Lincoln Senator Mike Hilgers is the new Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, which began its 90-day 2021 session on Wednesday.
A Republican in the officially non-partisan body, Hilgers was the only nominee and won unanimous confirmation.
Hilgers pledged to do everything he can to make the legislature run right because if it does, “it will unleash the creative energies and talents of every one of you who speak for thousands of others in your communities.”
He said he would treat all senators equally and ensure full and fair debate on all measures that come before them – emphasizing he will never personalize a dispute.
Hilgers said Nebraska has a unique political environment because while political discourse elsewhere tends to focus on destroying people and tearing down, Nebraskans expect their legislative leaders to meet challenges head-on because that’s what generations of those leaders have done.
Governor Pete Ricketts issued a congratulatory statement to Senator Hilgers on his election, saying the new Speaker brings to the role great experience and rapport with his colleagues built over his first 4 years in the Legislature.
Ricketts said there’s important work ahead, from a new two-year budget and redistricting to tax relief and controlling spending, and he looks forward to collaborating with Hilgers and all the members of the Unicameral on the people’s priorities.
The 25 lawmakers elected or reelected in November were sworn-in by Nebraska Chief Justice Mike Heavican, but took the oath standing within their Plexiglass-lined cubicle rather than together at the front of the chamber in another concession to COVID