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The Legislature convened Wednesday, January 6 at 10:00 a.m, kicking off a short 60-day session. The session began with official business, including the election of a new chairperson of the Retirement Committee, of which I have been serving as a member. I announced my intention to seek this seat after Senator Jeremy Nordquist resigned at the end of the previous session and was elected by the members of the Legislature to serve as chairperson.
I felt I was uniquely qualified for this position, having worked in the financial services industry as an insurance agent the past 40 years and having specialized in employee benefits and retirement plans for 31 of those years. I take great pride in the fact that I have helped my clients, many who are friends and neighbors, plan for their future, and I wanted to use my expertise to help lead the committee that oversees this important area of state government.
As background, there are 121,920 participants in the state retirement system. Additionally, the total assets of all the retirement plans managed by the Nebraska Employment Retirement Systems amount to $12.6 billion dollars. These plans are utilized by retired employees from the schools, the state patrol, judges, state and county levels. This information is documented in the 2014 Annual Report of NPERS.
As State Senators, we have an obligation to the taxpayers of this state as well as the employees covered under these plans to ensure that they are kept up to date and managed properly. As chairman, I will do my best to work with my colleagues and the Nebraska Employment Retirement System to make sure these retirement funds are managed in the best way possible.
Along with becoming a chairman, there are additional changes in my office. Kenny Zoeller, who served as my Legislative Aide during my first year as a State Senator, has moved to work with Governor Ricketts in the Governor’s Policy Research Office. Kenny has been a good friend and trusted adviser since I started my campaign in 2013, and I appreciate the service he has
provided me and the constituents of District #24. I look forward to working with him in his new role, and I wish him the best.
Replacing Kenny is Joe Neuhaus. Joe is an attorney who received his law degree from the University of Nebraska. He has previously served as Legislative Aide to State Senator Lydia Brasch and was the Policy Director at Nebraska Family Alliance.
Additionally, Kate Allen is joining my staff as the Legal Counsel for the Retirement Committee. Kate has many years of service with the state, serving in the legislature for 28 years. For two of those years, Kate worked in the Policy Research Office during Ben Nelson’s tenure, and she has been Retirement Committee Legal Counsel since 2009.
Katie Quintero will continue to serve as my Administrative Assistant and will take on additional duties as the Clerk of the Retirement Committee. Katie worked as Senator Colby Coash’s Administrative Aide for six years and before that briefly served as Senator Tony Fulton’s Aide.
As always, if we can be of assistance to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. With the Retirement Chairmanship election, we have moved offices and are now in Room 2004B. Stop by any time. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the office phone number, which has stayed the same, is 402-471-2756. Joe and Katie are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address your concerns, thoughts, and needs. Please continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman For Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature.