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NU regent Jim Pillen discusses running for governor

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University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, a 65-year-old agri-businessman and former Husker football player, has announced that he will be a Republican candidate for governor in the 2022 election.

On his website,, Pillen expressed strong support for gun rights, law enforcement, pro-life protections, and to demand “order on the southern border.”

“I will work to grow our economy and give every child the chance to pursue their dreams right here in Nebraska,” the statement said. “We have to fix our broken property tax system and cut taxes. We need to modernize our tax structure, expand broadband access, and improve infrastructure across our state.”

Pillen further discussed taxes in an interview with the Daily Sun, and said Nebraskans agree that they are all taxed too high, and that property tax is a significant problem. He said that it’s a complicated issue, which is creating competitive disadvantages between urban and rural areas, and suggested having an income-based assessment, but that it would ultimately take collaboration and sacrifice from governing bodies on both sides of the issue.

“We have to fix our broken property tax system,” his website states. “Governor Ricketts has made good on his promise to address property taxes every year he has been in office, putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund. And yet property taxes are still too high and remain a top concern for families and ag producers everywhere. We need to limit the growth in spending by local taxing entities and modernize our tax structure to address property taxes once and for all.”

To help keep graduates living and working in Nebraska, Pillen suggested a two-prong approach of having businesses compare what benefits they are offering, and providing opportunities to develop skillsets for people age roughly 18-35.

Pillen said businesses have to engage more with internships and scholarships, and suggested offering jobs to interns with a five-year commitment. He said he’s also an advocate for in-school mentoring and connecting with students that are not interested in receiving post-secondary education so they can also receive great jobs.

Pillen is also a founder and owner of Pillen Family Farms, Inc., a pork producer based out of Columbus.

Pillen said that the farm currently employs roughly 1,200 families in Nebraska and South Dakota, and that he’s proud of all the job creation and that the farm helps feed the world. He said that he wants to strengthen agriculture and have more competitive collaboration among farmers.

“The assault on modern agriculture has never been more evident than it is now,” his website states. “You can be sure I will fight against overreach by the federal government like Waters of the U.S., and I will stand up to radicals who want to use fake meat to put Nebraska agriculture out of business. In Nebraska, we feed the world, we don’t need government throwing up unnecessary regulation and red tape to stunt our innovation.”

Former governor Kay Orr and Husker football coach Tom Osbourne have both spoken in support of Pillen’s candidacy.

“Jim Pillen was a difference maker for me on the football field, and as governor, he’ll be a game changer for Nebraskans,” Osbourne said. “Jim is a man of character who knows how to get things done. He’s created jobs, served his community, and listens to conservative values. He’ll work hard to keep Nebraska great, and he has the intergrity to lead. He’d make a great governor.”

Pillen said the support “holds really, really close to the cornstalk”, and is very humbling.


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