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State Sen. Mike Hilgers seeking second term in Unicameral

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 8:03 AM CDT
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The following responses have been revised per candidate's request.
Name (also include name you’d prefer to be called):

Mike Hilgers

Preferred political party:

Republican

Current or most recent profession:

Business Owner and Attorney

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am dad, a small business owner in Northwest Lancaster County, and I have been serving in the Legislature the last four years. My wife Heather and I have four young children--Alice (8), Elsie (5), Clara Jane (3), and Michael Jr. (1). I started my law firm nine years ago in Lincoln and have created a number of high-paying jobs in our community. For the last three years my firm has been named as one of the fastest growing private companies in the country according to Inc. magazine (in 2018 it was named the fastest growing private company in Lincoln). I currently serve as Chairman of the Executive Board in the Legislature.

Why are you running for this office?

I am running for re-election to help build on the last four years to solve problems for our community. In these uncertain times, we need, now more than ever, leaders that know how to create economic opportunities and jobs. We need lower taxes, smarter and more efficient government, fewer obstacles to creating jobs and less red tape, increased access to health care, and a stronger foundation for our future with a strong education system. I have spent four years in the Legislature working on those issues, sponsoring, prioritizing, and helping pass legislation saving taxpayers millions of dollars, cutting red tape, increasing access to primary care health services, and other common-sense bills that have passed with wide and bipartisan support. I am running to build on this work.

Do you support the actions taken by federal, state and local government officials to combat the spread of COVID-19? What, if any, changes would you propose?

Nebraska has had strong leadership in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Legislature’s efficient, responsive, and bipartisan approach to funding over $80 million to fight the spread here in Nebraska was appropriate. Nebraska’s local leaders have done a good job responding to the crisis. The impact on our economy, and on jobs, has been severe. The decisions over the coming days and weeks will be critical as we move towards reopening the economy.

What is your message to the people of this district and all Nebraskans during this time of crisis?

Thank you for what you are doing. We can’t beat the virus without all of us doing our part. This is an uncertain and difficult time, especially as so many jobs are lost, small businesses are put to the brink, and our economy has taken a heavy blow. But what is certain is that we will get past the current crisis.

How will you support the economy now and after social distancing requirements end?

Individually, my law practice employs a number of people in Lincoln, and we are committed to keeping our employees and retaining benefits. We are making an extra effort to support local businesses, especially those who that have been the hardest hit, such as local restaurants.

What other issues facing voters are most important to you as a candidate?

Affordability and job opportunities are at the top of the list. I frequently hear about the crushing burden of taxes in Nebraska, from property taxes, to cable taxes, to cell phone taxes. To ensure a strong future, where our fixed income seniors and families do not feel like they are financially squeezed and, in some cases, decide to move to other states, we need to help create conditions for higher wage job growth and lower our tax burden.

Why do you consider yourself the best person to address the needs of voters in your legislative district?

First, I have a track record of introducing and prioritizing win-win-win legislation that has passed with wide and bipartisan support. My first year, I introduced a bill that was estimated to save $19 million/year in construction costs while speeding up highway construction projects. That bill passed without opposition. My second year, my priority bill expanded access to direct primary health care, an innovative approach to health care access for which the evidence we heard suggests that it increases access, lowers cost, leads to better health outcomes, and higher provider satisfaction rates. That passed with wide support. My third year, I introduced and prioritized legislation that helped expedite the long-awaited South Beltway project (to be completed in an estimated three years instead of eight or nine). Expediting the Beltway projects to save taxpayers money while providing a tremendous boost to our city. That also passed with wide bipartisan support. In addition to these bills, we have passed a number of other bills that have helped solve problems, from helping to cut red tape to streamlining processes and solving other problems. I have worked with senators of both parties to find solutions to our common problems.

Second, I am a small business owner who has created jobs here in Lincoln and know what it takes to help support our economy. I have direct experience recruiting young professionals and families to Nebraska, navigating the red tape of government bureaucracy, providing benefits, creating job opportunities, and being a part of our economic engine in Nebraska. We need as many good jobs in Nebraska as we can get, and I have created them.

Third, I am also a trained attorney who has spent nearly fifteen years as a practicing litigator. My legal training and experience have proven invaluable to navigating the legislative process; my legal training has been instrumental in understanding and crafting bills and statutes and in applying our constitutional and federalist framework. Beyond that, from my legal experience and training I have learned the skills of advocacy while also, critically, learning how to work with others on opposing sides to find solutions and common ground and not to personalize disputes.

How has your experience prepared you for this job?

As described above, my experience as a sitting senator (in which I have passed significant legislation and been elected Chairman of the Legislature’s Executive Board), my experience as a small business owner and employer, and my experience as a trained and practicing attorney have all prepared me for the job.

What separates you from your primary challenger(s)? What about your potential general election challenger?

My experience, training, and track record are unique to this race. If voters are looking for an experienced senator who has a track record of finding bipartisan solutions to problems, has helped find win-win-wins for our community (such as finding ways to save millions in highway construction while speeding up construction, or by helping to expedite the South Beltway project), who has built a business, created high-paying jobs, successfully recruited young families to our state, been an active part of our economic engine, and who is raising a young family in our community, then I believe that I am that candidate.

Is there any other message, statement or concern you’d like to address?

It has been an honor to serve District 21 and Northwest Lancaster County in the Legislature. Over the last four years we have worked to serve you and to solve problems. I am running to build on those four years of work and I respectfully ask for your vote in this election.

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