Whatever Happened to Senator Ray Aguilar

It's been almost three months since a tri-city senator left his seat on the
unicameral.

Ray Aguilar's service started when he lost his bid for Grand Island City Council. Around that time, he heard about an open senate seat for district 35 and interviewed for the job. He got it. In 1999, governor Mike Johanns appointed him for a one year stint. But, Aguilar went on to win two more terms for a grand total of nine years in the legislature. Terms limits forced him from the floor this past January.

From the legislative floor to cleaning up the floor of his patio, Ray Aguilar now has time to tackle that "honey do" list.

Ray Aguilar, a former state senator for district 35, said,"All this work I've neglected for the last nine or 10 years. She (my wife) keeps a running list I think. So, that keeps me going."

Aguilar remembers this day when he took the oath.

Aguilar said,"It was intimidating because you go into that situation and there's no such thing as
legislative 101. There's no way to prepare for it."

He caught on quickly. Today, he's most proud of starting up the central Nebraska drug court and the child advocacy center, which helps some of the smallest victims of abuse.

"They have a place where they can go and have a proper investigation and not be embarrassed
about it. It's a wonderful thing," added Aguilar.

There is not much time to reminisce. Aguilar sits on several boards and helps raise money for the state fair's move to Grand Island.

Aguilar has also owned a janitorial service for several years. As for a nine to five job, Aguilar said he is holding out for the right fit and has something in mind.

"I would love to be on Nebraska's parole board, if that opens up. It's an appointed position. So, I'll stay close to the governor and stay in good terms with him,"chuckled Aguilar.

Although his legislative days are over, Aguilar admitted he can't quite get enough.

"From time to time, I watch the legislature on the television station and you listen to the debate and you can't help but to be a part of that debate. I have something to add to that,"said Aguilar.

Now, 10 years after he was a nervous new senator, Aguilar takes pride in a job well done.

"I became what I consider an effective senator,"he said.

Reporter's Notes:

As for disappointments, Aguilar could only name the "Safe Haven" law. Aguilar said the legislature didn't foresee what would happen... dozens of kids from out of state abandoned at Nebraska hospitals.




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