FREMONT – State Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont launched his bid for governor Monday.
Janssen, a 42-year-old Republican, pledged to address tax reform, regulatory reform and economic development and job creation as part of a campaign to "exchange ideas'' with Nebraska voters.
"This campaign is the start of a conversation about how we can move this state forward while maintaining our commitment to economic freedom, individual liberty and personal responsibility,'' he said.
The contest for the governor's job in 2014 was thrown wide open by the recent resignation of Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, who had been considered the front-runner. Gov. Dave Heineman will vacate the office in two years because of term limits.
Janssen, who was elected in November to his second four-year term in the Legislature, has been an advocate for tougher immigration laws but has been unsuccessful in getting such legislation passed. He has also pushed requirements that voters present identification at polling places, and he is seeking to rescind a law passed last year that provides state-funded prenatal care for the unborn children of illegal immigrants.
He is the majority owner of a company that provides temporary health care workers for hospitals and other medical institutions. He is married and has three children.
Janssen grew up in Nickerson, Neb., and graduated from Logan View High School before enlisting in the Navy. He served two tours of duty as a search and rescue swimmer aboard a guided missile frigate in Kuwait. He is a graduate of Wayne (Neb.) State College.
Other potential Republican candidates include State Treasurer Don Stenberg.
On the Democratic side, potential candidates include State Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, and Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons, a former NU regent.
Janssen made his candidacy official with an announcement in front of more than 150 supporters at Midland University. He plans to make campaign appearances Tuesday and Wednesday in Hastings and Kearney.