District 12 race is only contested local primary

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Posted: Friday, May 9, 2014 12:00 am

With a little less than a week remaining before the May 13 primary, voters in the Ralston area will be finding only one major local race being contested on ballots next Tuesday.

That will be the race for the District 12 Nebraska Legislature seat which was vacated by Sen. Steve Lathrop at the end of the Unicameral session last month. Lathrop has been term-limited out of the seat he served in for eight years.

Vying to take his place in the chamber are Merv Riepe of Ralston, and Greg Hosch and Joe Hering of Omaha.

The top two vote-getters will move on to the November general election in the officially nonpartisan race.

Riepe, a longtime Ralston resident and a retired hospital administrator for the Children’s Health Network and Bergan Mercy Medical Center, was the first candidate to declare, doing so back in November.

A Republican, Riepe, 71, said he is keeping a close eye on heath care issues, especially the expansion of Medicaid, which he sees as a potential tax liability or one that draws money away from such important expenditures as roads and education.

He said he’s also focused on tax issues, crime prevention and prison reform.

Hosch, a Democrat, lives in the Millard portion of District 12 and owns Horsemen’s Park just east of 60th and Q streets, also part of the district.

Hosch, 62, joined the race in December and said, as the owner of a business similar to that of the Ralston Arena, he’s interested in what he can do to continue to make the facility a moneymaker for the city.

Other planks in Hosch’s platform focused on enhancing public safety and enacting property tax relief.

In February, Hering, 46, and an inventory control specialist for the City of Omaha, joined the race.

Describing himself as a moderate Republican and fiscal conservative, Hering said his emphasis is on the development of a “work-fare” program in the state, a continuing defense of gun rights, support to the state’s farmers and ranchers and keeping salaries for the state’s public school teachers competitive.

Hering also served an internship in the Legislature in 1992 and 1993 and said his experience there spurred him into his first run for public office.

It is also Hosch’s first political race. Riepe ran twice, unsuccessfully, for the Ralston Public Schools Board of Education.

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