Elmwood banker Rob Clements is the governor's pick to fill the southeast Nebraska legislative seat left open with the resignation of Bill Kintner of Papillion.

In choosing Clements, Gov. Pete Ricketts bypassed a list of 35 formal applicants in favor of a man he called the "right person" for the job.

Clements was sworn in by Nebraska Chief Justice Mike Heavican immediately after Ricketts announced his appointment during a Monday afternoon press conference at the Capitol.

"I am honored to have this opportunity to represent the people in my district," said Clements, 66, in brief remarks. “I know the state is facing difficult budget decisions, and I believe my background and experience will be of service during this process.”

He will represent Legislative District 2, which includes Cass County and portions of Sarpy and Otoe counties. 

Ricketts' appointment gives Clements a shot at significant time in office.

While the appointment itself lasts two years, Clements will then be eligible to run for two additional four-year terms, meaning he could be a senator through 2026.

Kintner announced his resignation Jan. 25 after sharing an offensive tweet that reignited calls for his removal from office. Talk of Kintner's expulsion from the Legislature first started when he acknowledged using his state-owned laptop to have cybersex with a woman he met online in 2015.

Ricketts said Clements' conservative principles, rural perspective and experience in finance "will reflect the values of the district."

His great-great grandfather homesteaded in the Elmwood area in 1868 and helped found the community in 1886. His family has owned Elmwood's American Exchange Bank for 79 years. The bank also has a branch in Eagle.

Clements met his wife of 44 years, Peggy, at Elmwood High School. They have five adult children and 10 grandchildren, with another on the way.

A former chairman of the Cass County Republican Party, Clements hasn't held elected office before.

Ricketts said he hadn't met Clements until he surfaced as a possible appointee last week.

In addition to the formal application process, Ricketts said his staff proactively sought more options in hopes of filling the seat quickly after Kintner resigned. 

"We broadened it out to make sure we would get the best opportunity to find the right person, and that's the way we found Sen. Clements," the governor said.

Ricketts said he didn't know why Clements did not apply through the formal process.

Lawmakers haven't yet decided which committees Clements will serve on.

Before he resigned, Kintner served as a member of the Legislature's powerful Appropriations Committee. His replacement on the committee hasn't been named. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7234 or zpluhacek@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @zachami.

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Assistant city editor

Zach Pluhacek is an assistant city editor.

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