Colleagues Call Janssen A Proven Leader


Colleagues Call Janssen A Proven Leader

February 19, 2013 9:00 am  •  By Chris Zavadil/Fremont Tribune

Colleagues spoke Monday of Sen. Charlie Janssen as a straight-forward, small-town conservative who won’t back away from tough issues.

Janssen, in front of media members and sign-waving supporters, was flanked by his wife, Ellen, and the American Legion and VFW honor guard as he launched his gubernatorial campaign from the Midland University Event Center on President’s Day.

The Republican from Fremont acknowledged the principles he learned from his family while growing up in Nickerson, during two years in the Persian Gulf War as a rescue swimmer in the U.S. Navy, as he worked his way through Wayne State College, and then in building RTG Medical into one of the fastest growing companies in America.

“I’ve been with Charlie for many years,” Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman said prior to offering a prayer to start the press conference.

Getzschman talked about waiting with Janssen to hear the election returns when Janssen ran for Fremont City Council, and again when Janssen ran for senator.

“I’m extremely proud, number one, to say that he’s a part of Fremont, part of this great community, and I look forward to his election to governor of the great state of Nebraska,” Getzschman said.

Getzschman later told the Tribune that Janssen has “proven that he can take any task and make it happen, and I’m extremely proud of what he’s done with his business, RTG Medical, extremely proud of what he did as a councilman in Fremont, and what he’s done as a state legislator. I’m excited and I think that Charlie can make it to that next level, and he’d be an excellent governor of the state of Nebraska.”

Sen. Scott Price of Bellevue, a retired U.S. Air Force office who led the Pledge of Allegiance Monday, said he and Janssen “relate pretty quickly” when it comes to making government “smaller and less a burden.”

“He’s a straightforward guy. … He has a keen sense of understanding business,” Price said.

Omaha Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh, who introduced Janssen, talked about Janssen’s courage.

“I never served in our military, and I always have to wonder if I would have the courage to do what it takes in combat. I don’t think you really know for sure until you face that,” Lautenbaugh said. “Charlie Janssen knows the answer to that question. Charlie served in combat and he didn’t flinch. He had the courage to do his duty and we’re safer for it.

“We see that courage on display in Charlie’s service to our state,” Lautenbaugh continued. “Charlie’s been a solid conservative leader in the Nebraska Legislature, advancing legislation that reflects the conservative values of everyday Nebraskans. And on some of the toughest issues, sometimes against the harshest criticism, Charlie’s never backed away from a fight and he’s never compromised his principles.

“He’s getting in the ring, and he won’t shrink from any issue, and he won’t shrink from any challenger, showing the same courage he demonstrated at a time of war, and the same determination he demonstrated in building a business from the ground up. He has a plan for our state and I know he’s willing to lead,” Lautenbaugh said.

Sen. Tyson Larson of O’Neill, after the press conference, said Janssen “will make a great gubernatorial candidate and a great governor,” and said he and Janssen face some of the same challenges in representing rural areas of the state in the Legislature.

“I think Charlie understands those challenges, and when he comes out there and gets his message out to those people, I think he’ll do really well,” Larson said.

Area Sens. Jerry Johnson of Wahoo and Lydia Brasch of Bancroft wished Janssen well, but said it was too early for them to endorse a candidate for the 2014 race.

“I know the race is wide open, so him coming out early probably gives him a chance to test the water early. ... I applaud him for getting in the race,” Johnson said.

“He’s a great colleague, a good neighbor, not only county-to-county, but we park next to each other in the parking lot,” Brasch said.

“On the floor we are very like-minded as well,” she said. “I did call him and wish him well today, but it is very early. ... I think Senator Janssen’s a good senator, I really do, and I think over the next two years – this is starting my third year with him – I will be able to see even more his leadership abilities moving forward. But it’s so early, I would rather wait another year before I start putting campaign stickers on anyone.”