has the backing of nearly half of Nebraska’s state senators but more are needed to send the issue to the voters.

Senators are currently limited to two consecutive four year terms. Senator Tom Carlson is proposing a constitutional amendment upping the limit to three straight four year terms.

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for this afternoon at the State Capitol.

At least 22 lawmakers support the measure with 15 Republicans, six Democrats, and one independent backing the plan.

30 votes are needed put the measure on the November ballot. 

One lawmaker who is not biting: Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood who is term limited at the end of this year.

Flood spoke with Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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While Governor Dave Heineman is busy screaming for tax cuts—income taxes, inheritance taxes, corporate taxes—Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle tells Nebraska Watchdog, ”I don’t know how we’d work tax cuts.”

Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan spoke exclusively with Suttle today following the Mayor’s annual State of the City Address.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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Is this the week Bob Kerrey decides?

Maybe, maybe not.

But while Kerrey decides, a lot’s been made of Karl Rove’s attack ad aimed at keeping Kerrey off the ballot.

A lot less has been said about the Democrats push to keep Dave Heineman out of the Senate race.

Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan explains.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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While taking his fight to kill the state’s inheritance tax right to the Legislature, it appears Governor Dave Heineman may have blinked.

With counties complaining that ending the tax—Douglas County gets an estimated $10 million a year—may force them to raise property taxes, Heineman (see video below) told the Revenue Committee this afternoon that it’s up to the state to implement good tax policy. At the same time though, when questioned by Sen. LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth, Heineman seemed to open the door for more negotiations. 

“The state decides this okay,” Heineman testified. Then a moment later he added, “Hey we’re willing to look at the tax package in terms of how you phase it in but it needs to get eliminated.”

The governor did not indicate how long of a phase in period he would be comfortable considering. 

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here

 
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To many it sounds simple enough.

If a city councilman, county commissioner, or state lawmaker has a conflict of interest on an issue they shouldn’t vote.

Well two out of three isn’t bad. In Nebraska the state lawmaker can vote.

But following an ongoing investigation by Nebraska Watchdog lawmakers are now considering a bill that would tighten the conflict question, tighten it but not end it.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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In his first news conference since President Obama shot down the Keystone XL pipeline, Governor Dave Heineman told reporters today that the President needs to “make a tough call and get (the pipeline) going.”

Responding to questions (see video below) from Nebraska Watchdog, Heineman also urged Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) to abandon the President’s re-election, and to quit blaming the pipeline’s problems on Nebraska.

On another front Heineman distanced himself from the latest statehouse flap: the Foster Care Review Board’s decision today to fire it’s longtime director, Carol Stitt. The Governor, who appoints the board, denied suggestions that he urged members to send Stitt packing. 

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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One man tells the people who run Omaha’s nuclear power plant, “You scare the hell out of me.”

In addition, as Nebraska Watchdog has reported, offiicials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are far from ready to restart the troubled Fort Calhoun reactor, which has been shut down since last April.

All this at a public meeting in Omaha on Thursday.

Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan heard the concerns and spoke with the NRC.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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As he plans to announce his U.S. Senate decision next week some insiders insist Bob Kerrey already looks and sounds like he’s running. 

During a four day visit to the state that began Thursday, there’s plenty of media interviews, planned stops in several towns, and no shying away from controversy; not even when asked by Nebraska Watchdog (see exclusive video below) if he’s ready to relive what the New York Times labeled, “One Awful Night in Thanh Phong.” 

If he runs and his critics attack him with an ad detailing his Seal team’s ill-fated 1969 commando raid in Vietnam—13 innocent woman and children were killed—Kerrey says he’s ready to respond.

“That’s what happens in wars. I’ve lived with it every day since,” Kerrey tells Nebraska Watchdog.

He also dismisses an ad that is running; conservative American Crossroads is spending $30,000 on a 30 second radio commercial which accuses Kerrey of being a carpetbagger. At the same time though Kerrey says if he runs and wins, “It’s likely we’d be in Washington because Henry (his son) is 10 and he’ll have to go to school…most representatives put their kids in schools in the D.C. area.”

Kerrey, a former one term governor and two term senator who left Capitol Hill in 2001, is taking a hard look at a senate race that opened up when fellow Democrat Ben Nelson announced late last month that he would not run for a third term.

In 2007, when Sen. Chuck Hagel retired, Kerrey looked at the race but backed away. He also considered a bid for mayor of New York, where he’s lived the past 11 years.

Reminded of that mayoral glance Kerrey told Nebraska Watchdog it’s one of the “top ten dumb things” he’s done in his life.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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Unlike most of his recent predecessors when Speaker Mike Flood leaves the Nebraska Legislature it appears lobbying is not in his immediate future.

In an exclusive on camera interview with Nebraska Watchdog, the man who has been the most powerful lawmaker since 2007—and who is term limited and forced out of office at the end of 2012— would not say what his future holds but he “has no plans to be a lobbyist.”

As he weighs his political options, options that appear to range from attorney general to governor, Flood spoke with Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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Newt Gingrich isn’t the only Republican calling one of his GOP rivals a liar. Meet Glenn Freeman.

Running in May’s primary against Congressman Lee Terry, Brett Lindstrom and Jack Heidel, Freeman—who ran the Douglas County Republican Party from 1993-1995— has come out swinging.

It’s all in this exclusive on camera interview with Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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According to the Omaha Police Department’s own numbers—numbers emblazoned on the department’s website—gang crime in Omaha has been skyrocketing: It’s up 120 percent for the first nine months of 2011.

But in an exclusive interview (see video below) with Nebraska Watchdog, Police Chief Alex Hayes, discounts those statistics. That’s right Hayes is downplaying numbers compiled by his own department.

Hayes argues that the numbers are based on a recently abolished city ordinance, and while he admits the gang problem isn’t going away he does not believe it’s up 120 percent.

The issue arose during a city organized news conference where officials from the Mayor on down lamented a rash of recent shootings across the city.

City Councilman Ben Gray, who represents the predominately black 2nd district in northeast Omaha, blamed the crime problem in his area on a a small group of individuals who “cause a significant amount of the problem.” 

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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With apologies to Randy Jackson, Don Stenberg “is in it to win it.”

In an exclusive interview with Nebraska Watchdog, State Treasurer Stenberg says he’s staying in the GOP Senate race even if Governor Dave Heineman decides to run.

As for those Washington insiders who are pushing Heineman to take the plunge, Stenberg says “they like to run things.” 

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here


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The man in charge of the Republican Party is keeping the door to a government shutdown wide open.

During a brief campaign stop in Omaha on September 29, Michael Steele, the Chairman of the National Republican Committee told Nebraska Watchdog “anything can happen.”

Accused of caving in to pharmacy giant CVS, Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray insists he did not sell his vote and he was not threatened.

Politics continues to rear its head in the fight over Governor Dave Heineman’s (NE-R) attempt to repeal President Obama’s federal health care law.

First it was Democrat Anne Boyle, who is running for Lt. Governor with Mike Meister, accusing Heineman of “blackmail politics” by forcing school groups to choose between health care and education. Heineman denies the charges (see exclusive video below) which erupted after the Governor sent a letter to several state education groups.

Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle’s two major financial proposals, his budget and his contract with the Omaha Police Union, have been roundly criticized at City Hall public hearings.

The reaction of the Omaha City Council to Mayor Jim Suttle’s tax rich budget is going as expected. It’s a mixed bag and the Mayor has some convincing to do.

Voters in Fremont, a town that is 95% white and 4% Hispanic, are deciding a controversial issue on illegal immigration.

Nebraska Watchdog Analyzes President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address.

On the eve of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address even his most loyal voters in Omaha admit Mr. Obama’s first year in office was less successful than they had anticipated. At the same time they are convinced he can do better.

Nebraska Watchdog’s Joe Jordan reports from an Omaha neighborhood where Obama won 96% of the vote, defeating Republican John McCain 408-17.

The fallout from our investigation is seen in this exclusive Nebraska Watchdog report.

After our investigation, in order to offset revenue losses caused by the recession, the Nebraska State Legislature met in special session and made $334 million in statewide budget cuts. Those cuts included a $25 million reduction to the University’s budget over the next two years. Speculation is already growing that in order to make up that $25 million students will be forced to pay higher tuition.