Hastings Residents React to Sheehy Scandal
Former colleagues say they've watched him climb the political ladder for more than a decade, and Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy's decision to resign caught them by surprise.
In a letter to Gov. Dave Heineman, Sheehy writes, "I hereby resign the Office of Lieutenant Governor of the State of Nebraska effective immediately. It has been a privilege to serve you and the great people of our state as Lieutenant Governor."
The governor accepted that letter of resignation Saturday morning.
"I think we had a good working relationship," Hastings Council member Phil Odom said, "very professional. We were interested in seeing what we can do to help Hastings grow…I'm just like everybody else -- possibly a little bit shocked and probably taken back a little bit."
Odom said being in the public eye is a reality for politicians. "I think you're always campaigning if you're in federal or state office," he said. "Everything you do is seen by someone, its just one of those things you have to realize and be respectful of."
Odom was the mayor of Hastings when Sheehy started his political career on the Hastings City Council.
Micki Buscher, a long-time Hastings resident who was close with the Sheehy family said, "I was excited for Rick to see his political career take off."
Like Odom, she and others in the community say they were watching Sheehy succeed, and many in the community say he was respected in Hastings -- the city where his political foundation was set.
The general feeling for many around town was a feeling of sorrow and disbelief. "I think there is a general feeling of sadness," Buscher said.
"He is entitled to a private life and I think he should've kept that as private -- not blurred the lines," she said. "I think the problem is the abuse of state issued property."
From 1994-2000, Sheehy served on the Hastings City Council, moving from council member to council president, and in 2000 he was elected mayor.
In 2005, he was sworn into office as Nebraska's lieutenant governor.
By 2011, Sheehy filed paperwork to run for the 2014 gubernatorial race -- something Gov. Heineman said he would no longer endorse during his Saturday morning press conference.
Gov. Heineman will begin his search for the next lieutenant governor immediately.