I was born and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio.
My parents taught me the moral absolutes of Christianity, and I just applied those to everything. They didn't tell me I had to be pro-life. They gave me the belief system that I used.
They gave me very solid common sense about life and how you treat people. About honesty. Live on a budget. Old-fashioned stuff.
I have a (younger) sister. Two years apart. She's married with kids. My calling was to make money. Her calling was to bring people along, nurture people.
It's kind of funny. We're both tall, dark hair and adopted. You put all four of us in our family together and we all look the same, pretty much.
My birth parents loved me enough to put me up for adoption, and God put me with this family. It was just the most unbelievable match.
Not interested in my biological parents. Not at all. I have two great, loving parents. I'm happy with that, and I don't need to go find any more of my roots.
My dad was an engineer for General Electric. A very, very smart man. A man with dyslexia who got a master's in engineering. Figure that out.
I didn't know he had dyslexia until about 10 years ago. Never talked about it. Never made a big deal. Didn't need anyone's help. He made it because he wanted to make it.
I've always had a high level of energy.
I played baseball at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. That lasted a year. Blew out my shoulder and that was the end of that.
Then I wrote for the paper. I was in marketing club. I was in college Republicans working on the Reagan campaign. And then I was elected president of student government, which paid for my fifth year of college.
You can imagine the liberals had a party when I graduated. … I probably picked a few fights with the liberals I didn't need to pick. When you're 19, 20, 21, you don't understand 'pick and choose your battles.' That's why you have a student government, so you learn these things.
There were no Democrats ever in my family. We think my grandmother, my dad's mom, voted for Roosevelt one of those times. We think she slipped.
I went to work for the Louisiana Republican party. That was my first job. From Wright State to Baton Rouge. It was a six-month job, organizing the college Republicans on all the campuses, getting them ready for the 1986 senate campaign in the state.
I did some freelance writing for some business publications. I found out very quickly the money wasn't in writing, it was in sales.
I was pushing 30 with no sales experience, so I had to hustle a little bit to try to talk someone into hiring me. But I got into sales.
Part time, I was doing sports writing.
I truly believe that for all of us our best days all lie ahead of us. Because as you gain more knowledge and you get better at what you do, you ought to have a better life.
I was single for 47 years. I was good at it.
I'd been dating my wife (Lauren Hill Kintner, Gov. Dave Heineman's director of policy research) since 2000. We met in the mid '90s, when she was assistant attorney general for Don Stenberg.
I was state chairman of Young Republicans in Ohio and she was state chairman of Young Republicans in Nebraska. We met at a national meeting.
I didn't ask her out right away, but I kind of kept her in the back of my mind. It took me a few years. And finally we went out.
Two best things I ever did in my life was marry the woman and move to this state (in 2009). Those were two big game changers.
When I got married, that was a turning point. Holy cow.
I don't run my life any more. … I've got someone to share my hopes and dreams with. We like a lot of the same things. We have a lot of the same passions.
When all of a sudden it's two people and you have to come together and figure how to make things work, that's a change. And it's a change I embrace.
In our household, we have a separation of powers. The legislative is downstairs and the executive is upstairs. We don't talk about what she does on her side and what I do on my side. There's no sharing of inside information.
There's not much about food that escapes me. I like to eat.
If it's bad, I like it. Big steak and big steak fries. Strawberry short cake and doughnuts.
Graeter's ice cream. Made by the Graeter's family in Cincinnati since 1870. Made in French pots, eight gallons at a time. They hand pack the pots. If you're an ice cream snob, you'll never eat Ben and Jerry's again.
I've been paying attention to Nebraska politics probably since '95 or '96. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly.
(The Legislature) is exactly what I thought it would be. I did my homework. I knew exactly what I was getting into.
This is hard ball politics down here.
Let me tell you what disappoints me. The deals that are cut, the pressure that is applied, the offers that are made, sadden me.
I don't like the politics part. But it's human nature.
I'm a baseball guy. I umpire. I watch baseball. I watch sports.
I like to read. I don't do enough of it. So my goal this summer is a book or two. Last book was "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto" by Mark Levin.
Prized possession? My Roger Staubach jersey. He's from Cincinnati, by the way.
I like pop music. I grew up listening to Elton John and Billy Joel. My favorite band is the Newsboys (Christian pop rock). I go to see them whenever I can.
I go to one of those nondenominational rock and roll churches. Shadow Lake Community Church in Papillion.
Biggest mystery? Women. No one understands them. They don't even understand themselves. Books and books and books have been written about it, and no one understands it.
Men are very easy to understand. Very basic, very simple.
Cigars. You know, that's my only vice. I don't drink. I don't cuss. All I do is smoke a cigar or two a week.
I try to take between 11,000 and 13,000 steps a day. Yesterday I got 15,000.
Most of my vacations are going somewhere for business and staying an extra two days.
I never ask a (legislative) page for coffee or for a drink. I'm not so high and mighty that I need to have some kid bring me a drink. I can go do it myself.
Life is fun. It doesn't need to be a drudgery.
I always tell people, if you grew up in Nebraska and never lived anywhere else, you don't know how good it is. I can tell you, this is truly The Good Life.