Bob Tiemann likes to chat.
And being a small business owner, the Beatrice man gets to do a lot of it. He talks with lawyers, bankers, business owners, blue collar workers, the employed and the unemployed.
“When you talk to such a diverse group all the time, that gives you a really good idea of what is going on and what people are thinking and the problems that they face,” he said during a recent interview.
Tiemann, 61, wants to take the concerns he hears with him to the Legislature. If District 30 voters elect him to replace Sen. Norm Wallman, who cannot run again due to term limits, Tiemann promises to be someone they can chat with and who will work to better their lives.
“I think most people want someone in the Legislature they can feel comfortable talking with,” he said. “I think I can improve the lives of Nebraskans and improving the lives of people should be the No. 1 goal of anybody running for any office.”
As the owner and operator of R.L. Tiemann Construction, a small business with 28 employees, he knows firsthand about meeting payroll, creating jobs and dealing with governmental red tape. He also runs Bob Tiemann Homes, which builds houses in Lincoln.
He started R.L Tiemann Construction during his final year of college -- he graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration -- and has seen some tough years over the decades but always brought his business through.
This is Tiemann’s third time running for the Legislature. The first was in 1978 and the second four years ago.
“My mother always told me if there is something you really want, you go after it. You don’t give up. You keep going after it until you achieve it,” he said.
He and his wife, Barbara, have two grown sons, Erich and Hans.
Tiemann's key priority -- economic development -- is the linchpin supporting the other issues he considers most important: protecting older residents, agriculture and education. He said strong economic development means lower property taxes, which make life more affordable for elderly people living on fixed incomes. It also means creating a business-friendly atmosphere that is as regulation-free as possible for farmers and training workers who will be the building blocks of strong industries.
If elected, Tiemann said his first goal would be pushing to create a comprehensive economic development package that would bring together state and local officials, who too often lack good communication, he said.
Tiemann, who, like his opponent, is a Republican, wants to serve on the Legislature’s Appropriations and Business and Labor committees, where he feels his talents would be of benefit.
Tiemann says Nebraska does a good job with K-12 education and preparing kids to attend four-year colleges, but it needs better programs for students who want to get jobs out of high school or go to trade schools.
He opposes building any new prisons in Nebraska and says the Legislature should direct more funding toward rehabilitating criminals and give judges more latitude in sentencing.
Tiemann had raised almost $19,000 in campaign money as of Sept. 30, according to a statement filed with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. His largest individual donor was Pete Ricketts, who gave $2,500, and his largest organizational donor was the Nebraska Realtors Political Action Committee, which gave $3,000. He also received money from the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation PAC, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry PAC and Nebraska Bankers State PAC.
His opponent, Roy Baker of Lincoln, had raised $39,000 as of Sept. 30 according to his campaign filing with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.
The Internal Revenue Service in September issued a $16,676 tax lien against R.L. Tiemann Construction, a tax dispute of which $15,110 dates back to 2006 and $1,566 from 2012. He said he looks forward to the opportunity to prove in court that he does not owe the back taxes.
District 30 spans Gage County and the southeastern portion of Lancaster County. In addition to the far west and south parts of Lincoln, it includes 17 other towns, the largest of which is Beatrice. It stretches from Lincoln to the Kansas border.
Tiemann is a past chairman of the Beatrice Area Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Gage County Foundation board and a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation.
For more information, see bobtiemannforlegislature.com.