GOP governor candidate Thibodeau picks radio host, ag advocate Trent Loos as running mate | Politics

Republican gubernatorial candidate Theresa Thibodeau named her running mate Thursday: Trent Loos, a sixth-generation farmer, agriculture advocate and right-wing radio host from central Nebraska.

Farmer and agriculture advocate Trent Loos of Litchfield is the running mate of Republican gubernatorial candidate Theresa Thibodeau.

Thibodeau, a former state senator and day care owner from Omaha, made the announcement Thursday evening in Kearney. The two have recently been touring the state together for Thibodeau’s campaign.

The pair presents a striking contrast. Thibodeau said in a statement that she’s heard from Nebraskans that a “one-size-fits-all approach” won’t solve state issues.

“The things that work for Omaha do not work in Valentine or Sidney,” she said. “We must create solutions that benefit every Nebraska community. I am honored to have Trent Loos as my running mate. Trent and I agree that we must bridge the rural versus urban divide for Nebraska to move forward.”

Loos, who lives in Litchfield, has some government ties. Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed him to the Nebraska Capitol Commission, which oversees preservation of the State Capitol in Lincoln, and he also served on former President Donald Trump’s ag advisory committee.

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“I’ve spent 22 years trying to bridge the gap between food producers and food consumers,” he said in an interview. Speaking engagements on that topic have taken him all over the U.S. and overseas, he said.

Loos has helped rally opposition to President Joe Biden’s “30×30” initiative — aimed at conserving 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030 — in Nebraska and elsewhere. He’s demonstrated a wariness of the federal government in other forums, as well.

In 2016, Loos interviewed Ammon Bundy at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, where Bundy was leading an armed occupation. Loos said an invitation to moderate a town hall meeting is what brought him there, and that he didn’t have a role in the occupation.

In columns for the High Plains Journal, Loos has claimed that the environmental movement has roots in Nazism and that plans related to carbon emissions are actually aimed at depopulating the Earth. In an interview, he stood by both and said the latter was referencing efforts to sequester carbon.

He also backed baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. On Jan. 6, 2021, Loos interviewed a person who was in Washington, D.C., by video. At the end of the interview, Loos described the setting as “events and activities and we the people are speaking up for the future of liberty and freedom.”

About a week later, Loos tweeted that “even a blind man saw the election fraud that will be exposed this week.”

Thibodeau joined the race late and has lagged behind GOP front-runners in fundraising and polling.

Before launching her own bid, she was the running mate of fellow Republican Charles W. Herbster, a Falls City farmer and rancher who owns multiple businesses across five states. She has recently called that campaign “chaotic” and “disorganized” and said Herbster doesn’t have a grasp on Nebraska policy.

Loos said he was connected with Thibodeau through a mutual friend before she made her decision to run.

“I think it’s vitally important that we have the right governor follow (Ricketts) and continue to empower the people of this state instead of allowing any federal tyranny or any rights to be eroded,” he said. “Theresa was the one that does that.”

State Sen. Brett Lindstrom of Omaha is the only of the three Republican front-runners who has announced a running mate: former State Director of Economic Development Dave Rippe.

Herbster has not announced a running mate and neither has Jim Pillen, a Columbus hog producer and University of Nebraska Regent. On the other side of the ticket, Democrat Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue recently announced Al Davis, a former senator and rancher from western Nebraska, as her pick.


Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty » CCATDP Implores California Governor to Take Action on COVID-19 Prison Outbreak

This week, CCATDP sent a letter to California Governor, Gavin Newsom, imploring him to take action as COVID-19 ravages San Quentin State Prison and other facilities. You can read the full letter below.


June 30, 2020

Dear Governor Newsom:
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 inside San Quentin State Prison and across the state, we call for immediate action to save lives.

The COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin was foreseeable and completely preventable. As Judge Tigar acknowledged on June 19, 2020, during a case management conference in Newsom v. Plata, the transfers from the California Institution for Men to San Quentin were a “failure in policy and planning.” Judge Tigar urged CDCR to act quickly to release people to house arrest, furlough, or to another newly created facility, not to include a currently operating prison. Since those comments on June 19, COVID-19 has spread even more rapidly inside San Quentin. As you acknowledged in your public statements on June 25, 2020, the people at San Quentin are some of the most vulnerable in the State. Many people inside are elderly, have pre-existing medical conditions, and cannot observe the same precautions people on the outside observe daily to stay safe to the best of their abilities.

We believe there are at least 27 people inside San Quentin State Prison who have already been granted parole and are still in the 120-150 day review period during which your Office can make referrals back to the Board sitting en banc or reverse grants. Commissioners of the Board of Parole Hearings have deemed these 27 people safe for release after decades of rehabilitation; these are people who have solid parole plans, and who have immediate housing to return to in the community to shelter in place safely during this pandemic.
The names of individuals at San Quentin who we know to have been found suitable have already been provided in previous letters to you on this matter.
We ask that you immediately review all of the 27 people with parole grants for expedited release, suspend transfers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in order to save their lives and to reduce the overcrowding inside of San Quentin. Every hour the numbers of positive cases inside rise, we urge you to immediately release all 27 people who have already passed countless levels and layers of oversight and review. Many of these individuals have served decades in prison; to become sick or die awaiting release after they served their time and demonstrated their suitability to rejoin their families and communities would be a cruelty.
This is just one facility in need of immediate action. We urge you to release people who have been granted parole in every prison in this state – not just at San Quentin where the media is currently focusing their attention. Thousands of people are being needlessly exposed daily to the deadly risks inherent to California’s overcrowded prisons and the inability to safely distance inside. Yet hundreds of people who are already cleared for release by the Board of Parole
Hearings remain inside – only exacerbating these conditions, and delaying well-earned freedom.
Unnecessary delays in releasing people granted parole has been a looming injustice for years and have been made particularly heartbreaking by this current pandemic. There are many people inside who are simply hoping they will make it to their first day back on the outside to see their family before family members contract or suffer harm from COVID-19. We know a handful of folks where this was unfortunately not possible in time.
This is unacceptable and must change. We have seen overcrowded prison after overcrowded prison become the center of a COVID-19 outbreak, and keeping people deemed suitable for parole needlessly inside only contributes to the dangerousness of these conditions. Every day that justice is delayed, thousands of people who are our community, friends, clients, and family members are put at risk of potential death.
We urge you to act swiftly to save lives. Do not allow COVID to reverse your moratorium on the Death Penalty in California.


Hannah Cox
Senior National Manager
Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty



Governor Ricketts addresses current and ongoing Nebraska issues

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) – Governor Ricketts says he has the best job in the world, and he loves serving the people of Nebraska. And while it is unclear how he will continue to serve once a new year dawns, it is clear he has big plans for serving to the fullest until the end of his time as Governor.

On Thursday morning, Governor Pete Ricketts delivered his annual State of the State address in the George W. Norris Legislative Chamber. In the address, Gov. Ricketts overviewed his mid-biennium budget recommendation and legislative priorities to provide tax relief, strengthen public safety, and secure Nebraska’s water rights. He also set out his goals for the Legislature as it determines the use of $1.04 billion of federal funds available to Nebraska as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Additionally, he welcomed senators as they open the Second Session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature, (governor.nebraska.gov).

During the State of the State address, Governor Ricketts spent time laying out his plans for these many issues. At the end of his speech he said,

In an interview on Friday Governor Ricketts reminded Nebraskans that “Nebraska is an agricultural state.” This, in reference to the question asking him about his hopes for water issues in the state.

Governor Ricketts was asked to explain his reasoning behind supporting a new prison facility. He was asked for his thoughts on those such as the ACLU of Nebraska advocating against the new proposed prison ( aclunebraska.org/prison).

This includes addressing mental health issues. According to the governor, when a facility is modernized with a new one, the state will be able to maximize programs by having the space to be able to offer classes and all the enhanced services.

The abortion issue is another topic facing Nebraska and the Legislature. Senator Julie Slama from District 1 introduced Legislative Bill 781, requiring physicians, before they perform an abortion, to do an ultrasound and see whether they can detect a fetal heartbeat (cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac, or around 6 weeks of pregnancy). Amid contrasting legislation by Senator Megan Hunt of Omaha to expand abortion access in Nebraska, and a promise to fight any bans, Governor Ricketts was asked to weigh in.

He said, “So my favorite thing about being the governor is when the fourth-grade classes come to the Capitol and go on tours, and I catch up in the hallways and ask questions about Nebraska history, it’s a ton of fun. Fourth-grade-age, it’s a great age. And these school kids know so much about Nebraska History.”

“I think one of our biggest challenges is just making sure that we’re juggling all the different priorities. We’ve got a lot to get done in this very short legislative session. So we’re working hard with senators to be able to get done but is a short session, essentially we have two budgets to do – our regular budget adjustment plus our budget. We’ve got big issues we have to address with regard to protecting our water and protecting public safety. All those sorts of things. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. Of course, we got to continue to focus on tax relief, so that we can put the money people earned back in their pockets.”

That leads to the next question for the governor. It is the topic of property taxes, and how he hopes it is addressed.

Governor Ricketts addressed the money being allocated to Nebraska in the name of COVID-19 relief.

Then the governor was asked, “What motivates you to do all of this?” And that is when he said he has the best job in the world.

“Through the years, the guiding light of my administration has remained the same: to Grow Nebraska. And, despite weathering floods, fires, and a global pandemic, we have done just that. I was elected on the promise that I would bring tax relief to our state. It’s what the hardworking men and women of our state deserve. And, given our current financial situation, we must deliver,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.

Gov. Ricketts’ State of the State Address

President Foley, Speaker Hilgers, Members of the Legislature, Distinguished Guests, friends, my lovely wife and First Lady Susanne Shore, fellow Nebraskans – good morning!

Congratulations on the commencement of the Second Session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature. Welcome back to Lincoln. I look forward to working together to serve Nebraskans during what is certain to be a fast-paced, short session.

Eight years ago, I announced my run for Governor. I did so out of a love for my state and a desire to see her thrive. Through the years, the guiding light of my administration has remained the same: to Grow Nebraska. And, despite weathering floods, fires, and a global pandemic, we have done just that. In the face of unprecedented challenges, the State of the State is strong. We’ve been living with COVID-19 for nearly two years. It’s changed the way we do business, educate, learn, and go about our daily lives. And in some tragic cases, it’s taken lives. But, true to our collective character, we have kept moving forward. The development of vaccines, boosters, and new treatments has given us the opportunity to return to the pursuit of the Good Life. Nebraskans don’t need to be mandated to do the right thing. They just do it. Without lockdowns or mandates, businesses were able to stay open. Parents were able to return to work, and their children were able to return to school. Where authoritarian states are struggling, we are thriving.

Politico’s State Pandemic Response Scorecard confirms this. An in-depth, independent analysis of all 50 states shows Nebraska has weathered this storm better than any other state. We have the lowest unemployment rate in history – not only in the history of our state but of our nation – at 1.8 percent.

Last November marked the third month in a row with over one million Nebraskans employed. And, our manufacturing sector has come roaring back. In fact, today more Nebraskans are working in manufacturing than pre-pandemic. Our economic successes are a testament to Nebraskans’ desire to work hard and earn. From teachers to truck drivers, mechanics to medical professionals, farmers to fast food workers, and every profession in between, our state’s women and men invest their time and effort to better their communities and support their families. Last year, we supported their work and helped them grow Nebraska. Thanks to the leadership of Chairwoman Linehan and the Revenue Committee, the 2021 session ushered in a historic level of tax relief—relief that will deliver $2 billion to Nebraskans over the next two years. Many other great bills were passed into law thanks to your hard work.

Chairman Friesen, Speaker Hilgers, and the Telecommunications and Transportation Committee joined forces to secure passage of the Nebraska Rural Broadband Bridge Act. As a result, an additional thirty thousand Nebraska households will have access to high-speed broadband. Senators Brewer and Gragert shepherded through legislation that fully exempts military retirement pay from state income tax. Reforms like this are how we will keep talented veterans in our state. All this—and more—was accomplished while responsibly managing state spending and limiting expenditures to only 2.4 percent growth. Behind the numbers, we’ve experienced intangible growth as well. Throughout Nebraska, our people’s grit, drive, and selflessness were on full display in 2021. From North Omaha to North Platte, folks stepped up to solve problems in their communities.

In North Omaha, business and community leaders have been working to develop and revitalize Omaha’s historic North 24th Street. Through physical improvements such as providing high-speed fiber optic upgrades, and a comprehensive streetscape plan, the project’s work promises to bring businesses and customers back to the area.

In the home of famed Buffalo Bill Cody, North Platte ranchers felt the squeeze that comes with a lack of options for meat processing. Instead of accepting the status quo, David Briggs and others have launched Sustainable Beef, a beef processing plant that promises to bring nearly 900 jobs to the North Platte community and more than one billion dollars in annual revenue. More importantly, Nebraska’s ranchers will have more choice as they run their businesses.

Today, I’m joined by some of the people who are responsible for these incredible efforts: North Omaha’s Carmen Tapio, CEO of North End Teleservices; Pastor Ralph Lassiter, a leader with the North 24th Street Business Improvement District; and David Briggs, CEO of Sustainable Beef. Please join me in welcoming them.

Carmen, Pastor Ralph, and David: thank you for all you do to make our state better.

Other Nebraskans also continued to step up for one another. In 2021, over 200 of our men and women accepted the call to join the thin blue line that protects and serves our communities. They’ve earned that badge. They were trained, challenged, and tested – thanks, in part, to the work of instructors at our Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island. We are joined here today by Law Enforcement Training Center Director Brenda Urbanek and Deputy Director Mark Stephenson. They work to make sure our men and women in blue are ready to respond to the unique needs of their communities. Brenda and Mark, thank you for all you do.

Our students continued to pursue personal development. We enter 2022 with more than 3,900 Nebraskans in registered apprenticeship programs throughout the state—including through our six great community colleges. That’s 3,900 more Nebraskans who are pursuing growth and contributing to our diverse, skilled workforce.

And, Nebraska continues to serve as a beacon for life. This includes the amazing aid our crisis pregnancy centers and other organizations provide to new mothers and their babies. It also includes the work our people do for some of Nebraska’s most vulnerable—born and unborn.

I specifically want to recognize all that Attorney General Doug Peterson does to combat human trafficking in our state. During his tenure, the State of Nebraska has prosecuted 76 sex trafficking crimes, holding accountable those who are exploiting the vulnerable and delivering justice for victims of this modern-day form of slavery. Thank you, AG Peterson, for your leadership to ensure that all Nebraskans can expect justice and equality under the law.

We must also recognize all the doctors, nurses, and health care professionals, whose stalwart selflessness and excellent care has helped us weather this pandemic. Please help me thank our healthcare heroes. We’ve come a long way in one year. But there is still work to be done. Work that will help everyone in our state thrive. This legislative session, there are four priorities we must accomplish to keep Nebraska strong for years to come.

It’s likely not a surprise to any of you that I am starting with tax relief. It’s been a staple of my budget recommendations every year. I was elected on the promise that I would bring tax relief to our state. It’s what the hardworking men and women of our state deserve. And, given our current financial situation, we must deliver. Last year, we successfully passed a two-year budget that set priorities for this year and next. While there is an opportunity to fine-tune this plan, I expect state agencies and our partners to live within our existing budget and limit any budget growth to under three percent. By the end of the fiscal year 2023, the State of Nebraska is anticipated to have an estimated $1.5 billion in its Cash Reserve Fund. Let me say that again: 1.5 billion dollars. Folks, this is the people’s money, and we must support tax relief that puts this money back into the pockets of the people. To start, we can build on last session’s reforms by accelerating the phase-in of Social Security tax exemptions to five years, instead of the current ten-year period. This would allow our older neighbors and friends to keep more of their hard-earned money. We also need to ensure that we are building upon the historic amount of property tax relief provided during last session. This fiscal year – and next – $548 million in annual property tax relief will go back to our people through LB1107. And we must make sure it does not drop below this floor. Finally, over the next five years, we must reduce the top individual tax rate by one percent – from 6.84 percent to 5.84 percent. For those who may try to brand this as a tax cut for the rich, I challenge you to ask Nebraskans earning $33,180 a year, or families earning $66,360 a year, if they feel rich. They make up the 418,900 Nebraskans in this tax bracket who deserve relief. And we can offer that relief while aligning job creator rates to this new individual income tax rate. It’s imperative that we also remember our core responsibility: to protect public safety. After all, people are our greatest resource. There are several opportunities this session to strengthen our commitment to keep Nebraskans safe.

Historic agreements were struck to provide substantial pay increases for our 24/7 public health and safety positions. This will help us attract and retain quality corrections teammates. We’ve already seen a fivefold increase in Department of Corrections applicants since this announcement was made.

I am also requesting $16.9 million to enhance our state crime lab, which analyzes forensic and physical criminal evidence to better secure justice for victims of crime. And $47.7 million to go toward the expansion of our Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island.

Finally, we must fully fund the replacement of the Nebraska State Penitentiary. The existing penitentiary was built over one hundred and fifty years ago. Its walls are crumbling, and its infrastructure is aged beyond simple repair. For those wishing to pursue criminal justice reform, this should be a no-brainer. A modern facility will give our inmates a better quality of life. Modernizing our State Penitentiary will allow us to offer enhanced services and programming to prepare these men for life after time served. I am not asking anyone to choose between supporting a modern State Penitentiary and pursuing policies that aim to reduce crime and recidivism. These solutions are not at odds, and there is room for both as we work to strengthen Nebraska.

This year, we can also help secure our water resources for generations to come. After our people, water is Nebraska’s greatest natural resource. To secure Nebraska’s water supply, I am recommending $500 million to construct a canal and reservoir system from the South Platte River. Access to this water enables our farmers and ranchers to produce. It protects quality drinking water. It keeps electric generating costs manageable, and it ensures Nebraska remains the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family. If we fail to secure our supply from the South Platte River, we could expect to lose 90 percent of the water that currently comes to us from Colorado. We must act to preserve, protect, manage, and steward our water supply for our future Nebraskans. I am also requesting $200 million be allocated to the water projects presented by the STAR WARS Special Committee. These projects will also secure our access to water—and they provide the additional promise to grow the Good Life in tourism and recreation.

In addition, I am recommending: $5 million to support repairs on the Peru Levee; $60 million to restore and protect drinking water systems in rural areas, such as Cedar and Knox Counties; and $23 million in repairs to the Fort Laramie Gering canal tunnel.

This year, we also have the rare task of spending the $1.04 billion that Nebraska has been allocated through the American Rescue Plan Act. These ARPA funds can help our state grow into the future. Today, I am releasing a second budget recommendation with proposals on how to spend this ARPA funding, and I look forward to the robust debate that will ensue as you work to determine where this money is best spent. I cannot stress it enough: ARPA funds are one-time funds. They must be spent as such. Each one of us has a responsibility to guard against spending this money in a way that grows government expenses. My proposal includes 29 qualifying initiatives that will better Nebraska. It will deliver nearly $200 million for public health emergency response. And, for areas that experienced negative economic impacts from COVID-19, I am requesting over $500 million. This includes assistance for economic development projects in North Omaha and funding for beef processing supply chain issues in North Platte. It secures funding for parents of low-income children who have experienced learning loss during the pandemic, and it provides Nebraska’s community colleges dollars to enhance their workforce development programs. It also funds behavioral health and nursing incentives to ensure continued access to excellent care throughout our state. In addition, my ARPA budget proposal includes over $284 million to water and sewer projects. This includes partial funding for the Perkins County Canal and Reservoir construction, funding for the STAR WARS Special Committee proposals, and other key water projects I’ve mentioned today.

Putting money back into the pockets of hardworking Nebraskans. Protecting public safety. Securing access to our natural resources. And investing in one-time projects that will enhance our state. These are the ways we can keep Nebraska strong and growing in 2022. I know that there will be tough debates. Long nights. And seemingly impossible time constraints. But I also know that we get the job done when everyone rolls up their sleeves and works together.

Thank you for your service to the people of Nebraska. Our work in the coming days will require a spirit of collaboration and cooperation and for each of us to do our part to keep Nebraska strong. I look forward to the challenge, opportunity, and honor of working with you. Remember: Nebraska is what America is supposed to be. God bless you all, and God bless the great State of Nebraska!

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