Candidate for Governor
Running Mate: Joe Kelly
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a Christian, conservative Republican, a livestock producer, a businessman, a farmer, and a veterinarian. I’ve spent my entire life in Nebraska agriculture, growing up farming with my dad and brothers. I played football for Coach Osborne at UNL, became a veterinarian, and then partnered with my dad, Dale, to raise 60 sows and 1,200 market hogs on a dirt lot on our home farm. Starting from that dirt lot, I founded Pillen Family Farms, a family-owned, family-run business that has created over 1,000 Nebraska jobs. At the center of my life are my faith and my family: my wife, Suzanne; our four children, Sarah, Brock, Polly, and Izic; and our seven grandchildren, Will, Halle, Eloise, Henry, Harrison, Ava, and Thomas
Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for governor to keep Nebraska great for all our kids and grandkids. That means fixing our broken property tax system, keeping more of our kids here, strengthening our rural communities, defending agriculture, and preserving the Christian, conservative values that make Nebraska so special.
What would be your top priority if elected?
We need transformational change to solve our property tax problem. High property taxes hurt every Nebraskan and make our state less competitive. Governor Ricketts has made good on his promise to address property taxes every year he’s been in office, but still, property taxes remain too high. The problems have to be addressed, starting with local spending.
What relevant experience would you bring to the office?
I’ve spent my entire life in Nebraska agriculture. I’ve built a successful agribusiness from the ground up, creating over 1,000 Nebraska jobs. I know how to grow our economy because I’ve built, invested, and hired here. I know how to support our farmers and ranchers because I’m one of them. My wife, Suzanne, and I have been raising kids here for over 40 years, so we know what it takes to ensure our young people can succeed. I’ll bring all of this experience to the table as Nebraska’s next governor.
Do you support tax relief for Nebraskans? If so, what type and how would you make it happen?
Nebraska is a high-tax state across the board, but my first priority is addressing the property tax issue. We need tighter spending controls at all levels of government, because your property tax dollars are levied and spent locally, not by the state. Next, we need to provide additional property tax relief to saw the property tax “leg” of the “three-legged stool” of Nebraska’s tax code down to size. We need to adopt an income-based assessment system to more fairly value ag land. Finally, we need to reform how we distribute state aid to education. The current system is outdated and unfair.
Nebraska has consistently recorded one of the lowest unemployment rates during the pandemic. How would you continue the streak as governor?
The best thing we can do is to keep more of our kids here and ensure that every one of them has an advanced skillset so that they can get a good job.
What plan do you have to make housing more affordable for Nebraskans?
I believe in the free market, and I want to work with business leaders and community leaders alike to make sure we have housing where we need it, especially in rural Nebraska. Housing is critical for attracting new investments, opportunities, and people to our rural communities.
How would you address concerns from business owners across the state dealing with supply chain issues and labor shortages?
As governor, I will use every tool in the toolbox to help job creators attract and retain world-class talent, starting right here at home. I will do everything in my power to cut red tape and regulations and make it easier to do business in Nebraska. Nebraska is the very best of America, and if we do a better job of telling people about it, improving education, and competing for talent, we’re going to see even greater results.
As governor, how would you address overcrowding within the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services?
Public safety is a core function of government, and our prison system plays a big role. We need to make additional investments in our corrections system to expand capacity, enhance programming, and reduce recidivism. We cannot allow dangerous criminals back onto our streets before they’ve served their time.
Do you believe Nebraska’s elections are free, fair and secure?
We need a voter ID requirement to ensure the security of our elections. That’s why I strongly support the Voter ID ballot initiative. Nebraskans deserve the confidence of knowing that this commonsense measure is in place to prevent fraudulent votes from being cast.