Gubernatorial Candidates Debate at the State Fair


Democrat gubernatorial candidate Chuck Hassebrook and Republican candidate Pete Ricketts held a debate on the final night of the Nebraska State Fair. The two covered everything from education, to prison overcrowding and health care.

One topic Hassebrook is always first to bring up is early childhood education. He says he wants to improve education at the preschool and kindergarten level and expand programs for kids who are not ready for the next step.

“Every dollar we spend today on preparing kids to start kindergarten, prepare to succeed, we will save us ten dollars down the road in prison costs, public assistance costs and foster care costs,” said Hassebrook.

On the topic of education, Ricketts says he wants to improve reading at a young age and improve the trade schools in Nebraska.

“If you look at some of the programs like Head Start, a lot of the benefit of that has worn off by third grade; clearly more work will need to be done,” said Ricketts.

Both gave their opinions on how they would fix the state's overcrowded prisons.

“If we would use more probation for nonviolent offenders we could actually relieve some of the overpopulation going in our prisons system today. That's the kind of ideas we want to look at,” said Ricketts.

“We need to do background checks and for those offenders who clearly just have a problem with drug abuse because they are addicted, or a problem with mental health, we put them in adversity programs,” said Hassebrook.

Both would be in favor of the death penalty in the state.

A third candidate, Libertarian Mark Elworth Junior wasn't part of the debate.

Stay tuned for more from this debate later this week.