A Seward man has jumped early into the 2014 race for Legislature in District 24, where Speaker Greg Adams of York holds the office.
Mark Kolterman, 62, said he has thought about the possibility of serving in the Legislature for several years, and because of term limits, the seat will be open.
"I think I'm at a time in my life where I'm capable and willing to do that," he said Monday after he formally announced his candidacy.
Kolterman has been in the insurance business for 33 years as founder and president of Kolterman Agency Inc. He has held leadership roles in both the Nebraska Association of Health Underwriters and the Nebraska Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. He also has a long history with civic organizations in business, economic development, education and health care.
"I bring a pretty diverse background as far as my economic development, agriculture, education," he said. "And I'm very committed to volunteer services."
One issue that got a lot of attention in the Legislature this session was Medicaid expansion, which did not come to a vote but will be studied over the interim. Kolterman said he was in favor of some sort of Medicaid expansion if it can be done in a cost-effective way. Arkansas is developing a private option plan for expanding health care coverage, and it may be good to watch that state's approach, he said.
It's important to create good jobs for those who have the ability to work, to take people out of the need for Medicaid, he said. For example, there are jobs being created in District 24, with DuPont expanding its Pioneer Hi-Bred production facility in York, Monsanto expanding its processing plant along U.S. 34 between Utica and Waco, and plans for a wheat research facility in Seward County.
He always has been an advocate for getting people enrolled if they are eligible for benefits, he said. If people can get good quality health care, he said, future problems may be avoided.
Kolterman said he was "solidly" prolife and would work to protect unborn children. He also believes in helping those who are born into poverty, he said.
"I do know that as young children are born into families that don't have as much, I think it's critical that we get them good quality health care and take care of them," he said.
Kolterman is a registered Republican, although the unicameral Legislature is officially nonpartisan. He describes himself as conservative in many regards but open to change and new ideas.
"I think that's one of my strengths is being able to sit down and talk to people on all sides of an issue," he said.
The lifelong Seward resident and his wife, Suzanne, have two adult daughters and three grandchildren. They live at 2577 Waverly Road in Seward.