FULLERTON, Neb. — Annette Dubas fired up her gubernatorial campaign with the help of a grill Sunday, as the Democratic candidate launched her campaign with a barbecue/picnic on her family farm near Fullerton.
Dubas, 57, hopes to become the first Democrat since Ben Nelson — who left office in 1999 — to become governor.
She made it clear Sunday she planned to run as a centrist, saying she was raised in a nonpartisan fashion by parents who came from different political parties.
“I wasn’t raised with Democratic or Republican values,” said Dubas, a two-term state senator. “I was raised with Nebraska values — values based on faith, family, community, patriotism and hard work.”
Dubas is one of two Democrats, along with five Republicans, running to replace Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman.
Her first electoral hurdle will be to secure the Democratic nomination. For the first time since 1990, Democrats have a competitive gubernatorial primary, pitting Dubas against Chuck Hassebrook, a former member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. He briefly ran for U.S. Senate last year, until Democrat Bob Kerrey jumped into the race.
Dubas said in August that she planned to run. Since then, she’s been putting together a campaign. Her formal entry Sunday set the stage for a four-day tour of the state, with stops set for today in Omaha and Lincoln.
Dubas was born in Omaha but moved to Fullerton as a teen. She and her husband, Ron, own a farm/ranch operation, where she has worked since she married her “high school sweetheart.”
“I have never been afraid to tackle the hard jobs, whether cleaning hog sheds, driving a truck or working to save a newborn calf,” she said.
Dubas has served in the Nebraska Legislature for the past seven years, winning elections as chairwoman of the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.
In her announcement speech she emphasized her moderate credentials, noting that she backed one of the largest tax cuts in Nebraska history in 2007. That measure gave homeowners a property tax credit, reduced income taxes and ended the state’s marriage tax penalty.
She said her priority will be to find more ways to lower property taxes, saying she will work with state lawmakers and communities to find a way to ease the burden on homeowners and others.
“While property taxes are a local issue, the state cannot ignore the fact that our decisions factor into property tax rates, rates that affect homeowners, renters, small and large businesses and farmers and ranchers,” she said.
She also said education would be a priority, noting she served on the Fullerton school board for many years.
In addition to her appearances in Omaha and Lincoln, Dubas over the next four days will visit South Sioux City, Norfolk, Columbus, Kearney, Lexington, North Platte, Scottsbluff, Alliance, Broken Bow and Grand Island.