Former state senator and recently elected Board of Regent member Lavon Heidemann of Elk Creek has been named Nebraska lieutenant governor.
Gov. Dave Heineman said Heidemann is a person who is "well respected and recognizes what an honor it is to serve." He said he chose the "best Nebraskan to stand beside" him.
Heidemann expressed regret about having to leave the Board of Regents. The governor said someone would be appointed to fill his unexpired term.
The governor said he was looking for a partner and said he has had a good relationship with Heidemann, who chaired the appropriations committee while serving the Unicameral.
Heidemann said that he and the governor may not have always agreed on all issues, but they have the same goal and travel the same road to benefit the state.
The governor said, "I know Lavon Heidemann cares about the state of Nebraska.... I knew I could count on him to give me his best advice." He cited his confidence in Heidemann's opinions, especially on the budget.
Heidemann said he will not be running for governor, "because that would take away from what I would do."
Heidemann said he was "very honored" that the governor would ask him to serve at lieutenant governor. He said he was not expecting the offer but had to seriously consider it.
The governor said that the lieutenant governor must be able to step in and serve, is head of homeland security and plays a key role, and he knew Heidemann was a good choice to fulfill those duties.
He said Heidemann is well known "in this building" and soon will be across the state.
"Together we'll be able to make a good team," said the governor.
"This is an unusal set of circumstances," said the governor. He said the primary will be competitive and "I did not want to take a side." If he chose someone who was running for the governor’s seat, the selection would have been "seen through that prism," said the governor.
Heidemann has turned in his letter of resignation to the Board of Regents, which was accepted about 15 minutes prior to the 3:30 p.m. press conference Feb. 13.
Secretary of State John Gale swore in Heidemann at the press conference.