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Former Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk announced Friday that he will be a candidate for the Legislature in 2020.

Flood was a powerful presence during his six years as speaker, ending in 2013, and he would be the second major figure to recently return to the Legislature after a term-limited hiatus if he is elected next year.

Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha, a leading figure in prison reform and key legislative negotiator, returned this year after being elected to a new four-year term.

Senators are limited to two consecutive terms, but may return after at least a four-year interval.

"I have always felt a call to public service," Flood said in making his announcement.   

"I am looking forward to serving my community in Lincoln again and helping to move our state forward."

Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, who is current Speaker of the Legislature, will complete his second term next year.

Flood, an attorney and broadcaster, has built the News Channel Nebraska state TV network and strengthened a string of radio stations that he owns during recent years.

In 2004, he was first elected to the Legislature when he was 29; he was chosen by his colleagues as speaker when he was 31.

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"I love northeast Nebraska and I love the state of Nebraska and I am excited to earn another chance to represent Madison and Stanton counties in the Legislature to help grow rural communities," Flood said in a written statement.

"I see a lot of opportunity for Nebraska to improve our economy and our state and I want to be part of our state realizing our full potential."

During his two terms in the Legislature, his announcement stated, "Flood championed the sanctity of life, helped usher in tax relief and was known for brokering compromises on some of the most difficult issues facing the Legislature, including the Keystone XL pipeline and CIR reform."

The Commission of Industrial Relations is a state agency designed to resolve public sector labor issues.

"If I was to be elected, I think it will be the process of starting over," Flood told the Norfolk Daily News.

"That excites me. I enjoyed it the first time, and I think I will enjoy it even more because you get to meet a lot of people who all want to do what they think is best for Nebraska's future."

Flood was a leading Republican candidate for governor in 2012, but withdrew from the 2014 gubernatorial race when his wife, Mandi, was diagnosed with breast cancer. His wife has been cancer-free for six years.

Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the Legislature's best-known senator, returned to the Legislature in 2013 after a term-limited hiatus. He will be term-limited out of the legislative body once again at the end of next year.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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