LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Wednesday that he has chosen his campaign press secretary, Julie Slama, to fill a coming vacancy in the Nebraska Legislature.

Slama, 22, a fifth-generation Nebraskan from Peru, will replace State Sen. Dan Watermeier in representing southeast Nebraska’s District 1. The district encompasses Johnson, Nemaha, Pawnee and Richardson Counties and part of Otoe County.

Watermeier, of Syracuse, was elected to the Public Service Commission in November. He is slated to step down on Jan. 9.

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“Julie will push for property tax relief, help create policy that supports strong families and work to grow agriculture,” Ricketts said. “She will be a fierce advocate for rural communities and will help bridge the urban-rural divide in the Legislature.”

She said she looks forward to “working to cut property taxes, protecting our pro-life values and creating more opportunities for our farm families.”

Slama is a registered Republican, as was Watermeier. She has worked with special needs students as a substitute paraprofessional in the Auburn Public Schools. She also volunteered as a counselor for the American Legion’s Cornhusker Girls State and as an assistant track coach at Auburn High School.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, where she was a member of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program, which aims to provide conservative views on campus, and was director of operations for the Yale Daily News.

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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