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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Hassebrook campaigns for governor claiming economic opportunity from Missouri River to the Panhandle

  • Chuck Hassebrook brought his campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor to Nebraska City on Nov. 20.“I want to fight for average people and average Nebraskans,” he said.Hassebrook, director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Neb., served on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents fo...
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  • Chuck Hassebrook brought his campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor to Nebraska City on Nov. 20.
    "I want to fight for average people and average Nebraskans," he said.
    Hassebrook, director of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Neb., served on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents for 18 years.
    He said he decided to run for governor to fight for jobs and economic opportunity from the Missouri River to the Panhandle.
    "My life has been focused on creating rural opportunity. My task is making it work for ordinary Nebraskans," he said.
    He said Nebraska City is one of the state's great rural success stories, citing Arbor Day Farm, the MRB Lewis & Clark Center and the quality of life.
    "At the end of the day, the communities that will survive are those where people want to live," he said.
    Hassebrook, 58, commended Nebraska City's new pre-school at Northside Elementary.
    He said the first five years are critical for learning and said access to pre-school can give children a better chance to succeed in education.
    He said kindergarten teachers today see a wide gap between kids coming to school well prepared and those with no pre-school.
    "Everyone has a stake in fixing that," he said. "We would have a lot better outcome and a more cost-effective approach if we give every kid a chance," he said.
    At the Center for Rural Affairs, Hassebrook said, one of the greatest challenges is to demonstrate to people that they can have a bright future.
    "In small towns across America we have experienced population loss, so people think that will continue forever. It's not true. Nebraskans have an opportunity to flourish," he said.
    He said there are changes in rural America. "There won't be a farm at every corner and there are retail stores that have been replaced by big box stores, but we can still sell our products locally and world wide," he said.
    He called high-speed Internet essential and credited Nebraska City for steps to increase the Internet's business potential.
    He said the Internet means business can choose a community for its quality of life and still access the worldwide markets.
    "When I'm governor, small business will not be an after thought, but a priority," he said.
    He said "effective leadership" rather than political party matters in Nebraska.
    Under his guidance, the Center for Rural Affairs has helped 10,000 small businesses get started and led for changes in the state policy that would encourage small business development.

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