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Old West alive, well in Nebraska campaign

Old West alive, well in Nebraska campaign

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State Sen. Tom Brewer is bucking the trend of conventional politics and bringing back old-fashioned campaigning. Rather than sending impersonal attack mailers to constituents in the sprawling 43rd Legislative District, Brewer is pitching his bid on horseback - mule - for another four years representing Sandhills residents in the Nebraska Legislature. Brewer is taking a 14-day ride from Ainsworth to Alliance, two of the population centers in his district, which spans most of northwest and north-central Nebraska.

A group of military veterans is accompanying Brewer, who is recognized across Nebraska as a decorated war hero.

We appreciate his creative campaign strategy. Nebraskans love horses and admire someone like Brewer who is willing to risk a backside of saddle sores to drum up interest in his candidacy. Brewer’s choice of campaign transportation is timely. Recently 125 bison escaped briefly from their pens near Overton. A few of the skittish creatures evaded capture because they are so large and powerful. This week, a horse wandering in downtown Holdrege spotted its reflection in the window of a bar. Someone snapped a photo of the horse with a bowed neck right before it kicked out the glass.

Bison roaming, horses rampaging and politicians on horseback — they’re returning to the Nebraska landscape. No, this isn’t Marlboro Country, it’s just the Good Life.

Confusing court ruling

Nebraska’s restrictive rules about petitioning issues onto the ballot have spoiled the efforts of hundreds of well-meaning petition circulators and the 182,000 Nebraskans who signed the measure to legalize medical marijuana.

Under Nebraska statute, citizen referendums must be confined to a single issue, but that restriction tripped up the marijuana measure because the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled the ballot question addressed multiple issues involved with legalization.

Secretary of State Bob Evnen, an attorney by trade, declared it was good enough to be on the ballot, but in a split 5-2 ruling, the court disagreed.

Oddly enough, the court gave its blessing to a referendum to place casino gambling on the ballot. In that 4-3 decision, the court determined that casino backers correctly constructed their proposal and honored the single issue requirement. They did it by breaking their proposal into three separate ballot questions. As a result, on Nov. 3, voters should be prepared to decide three proposed amendments. One would legalize casino gambling at horse tracks, another would regulate and tax the industry and the third would steer casino revenues toward offsetting property taxes.

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