Lynne Walz claimed the 15th District seat for the Legislature in a close race on Tuesday night.
In final unofficial results, Walz, the challenger, garnered 7,467 votes (51.37 percent), while incumbent Sen. David Schnoor received 7,037 votes (48.41 percent).
Neither candidate was able to be reached for comment late Tuesday night after results were made available.
Earlier in the day, however, voters shared a few thoughts about the candidates.
Colette Garton of Fremont voted for Walz.
“I think that Lynne has some great ideas,” Garton said. “She is big into education and, you know, I think that kids’ education is very important here in our local area.”
Fremonter Kimberly Scheer also cast her vote for Walz.
“I know her just from her being a teacher and stuff like that,” Scheer said. “I admire it when people change their careers and try to pursue something different. It brings something different to the table which I think is important.”
Walz has said that one of her priorities is education, noting that Nebraska is 49th in the country in state funding for its schools.
“We need to make our children our No. 1 priority,” Walz said. “We need to spend money on our children now so we’re not spending money on them as adults and we need to make sure we’re putting programs into place that are individualized to meet students’ unique needs.”
Walz said her first priority is to get people back to work. She believes there’s a misperception that many people just want a handout – something she’s not finding.
“I think one of the things we need to do is change our government assistance programs,” Walz continued. “Currently, it’s an all-or-nothing system, where people who receive assistance can only make so much money a month before their assistance is totally taken away.”
Walz said she’d like to see a system in place where as people make more money, their assistance is adjusted so they’re not put into crisis situations.
“That’s going to encourage people to go to work without being threatened,” she said.
Other area residents, like the Rev. Earl Underwood of Fremont, voted Schnoor.
“I know him,” Underwood said. “I don’t know the other candidate.”
During the campaign, Schnoor said his priorities include personal property taxes, prescriptions and the Castle Doctrine.
Schnoor said he wants to eliminate personal property tax to help the state grow.
“If businesses don’t have to pay personal property tax, they have more money to invest in their business and, hopefully, grow their business,” Schnoor said.
He’ll also investigate what he’s been told about pharmacists not being able to tell whether a less costly generic version of a drug is available, over a name brand, unless they’re asked by the patient.
“I want to research that and find out what we can do about that,” he said.
The senator also said he’d like to see legislation passed on what’s called the Castle Doctrine, something this state doesn’t have.
“If an intruder comes into your house, your first obligation by law in Nebraska is to flee,” Schnoor said. “With the Castle Doctrine, you would have the right to defend your family and your property.”