LINCOLN — The Nebraska Cattlemen are the latest group to add to the list of endorsements for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen.
The nonprofit’s president, Brenda Masek, announced the endorsement at a press conference Thursday afternoon at its Lincoln headquarters. Though Pillen is a hog producer, she said, he understands the “grit and resilience” of Nebraska’s agricultural community and will fight to protect it.
“Jim has walked in our shoes,” Masek said. “He knows our struggles.”
Pillen, a University of Nebraska regent, piled up a series of notable endorsements during a contentious Republican primary race. Current Gov. Pete Ricketts, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection, has been among Pillen’s most prominent and vocal backers.
State Sen. Brett Lindstrom, who finished third in the Republican primary for governor, has since endorsed Pillen, but his other top primary opponent, Charles Herbster, has not endorsed him yet.
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Masek said she expects Pillen to continue Ricketts’ work to support Nebraska agriculture as the state’s “No. 1 industry.” In Nebraska’s agricultural sector, beef exports are at the top. Ricketts said Nebraska had over $1.8 billion in beef exports in 2021, beating the previous record set in 2018 by about 25%.
Pillen vowed that if elected, he would “defend” Nebraska agriculture by working to preserve water and fighting back against synthetic meat, or what Pillen called “petri-dish meat.”
Specifically, Pillen called out Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, for his support of lab-grown meat as a sustainable alternative to traditional meat production. Pillen is not the first politician to target Gates on the issue.
After Gates was quoted in a 2021 MIT Technology Review article as saying he thought “all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef” to help slow the effects of climate change, former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry wrote that “making supper in a lab” wasn’t a solution.
“His computer hasn’t been cyberattacked, his brain has,” Pillen said of Gates on Thursday.
Masek said the Nebraska Cattlemen group — which advocates for the financial interest of cattle producers in the state — supports Pillen’s goals to address the state’s tax code imbalance, support Nebraska’s rural areas, control government spending and reform state aid for education. She said Pillen’s potential administration would help Nebraska farmers prosper.
“When rural communities, and farmers and ranchers prosper, all of Nebraska prospers,” Masek said.
Photos: Nebraska primary day 2022
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