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Sen. Suzanne Geist running for re-election in 25th legislative district

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 3:45 PM CDT
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The following responses have not been edited.
Name (also include name you’d prefer to be called):

Suzanne Geist

Preferred political party:

Republican

Current or most recent profession:

Self Employed

Tell us a little about yourself:

I have been married to Mark Geist for 36 years. Mother of 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren (two more on the way). I graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. I've worked in sales for 20+ years; Data Communications, Pharmaceutical Sales and Fashion.

Why are you running for this office?

I want to continue to serve the citizens of my District and the State of Nebraska for four more years by focusing on issues related to Mental Health and Corrections. I'm also very active on issues of Transportation and Telecommunications and Natural Resources. Those are the two standing committees on which I currently serve.

Do you support the actions taken by federal, state and local government officials to combat the spread of COVID-19?

I do support the actions taken by the federal, state and local leaders to date. I see many taking very courageous stands to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens. I also see heroic efforts by the medical community and the community at large, to support the victims of the COVID-19 virus. I am deeply concerned about the hit small businesses are taking and the massive unemployment the shutdowns have caused.

What, if any, changes would you propose?

I am most supportive of a local effort to control the virus spread. I believe those leaders in a community know best how to manage their community. A "one size fits all" approach is rarely the most effective. I do believe medical guidance is vital and needs to be prevalent. But I oppose mandates that restrict citizens. Good education and information are often the best motivators. I believe Governor Ricketts is carefully navigating this pandemic in our state, and is doing a good job of balancing the rights of the citizens and the responsibility we have to our most vulnerable population.

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

I believe we as citizens, to the best of our ability and within our own means, can look after our neighbors. That can be as different as we are individually. Whether it's buying gift cards, supporting take out meals, watching someone's child as they work, reaching out the to elderly in our neighborhoods. It's not always a financial support, but a human and caring support. This is a time of great uncertainty for all of us. Each person has something to offer others, time, talent or treasure. I do believe this will be a time for us to refocus on those around us and to look outward more for the needs of others and provide whatever is in our power to help.

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

Currently, we need to support the businesses in our community in any way possible, especially those who have had to shut their doors. Although much assistance is coming from the Federal government, and I do support that effort, but individual communities and local governments are going to have to get involved also. We will need to address the unemployment issues and the ripple effect that causes. I suspect we will also have to support businesses as they get back on their feet, in a similar way as the Federal government is doing.

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

One issue I heard continually when I was able to knock on doors was one of civility in the political arena. This cannot be solved with a bill, it can only be demonstrated and, hopefully, one I can lead by example. Once the virus subsides and the dust clears, there will be many issues on our plate. Some we don't even realize right now. I do believe the citizens want their leaders to lead in a positive, thoughtful way. They want leaders who will listen, be decisive and encourage others to follow without the personal attacks we've witnessed over the past number of years (both sides guilty).

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

Besides the comments above, I've learned over the past four years how important experience is in the Legislature. I cannot overstate how essential it is to build good relationships with colleagues, agencies, businesses and to understand how those relationship enhance and inform the legislative process. I have worked hard over the past four years to learn as much as I can in my committees, in my District and about other Districts across the state. We are truly all connected and to the degree that I learn as much as I can and can apply that knowledge to the Legislature, is the degree I will be an effective legislator. I believe this is an area where I excel and I would be honored to continue to utilize what I have learned in the next four years.

How has your experience prepared you for this job?

My sales background has been quite valuable to me as a legislator. I am a good listener. I'm used to listening to a problem and strategizing about solutions. I'm also personally driven and a hard worker. This job requires both.

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

I have the experience needed as we move ahead into a time of rebuilding. I have learned how to navigate the process of legislating effectively and the Legislature is going to need all the insight and experience available as we forge ahead in the coming days. I believe there are prosperous days ahead and I will continue to hold a positive vision for our State. I also believe that will be best achieved by working together for what is best for District 25 and for our entire State.

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

This unprecedented time in our Community will pass. When it does, we will need experienced leaders we can rely on to rebuild our businesses and lead in a way that brings us all together. I am that type of leader and I would be honored to continue to serve both District 25 and Nebraska.

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