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John S. McCollister

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John McCollister
Member of the Nebraska Legislature
from the 20th district
Assumed office
January 16, 2015 (2015-Jan-16)
Preceded byBrad Ashford
Personal details
Born (1947-04-29) April 29, 1947 (age 73)
Moline, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceOmaha, Nebraska, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Nebraska (B.S.)
ProfessionNonprofit organization manager

John S. McCollister (born April 29, 1947) is a politician from the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. In 2014, he was elected to the Nebraska Legislature, representing an Omaha district. McCollister is a moderate member of the Republican Party.

Personal life and professional career

McCollister was born April 29, 1947, in Moline, Illinois.[1] His paternal grandfather, John M. McCollister, had founded McCollister & Co., an industrial-lubricants business, in 1931. At the time of McCollister's birth, his father, John Y. McCollister, worked in sales for IBM in Illinois and in Iowa. In 1953, John Y. moved to Omaha to join his father at McCollister & Co.

In 1966, McCollister graduated from Westside High School in Omaha. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, receiving a B.S. in business administration in 1971, and went to work at McCollister & Co. He remained with the company until 2006, when it was sold to farm cooperative Growmark.[1][2][3][4][5]

McCollister married Deborah Way in 1971; the couple raised three children.[1]

McCollister embarked upon a political career in 1965, when he began serving on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. In 1970, he defeated seven-term incumbent Glenn Cunningham in the Republican primary for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, then won the general election; he remained in the House until 1977. In 1976, he ran for the U.S. Senate, but lost in the general election to Omaha Mayor Ed Zorinsky by a 53% to 47% margin.[3]

Political career

Local policy

From 1979 to 2008, McCollister served five terms on the board of the Metropolitan Utilities District, a public utility that provides gas and water to the Omaha area.[1][6]

In 2008, McCollister ran as the Republican candidate for a seat on the Nebraska Public Service Commission, which regulates, inter alia, railroads, major utility lines, and passenger carriers in the state; he sought to unseat the incumbent, Democrat Anne Boyle. McCollister stated that cell-phone bills in Nebraska were too high, and called for reductions in state taxes on telephone service; Boyle maintained that the existing taxes were necessary to provide affordable service to rural areas, and to make it possible to establish the geographic origins of cell-phone calls to emergency number 911. The two candidates together spent over $120,000 for their campaigns, setting a record for spending in a Public Service Commission race. In the general election, Boyle won with 61.8% of the vote to McCollister's 33.4% and Green Party candidate Doug Paterson's 4.9%.[4][7][8][9][10]

In early 2009, McCollister was named executive director of the Platte Institute for Economic Research,[4] a nonprofit organization often described as "conservative",[11] and self-described as "Nebraska's first Free Market think tank".[12] He held that position for nearly four years.[13]

Nebraska legislature

2014 election

In late 2013, McCollister announced that he would run for the Nebraska Legislature from south central Omaha's 20th District. The incumbent, Brad Ashford, was precluded by Nebraska's term-limits law from running for a third consecutive term; he subsequently announced that he would run as a Democrat for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.[14][15][16]

In the nonpartisan primary, McCollister faced two registered Democrats: Matt Lathrop, an Omaha trial lawyer, whose brother, Steve Lathrop, then represented another Omaha district in the state legislature; and Laura Baumgartner, a 25-year-old project manager for an Omaha advertising agency.[17][18] When the primary election was held, McCollister received 3389 votes, or 49.5% of the total; Lathrop, 2227 votes, or 32.5%; and Baumgartner, 1232 votes, or 18.0%.[19]

As the top two vote-getters, McCollister and Lathrop moved on to the general election. Both candidates expressed concern about the growth of partisanship in the officially nonpartisan legislature; both stated that high taxes were a concern; both asserted that it was necessary to adequately fund education; and both favored prison- and sentencing reform. McCollister declared that the legislature needed more businessmen and fewer lawyers; Lathrop maintained that his training in mediation would help him to find satisfactory compromises between conflicting interests.[20][21]

Both campaigns spent in excess of $100,000. McCollister's organization raised about $150,000 and spent about $185,000; major contributors included the Nebraska Bankers, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry.[21][22] The Lathrop campaign raised about $154,000, and spent about $146,000; his principal contributor was the Nebraska State Education Association, which yielded over $25,000 in cash and in-kind contributions; other significant contributors included the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Nebraska Association of Trial Lawyers, the United Transportation Union, and Firefighters for Better Government.[21][23] The Nebraska Realtors PAC contributed to both candidates: $4000 to McCollister and $2000 to Lathrop.[22][23]

Turnout for the general election was about twice that of the primary. McCollister won, with 6409 votes, or 52.1% of the total; Lathrop obtained 5898 votes, or 47.9%.[24]

Legislative tenure

2015 session

In the 2015 session of the legislature, McCollister was named vice chair of the Urban Affairs Committee; he was also seated on the Business and Labor Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.[25]

Among the "most significant"[26] actions taken by the Legislature in its 2015 session were three bills that passed over vetoes by governor Pete Ricketts. LB268 repealed the state's death penalty; LB623 reversed the state's previous policy of denying driver's licenses to people who were living illegally in the United States after being brought to the country as children, and who had been granted exemption from deportation under the Barack Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; and LB610 increased the tax on gasoline to pay for repairs to roads and bridges.[26][27][28] McCollister voted in favor of the death-penalty repeal, and to override Ricketts's veto of the measure;[29] he voted to pass LB623, and then to override the gubernatorial veto;[30] and he voted for the gas-tax increase, then to override that veto.[31]

2016 session

In its 2016 session, the Nebraska legislature passed three bills that Ricketts then vetoed. LB580 would have created an independent commission of citizens to draw new district maps following censuses; supporters described it as an attempt to de-politicize the redistricting process, while Ricketts maintained that the bill delegated the legislature's constitutional duty of redistricting to "an unelected and unaccountable board".[32][33] McCollister voted for the bill in its 29–15–5 passage.[34] Sponsor John Murante opted not to seek an override of the governor's veto.[35]

A second vetoed bill, LB935, would have changed state audit procedures. The bill passed by a margin of 37–8–4; McCollister was listed as "present and not voting". The bill was withdrawn without an attempt to override the veto; the state auditor agreed to work with the governor on a new version for the next year's session.[32][36]

A third bill passed over Ricketts's veto. LB947 made DACA beneficiaries eligible for commercial and professional licenses in Nebraska. The bill passed the Legislature on a vote of 33–11–5; the veto override passed 31–13–5. McCollister voted for the bill at its passage, and for the override of Ricketts's veto.[37][38]

The legislature failed to pass LB10, greatly desired by the Republican Party, which would have restored Nebraska to a winner-take-all scheme of allocating its electoral votes in U.S. presidential elections, rather than continuing its practice of awarding the electoral vote for each congressional district to the candidate who received the most votes in that district. Supporters were unable to break a filibuster; in the 32–17 cloture motion, McCollister was among those who voted in favor of the bill.[39][40]

National policy

In August 2019, McCollister was widely quoted in the national press for having stated that "The Republican Party is enabling white supremacy in our country", after the 2019 El Paso shooting. The Nebraska Republican Party rejected him.[41]

A column written in December 2019, after the Midwestern U.S. floods, emphasized the importance of renewable energy for Nebraska in the face of climate change. McCollister praised the Omaha Public Power District for committing to becoming 100% carbon free. In addition to solar, he stated that "Nebraska has the third best wind energy generating potential of any state," and emphasized the employment impact of wind energy projects.[42]

During the 2020 presidential election, McCollister endorsed the Democratic Party nominee, Joe Biden, and encouraged other Republicans to "get on the right side of history".[43] On October 9, 2020, he endorsed Kara Eastman, the progressive Democrat running against Republican Congressman Don Bacon.[44]


  1. ^ a b c d "Sen. John McCollister—Biography". Archived March 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Nebraska Legislature. Retrieved March 5, 2015. Archived March 8, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "Briefs: McCollisters sell lubricants business". Lincoln Journal Star. July 31, 2006. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Kelly, Michael. "Hagel praises ex-Rep. John Y. McCollister, dead at 92, as 'wise, balanced, complete leader'". Omaha World-Herald. November 1, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "John S. McCollister". Archived May 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Platte Institute for Economic Research. Retrieved May 18, 2015. Archived May 18, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Alumni in the News: Warriors Win Fall Elections". Archived March 20, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Westside Alumni Association. November 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2015. Archived March 20, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "About Us". Metropolitan Utilities District. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  7. ^ "Brief History of the Commission". Nebraska Public Service Commission. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  8. ^ Hammel, Paul. "Republican ad prompts protest from Boyle". Scottsbluff Star-Herald. October 31, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  9. ^ Tysver, Robynn. "Phone bill fees issue in campaign". Kearney Hub. July 22, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  10. ^ "Official Results of Nebraska General Election—November 4, 2008", p. 18. Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  11. ^ O'Hanlon, Kevin, "Report criticizes conservative Nebraska think tank", Lincoln Journal Star, January 1, 2014, retrieved May 17, 2015; and Hammel, Paul, "Property taxes paid by Nebraska farmers, ranchers are 2-3 times higher than those in nearby states, lawmakers told", Omaha World-Herald, December 10, 2014, retrieved May 18, 2015.
  12. ^ "Platte Institute unveiled". Archived April 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine Platte Institute for Economic Research. February 3, 2008. Retrieved May 18, 2015. Archived April 18, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ McCollister, John. "The Power of a Good Idea". Platte Institute Quarterly. Winter 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  14. ^ "McCollister announces run for Legislature". Lincoln Journal Star. November 18, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2015
  15. ^ "State Sen. Brad Ashford announces run for Congress". KETV. February 13, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  16. ^ "Legislative District 20 - LB703 (2011)". Nebraska Legislature. Retrieved March 8, 2015. Archived February 5, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "2014 Candidate Guidebook", p. 13. Nebraska Rural Electric Association. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  18. ^ Nitcher, Emily. "Attorney Matt Lathrop, brother of Omaha state senator, is running for Legislature". Omaha World-Herald. March 10, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  19. ^ "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: Primary Election, May 13, 2014", p. 35. Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  20. ^ Oakey, John. "District 20 candidates square off". KETV. October 14, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2015.
  21. ^ a b c Hendee, David. "Seeking solutions on taxes, prisons in Nebraska Legislative District 20 race". Omaha World-Herald. October 19, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Financial summary: McCollister for Legislature". Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Retrieved May 18, 2015. See "Financial summary" for overall receipts and expenditures; "Schedule B" for contributions from organizations.
  23. ^ a b "Financial summary: Lathrop for Legislature (Matt)". Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Retrieved May 18, 2015. See "Financial summary" for overall receipts and expenditures; "Schedule B" for contributions from organizations.
  24. ^ "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: General Election, November 4, 2014" Archived January 8, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, p. 20. Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  25. ^ "2015 Legislative Committees". Nebraska Legislature. Retrieved February 22, 2015. Archived February 22, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ a b Knapp, Fred. "2015 Legislature Leaves Its Mark On Nebraska". NET (Nebraska public radio and television). June 3, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  27. ^ Walton, Don. "Senators override Ricketts' veto of Dreamers licenses". Lincoln Journal Star. May 28, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  28. ^ Pluhacek, Zach. "Gas tax hike gets Nebraska lawmakers' OK, governor's veto". Lincoln Journal Star. May 7, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  29. ^ "Legislative Journal, One Hundred Fourth Legislature, First Session". Nebraska Legislature. Vote on final reading of LB268 is at pp. 1738–39; override of veto is at pp. 1896–98.
  30. ^ "Legislative Journal, One Hundred Fourth Legislature, First Session". Nebraska Legislature. Vote on final reading of LB623 is at pp. 1791–92; override of veto is at pp. 1930–32.
  31. ^ "Legislative Journal, One Hundred Fourth Legislature, First Session". Nebraska Legislature. Vote on final reading of LB610 is at p. 1500; override of veto is at p. 1623.
  32. ^ a b Matheny, Ryan. "Nebraska legislators wrap up 2016 session". KMA. April 25, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  33. ^ Nohr, Emily. "'Unconstitutional, unelected and unaccountable': Ricketts vetoes bill to revamp how political maps are drawn". Omaha World-Herald. April 18, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  34. ^ "Legislative Journal: Carryover Legislation". Archived April 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine p. 1622. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  35. ^ "Independent redistricting commission vetoed, no override attempt offered". Unicameral Update. April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  36. ^ "Legislative Journal: Carryover Legislation". Archived April 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine pp. 1579–80. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  37. ^ Duggan, Joe. "Legislature to vote on overriding veto on bill that would allow work licenses for those brought to U.S. illegally as kids". Omaha World-Herald. April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  38. ^ "Legislative Journal: Carryover Legislation". Archived April 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Passage of LB947 is on p. 1614; the veto override is on pp. 1637–38. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  39. ^ Stoddard, Martha. "Bill to return Nebraska to winner-take-all Electoral College method comes up short". Omaha World-Herald. April 13, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  40. ^ "Legislative Journal: Carryover Legislation". Archived April 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine p. 1591. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  41. ^ CNN, Leah Asmelash and Brian Ries. "Republican state lawmaker criticizes his party for 'enabling white supremacy'". CNN. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  42. ^ McCollister, John (December 10, 2019). "TUESDAY TOPIC: Let's get serious about being green". Sioux City Journal. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  43. ^ Walton, Don. "McCollister endorses Biden, invites other Nebraska Republicans to join". Lincoln Journal Star. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  44. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 25 February 2021, at 19:16
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