Gubernatorial Debate Held at State Fair

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- With elections a little more than two months away, candidates for the Governor's office, Chuck Hassebrook and Pete Ricketts, faced off in a debate at the Nebraska State Fair Monday night.

Potential voters came to the Heartland Events Center to hear Democratic Candidate Chuck Hassebrook and Republican Pete Ricketts lay out their plans for Nebraska's future.

The debate started with each candidate answering how they would differ from longtime Governor Dave Heineman. Hassebrook said he would take a more hands-on approach, and used the prison system as an example.

"We have been releasing dangerous criminals to prey on our citizens and to prey on our family members, and the Governor has the authority under existing law to deal with that," Hassebrook said.

Ricketts replied, "Now it's time to take it to the next level, and this is what I want to do using my business experience because that's what we did at Ameritrade, is to build on the things that we did to always look at how can we do something better?"

When asked about tax reform, both said property taxes are a major concern.

"Putting more money into the property tax relief fund, and fourth what we have to do is cretale what the state does to counties and school districts when it pushes down unfunded mandates," Ricketts said.

"I will start by ending the practice of pushing costs down off the state, on to counties and local government and onto the property tax," Hassebrook said. "I'll refocus the money the state spends to provide property tax relief."

Immigration was also a hot topic. When asked whether or not undocumented immigrants should be able to obtain a driver's license, Hassebrook said he supports children who don't come to the U.S. by choice.

"I believe they should have the same opportunity to pay tuition to go to college as my kids, and to have a driver's license, get a job and give back," Hassebrook said.

Ricketts disagreed and said, "We can't provide tax payer benefits to illegal immigrants. It's not fair and it's not right. It's certainly not fair to our tax payers and it's also not fair to the folks who are trying to do it the right way."

A third and final debate is set for October 2 in Lincoln. Elections for Governor will take place November 4.