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Robert Hilkemann

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Robert Hilkemann
Robert Hilkemann (43538416930).jpg
Nebraska State Sen. Robert Hilkemann (District 4) talks to constituents at the Garden Cafe in Omaha, Neb.
Member of the Nebraska Legislature
from the 4th district
Assumed office
January 7, 2015
Preceded byPete Pirsch
Personal details
Born (1947-11-23) November 23, 1947 (age 73)
Norfolk, Nebraska, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceOmaha, Nebraska, U.S.
EducationNebraska Wesleyan University (BS)
Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
OccupationRetired podiatrist

Robert "Bob" Hilkemann (born November 23, 1947) is a politician from the U.S. state of Nebraska. In 2014, he was elected to the Nebraska Legislature, representing an Omaha district.

Early life and professional career

Hilkemann was born in Norfolk, Nebraska. He grew up near Randolph, and graduated from Randolph Public High School in 1965. In 1969, he obtained a B.S. in biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University. From 1969 to 1972, he worked as a high-school science teacher and football coach in Table Rock. In 1970, he married Julie Beth Bryngelson; the couple eventually produced three children.[1][2][3]

Wishing to pursue a career in podiatry, Hilkemann attended the Illinois College of Podiatric Medicine, receiving his D.P.M. in 1976. He returned to Nebraska, where he began practice in Omaha in 1977. In 1984, he founded the Foot and Ankle Center of Nebraska. He retired from practice in 2013.[1][2][3][4]


Upon launching his practice in 1977, Hilkemann had found Nebraska's laws concerning medical practice "antiquated and overly restrictive".[5] He brought three initiatives to the Legislature, where he worked with state senators on changes in the laws. In the 1980s, he served on the Nebraska State Board of Health, including two years as chairman.[5][6]

2014 election

Upon his retirement from practice, Hilkemann decided to run for a seat in the Legislature in District 4, located in northwest Omaha.[2][5][7] Under Nebraska's term-limits law, incumbent Pete Pirsch, a Republican, was ineligible to run for re-election.[4] Five candidates sought to succeed him: Hilkemann, a Republican; Matt Butler, an Omaha entrepreneur and a Republican, who had unsuccessfully run for lieutenant governor in 1998; Stacy Ryan, a Republican described as a "judicial reform activist"; Steve Howard, an Omaha attorney and a Democrat; and Nicholas Pestello, a 23-year-old independent, whose principal issue was the decriminalization of marijuana.[5]

In the nonpartisan primary election, Hilkemann led, with 2357 of the 6133 votes cast, or 38.4% of the total. Ryan came in second, with 1513 votes, or 24.7%. Howard and Butler nearly tied for third, with 1070 and 1068 votes respectively (17.4%); and Pestello received 125 votes, or 2.0%.[8]

Both candidates' websites described them as "conservative".[9][10] Hilkemann described himself as "pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-marriage, pro-family, pro-business".[9] Ryan described herself as "pro-life, pro-family, pro-second amendment".[10] Both candidates opposed the proposed expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska under the provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.[9][10] The two differed on the question of capital punishment: Ryan stated, "I do not support the death penalty", while Hilkemann declared that it was "still necessary for the more heinous crimes".[11]

With little ideological difference between the two candidates, each maintained that their life experience would make them the better legislator. Hilkemann stated that his medical background would enable him to make informed decisions on health-care issues, and that his early history as a teacher would give him a stronger understanding of educational issues. Ryan stated that her legal training and research skills would make her the better choice, and that more female voices were needed in the Legislature.[12]

Over the course of the entire campaign, Hilkemann raised nearly $152,000 and spent nearly $124,000. Major contributions included $20,000 from the Nebraska Podiatric Medical Association, $8000 from the Nebraska Hospital Association PAC, $5100 from the Nebraska State Educational Association PAC, and $5000 from the Nebraska Realtors PAC.[13] Ryan raised over $106,000, and spent the same. Nearly $83,000 of this was her own money; the single non-individual contributor was Wayne L. Ryan, Trustee, who gave the campaign $10,000; the rest of the money came from individuals, several of whom shared her surname.[14]

Turnout in the general election was nearly twice as high as in the primary. Hilkemann won, with 6698 of the 11,681 votes cast, or 57.3% of the total. Ryan received 4983 votes, or 42.7%.[15]

Legislative tenure

2015 session

In the 2015 session of the Legislature, Hilkemann was appointed to the post of vice-chairman of the Appropriations Committee.[16]

Among the "most significant"[17] 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.[17][18][19] Hilkemann voted in favor of the death-penalty repeal, and to override Ricketts's veto of the measure;[20] he abstained in the vote to pass LB623, and voted to sustain the gubernatorial veto;[21] and he abstained in the vote on the gas-tax increase, then voted to sustain the veto.[22]

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".[23][24] Hilkeman voted against the bill in its 29–15 passage.[25] Sponsor John Murante opted not to seek an override of the governor's veto.[26]

A second vetoed bill, LB935, would have changed state audit procedures. The bill passed by a margin of 37–8, with 4 present and not voting; Hilkeman was among those voting in favor. 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.[23][27]

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. Hilkeman voted for the bill, and for the override of Ricketts's veto.[28][29]

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, Hilkeman was among those who voted in favor of the bill.[30][31]


  1. ^ a b "Biography: Sen. Robert Hilkemann". Nebraska Legislature. Retrieved March 2, 2015. Archived March 2, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c "Hilkemann puts his best foot forward". Unicameral Update. February 20, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015. Archived March 2, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b "Member of the Legislature— District 4". Voter Information Project. Retrieved March 2, 2015. Archived March 2, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Nitcher, Emily. "Retired Omaha podiatrist Bob Hilkemann will run for Legislature". Omaha World-Herald. March 25, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Burbach, Christopher. "No strangers to political process in Legislative District 4 race". Omaha World-Herald. June 11, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Sources differ on the dates of Hilkemann's tenure on the State Board of Health. His biography at the Nebraska Legislature website (archived March 2, 2015, at Wayback Machine) gives dates of 1984–1988. An Omaha World-Herald article, "Retired Omaha podiatrist Bob Hilkemann will run for Legislature", gives dates of 1983–1988.
  7. ^ "Legislative District 4 LB 703 – (2011)". Nebraska Legislature. Retrieved March 2, 2015. Archived February 5, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: Primary Election, May 13, 2014", p. 34. Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Issues Statements". Bob Hilkemann, Legislature, District 4. Retrieved June 4, 2015. Archived October 31, 2014, at Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ a b c "Issues". Stacy Ryan for Legislature. Website offline; archived November 1, 2014, at Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ Devera, Jobeth. "Commitment 2014: Neb. Legislature District 4". KETV. October 8, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Howard, Kate. "Life experiences separate candidates in Nebraska Legislature District 4 race". Omaha World-Herald. October 9, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "Hilkemann for Legislature", general statement 10/21/2014–12/31/2014. Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Retrieved June 4, 2015. See "Financial Summary" tab for overall numbers; "Schedule A" for contributions by individuals; "Schedule B" for contributions by businesses and organizations.
  14. ^ See campaign statements at "Stacy Ryan for Legislature", Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Retrieved June 4, 2015. See "Financial Summary" tab for overall numbers; "Schedule A" for contributions by individuals; "Schedule B" for contributions by businesses and organizations. "Other statement, 10/21/2014–01/13/2015", Financial Summary, summarizes all receipts and spending; Ryan's contributions to her own campaign are on "General statement, 10/01/2014–10/20/2014".
  15. ^ "Official Report of the Board of State Canvassers of the State of Nebraska: General Election, November 4, 2014", p. 19. Nebraska Secretary of State. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  16. ^ "2015 Legislative Committees". Nebraska Legislature. Retrieved March 2, 2015. Archived February 22, 2015, at Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ a b Knapp, Fred. "2015 Legislature Leaves Its Mark On Nebraska". NET (Nebraska public radio and television). June 3, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. ^ Walton, Don. "Senators override Ricketts' veto of Dreamers licenses". Lincoln Journal Star. May 28, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. ^ Pluhacek, Zach. "Gas tax hike gets Nebraska lawmakers' OK, governor's veto". Lincoln Journal Star. May 7, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ a b Matheny, Ryan. "Nebraska legislators wrap up 2016 session". KMA. April 25, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "Legislative Journal: Carryover Legislation". Archived April 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine p. 1622. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  26. ^ "Independent redistricting commission vetoed, no override attempt offered". Unicameral Update. April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  27. ^ "Legislative Journal: Carryover Legislation". Archived April 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine pp. 1579–80. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ "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.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ "Legislative Journal: Carryover Legislation". Archived April 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine p. 1591. Retrieved April 29, 2016.

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This page was last edited on 1 March 2021, at 21:55
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