Incumbent State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist faces two challengers in the race to represent District 7, downtown and parts of South Omaha, in the Nebraska Legislature.
But neither Adrian Petrescu nor Christopher Geary has raised enough money, $5,000, to file a campaign finance statement with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. And Geary has unsuccessfully run for three other offices since 2008.
Nordquist is a former legislative aide to former State Sen. John Synowiecki, a fellow Democrat. Nordquist had an active first term in the Legislature after being elected in 2008.
In the latest session, Nordquist sponsored a bill, Legislative Bill 882, that requires health insurance companies to cover oral chemotherapies “no less favorably” than chemo delivered intravenously. It passed 46-0.
The bill was meant to address a gap: Insurance plans, by and large, provided coverage for oral chemotherapy, but because it is considered a “prescription drug,” the cost to cancer patients is much higher than treatments by IV.
Nordquist also was one of the main negotiators with other legislators and Gov. Dave Heineman on a compromise package of tax cuts, which passed the Legislature this year. Nordquist said his focus was to provide “the big relief” to families who earn $40,000 to $60,000 a year.
At the dramatic end to this year's session, Nordquist voted with senators who overrode Heineman's vetoes on three controversial issues: restoring taxpayer-funded prenatal care for the unborn babies of illegal immigrants, allowing cities to raise sales taxes up to one-half cent with voter approval and paying $2.5 million in claims filed by child welfare providers left in the lurch when one of the state's private child welfare contractors lost its contract.
Nordquist said the sales tax proposal gives Omaha voters a potential way to help pay for expensive, federally mandated sewer repairs. That could help the city hold onto major employers by reducing the sewer fees needed for the repairs.
Nordquist also supported spending $50 million toward the creation of a $370 million cancer research center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and proposed stiffer anti-graffiti penalties that made it into a 2009 crime bill.
“I have some deeply held personal beliefs, but I'm pretty pragmatic when it comes to putting together packages of legislation,” Nordquist said.
Petrescu, an immigrant from Romania, directs the Master's in Public Administration program at Bellevue University. He called himself “a policy analyst by profession.” A Republican in the officially nonpartisan Legislature race, he said he favors limited government. He said cutting taxes would attract more businesses, but he said he had no specific tax- or spending-cut measures in mind.
Geary, a martial arts grand master and karate studio owner, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010. In 2008 he lost the primary race for the Legislature's District 3 seat and lost a bid for the Learning Community Council in November. He said he wants to eliminate wasteful spending.
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