One item popped off the page when Gov.-elect Pete Ricketts was looking at David Schnoor’s resume.
“Having a Bronze Star is certainly something that sets him apart from most candidates that crossed my desk or have every crossed my desk,” Ricketts said Friday afternoon, shortly after Schnoor was sworn in to replace Charlie Janssen as the District 15 state senator.
“I do think that that military background, that commitment to our country and public service is one of the key things that I look for somebody to help us to put together the plans for growing the state,” Ricketts added.
Schnoor of Scribner takes over for Janssen, who will become the next state auditor on Jan. 8. Schnoor will serve the remaining two years of Janssen’s term and then be eligible to run for just one additional term. District 15 covers all of Dodge County.
“It was a difficult decision,” Ricketts said. “We had a lot of great candidates that applied. We had great candidates that I talked to. If you look at Dave’s background, it really is a great fit. The dedication to public service with his 20 years in the Air Force, his serving as the president of the Scribner-Snyder school board, his volunteering with different veterans groups – he’s really involved in the community.
“He’s committed to property tax reform,” he added. “Having been an ag producer himself with his own family farm and feedyard, he’s got a unique prospective on property tax reform.”
The 52-year-old Schnoor owns and operates Schnoor Feedyard and operates a farm near Scribner with his family. A 20-year veteran of the Air Force, he retired with the rank of master sergeant. He was awarded a Bronze Star with a “V” device for valor during the rescue of a downed helicopter that had sensitive cargo in Panama.
He is a graduate of Scribner High School and holds two associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina.
He currently serves as president of the Scribner-Snyder school board, as sergeant at arms for American Legion Scribner Post 121 and as a director of the Dodge County Cattlemen. He also is involved in several veteran organizations and is a member of Fremont Alliance Church and the Scribner Area Chamber.
Schnoor and his wife, Nickie, have been married 11 years and have six children.
“This is definitely an honor,” Schnoor said during his swearing in ceremony at the Capitol. “I never thought I’d be in politics like this. Somebody asked me five years ago if I wanted to be on the school board and I told them they were nuts. Why would I want to subject myself to that kind of punishment? I found out I really enjoy it. It’s my calling, I think.
“We’ve done great things in Scribner as a school board. We’ve changed a lot of things and made it better for our community,” he added.
One of the top priorities for both Ricketts and Schnoor is property tax reform.
“We’re going to work together to try to reduce property taxes, to be fiscally conservative and hold true the family values we all hold dear here in Nebraska,” Schnoor said. “I certainly look forward to working with everybody and Gov.-elect Ricketts in looking at tax relief, strengthening our ag economy.”
“(Schnoor) represents a lot of things we need to do with regard to creating jobs in rural America,” Ricketts added. “… He’s committed to property tax relief – all the things that we need to do to grow this state.
“I’m looking forward to working with Dave in the Unicameral to bring about property tax relief for our hard working families here in Nebraska. Dave represents a fiscal conservative, which is a tradition in Northeastern Nebraska. He’s also somebody who will be able to work well with this fellow colleagues.”
Schnoor knows there is hard word ahead.
“I’ve got a lot to learn. The session gets under way next month,” he said. “All the other senators are here and I’m just walking in the door. I’ve good a long way to go and I really look forward to my time here in the Legislature.”
These next few weeks will allow Schnoor the opportunity to begin building relationships with those other senators, Ricketts said.
“He’s got a great class to work with,” he said. “The sooner he can get in there and start developing relationships with his colleagues is great. All these things work on a relationship and the sooner he can start developing those relationships, the better. That’s what I’ve been doing as well.”
While Ricketts reviewed all of the candidates and made the selection, Gov. Dave Heineman had to fill out the paperwork.
“This election created a unique set of circumstances where Sen. Janssen was elected state auditor, creating a vacancy that needed to be filled,” Heineman said. “I told the governor-elect and all Nebraskans that we would work together on this process, that he would make the selection and I would do all the official paperwork.”