LINCOLN — Candidates to replace Lavon Heidemann on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents have until March 8 to apply for the job.
Gov. Dave Heineman already has the name of one man who says he is very interested.
That is Mike Jones, a David City, Neb., insurance agency owner who was Heidemann's opponent last year for the seat that represents southeast Nebraska, including part of Lancaster County.
The seat came open Wednesday with Heineman's announcement that Heidemann was his pick as lieutentant governor. A former state senator and chairman of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, Heidemann ran for the Board of Regents last year after Nebraska's term limits forced him out.
He took office as a regent in January and had attended one board meeting before Heineman asked him to replace former Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, who resigned after using his state-issued cell phone to make phone calls to several women.
Like Heineman and Heidemann, Jones is a Republican. He garnered 47 percent of the vote in the regents race. Jones said he learned of Heidemann's departure from the board. He said he began receiving numerous phone calls Wednesday after Heineman's announcement.
“They were hoping this meant we had a renewed opportunity for me to serve on the board,” he said. '“I sure would want to. I've already let the governor know I'm interested. A nice turnout of voters supported our campaign, and I think we could do a good job of filling that vacancy if the governor would put me in it.”
In conjunction with his campaign, Jones began regularly attending regents meetings last year to familiarize himself with its issues and operations so he could hit the ground running.
“I was serious about my interest and that hasn't changed at all,” he said.
In a news release Thursday, the governor's office said qualified applicants have through March 8 to submit applications for the post. A link to the application will be attached to this story on Omaha.com.
The appointee would serve through at least 2014, when an election would be held for the remainder of the six-year term.
Jones said it was too soon to say whether he would run in 2014 if not appointed. Jones ran last year without the endorsement of Nebraska Right to Life because he would not promise to vote against embryonic stem cell research. He said Thursday that he considers himself “fundamentally pro-life” because he opposes abortion.
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