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Newcomers vying in Nebraska Legislature’s District 10 focus on taxes and school funding

August 5, 2018

Property taxes and funding for education are the most pressing concerns for two political newcomers vying to represent Nebraska’s Legislative District 10.

Matt Deaver, 43, of Bennington, and Wendy DeBoer, 44, of Omaha, are campaigning for the seat that will be vacated by incumbent Sen. Bob Krist, who is term-limited and running as the Democratic candidate for governor.

The district encompasses parts of Douglas County, including Bennington and part of northwest Omaha.

The two candidates grew up in Bennington together, attending the same schools one year apart through high school. From there, their paths diverged.

Deaver graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a finance degree and worked as a page in the Nebraska Legislature before he earned a law degree and Master of Business Administration at Creighton University.

He has worked as an estate and business planning attorney for the estate-planning law firm of Legacy Design Strategies in Omaha, where he said he works primarily with farmers and ranchers across Nebraska and Iowa.

DeBoer attended Hastings College, where she studied economics and English. She earned a law degree from UNL, a master’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a master’s in Christian theology from Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in religion and philosophy.

Both say they have a vested interest in promoting high-quality education across the state.

Deaver, who has three children with his wife of 12 years, said education should be the top priority in the state’s budget.

“Having three young kids in the Bennington Public Schools, education certainly is something important to my wife and I,” Deaver said. “For our kids and therefore the kids in the district and the state.”

DeBoer, who has taught at the college level for nearly two decades, said education is her No. 1 priority. Through her work in the classroom, she has seen how students struggle in college when they are under-prepared by K-12 schools.

“Having educators in the Legislature I think is very important because education is such an important part of our state economy, our state community, all of those things,” DeBoer said. “Having somebody who knows what it’s like to teach I think is important.”

DeBoer said a larger portion of the state’s budget should go toward education in order to allow municipalities to lower property taxes.

“We need to get property taxes down, and the only way we’re going to do that is by materially changing how we fund education in Nebraska,” DeBoer said.

DeBoer also wants to bring high-paying jobs to Nebraska, collect an Internet sales tax and improve trade school options.

Deaver also said that if elected, he will lower property taxes, which remain at the forefront of the minds of people he encounters in both urban and rural areas.

“One thing we’re going to have to do is deal with that property tax issue and along with that, education funding,” Deaver said. “How the state potentially can help out in those school districts across the state and here in the Omaha area ... and at the same time continue to provide the same education.”

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