Nebraska District 34 candidates share fundraising thoughts

In interviews this week, legislative candidates Loren Lippincott and Mike Reimers shared their views on campaign fundraising.

Reimers was going to fundraise, but decided against it.

If organizations donate to a campaign and they want something down the road, you feel obligated to do something, Reimers said.

But since he hasn’t held any fundraisers, businesses and organizations will have to “tell me why I should vote for something,” he said.

That way, “I can work better for people” and not for a band, Reimers said.

Lippincott said people often get “a bad taste in their mouths about lobbyists because they think it denotes under-the-table type dealings.”

But that’s how he and many lawmakers view lobbyists, Lippincott said:

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“Lobbyists are educators. They are teachers,” he said.

Seven hundred bills are introduced in a legislative session, he said.

“There’s no way, even if you’re as wise as Solomon, to be an expert on 700 different topics,” Lippincott said.

A lawmaker can contact lobbyists “who represent different companies interested in the legislation under consideration,” Lippincott said.

People might wonder what guarantees that a lobbyist is honest.

“All of their work is built on their credibility,” Lippincott said. “If they say things that aren’t true, their credibility is destroyed. They are worth nothing. So it’s important.

A legislator must be smart enough to ask questions about all aspects of a bill. “Because there are always two or more sides to every bill,” Lippincott said.

A legislator must be knowledgeable enough to question the pros and cons of a bill. Almost “universally speaking, the lobbyist will give you both sides of the question. Because it’s like that. They know you are trying to be educated on an issue.

Sometimes a lobbyist and the companies they represent “will give you money. This in no way obliges you to owe them anything. They just realize campaigns are very expensive,” Lippincott said.

The money Lippincott has spent hopefully shows “I’m fully committed to the campaign,” he said.

“Spending is a way to show voters who I am and what I represent to the 40,000 residents of the 34th District,” he said.

A story in the Omaha World-Herald, he noted, reported that the average Nebraska legislative campaign costs $150,000. In 2020, the average cost was $144,000.

Lippincott began his campaign in March 2021. That month he produced a campaign video, assembled by a team from Columbus, Ohio.

Lippincott knocked on more than 6,000 doors in the 18 towns of the district. He has spent over 200 hours attending functions over the past 20 months.

Reimers has participated in over 30 events. He and his wife, Lori, knocked on nearly 6,000 doors.

“I always hit,” Reimers said Friday. “I hope to reach another 300 to 500 before the end of the weekend.

How does Reimers see his chances of being elected?

“I think my chances are 50-50. There are still a lot of variables in the race,” he said.

Reimers points out that he “lived in the community for over 30 years.” He has worked on equipment for many farmers in the area. So he knows a lot of people.

Reimers lived near Aurora for 26 years. He’s lived in Central City for the last five or six years.

Since primary, Reimers said he’s made a real effort to “go out and knock on a lot of doors” and attend a lot of events.

He attended events “that people attended”, rather than events organized by a political party or group, he said.

Reimers says if he’s elected, he won’t be hard to find.

“I’m going to be direct. If I am elected, everyone will see me a lot. I’m not going to go to Lincoln and go home,” he said. “I will work for people as I need to work for them.”

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