Article By Gothenburg Leader:Jul 29, 2021
Due to state statutes limiting the number of consecutive years a Senator can serve in the Nebraska Legislature, Matt Williams of Gothenburg will be representing District 36 in his last session next year. However, that does not mean his public service or days representing the people of this area are over. This past week Williams announced his bid for a seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
“I have one more full session left as Senator, so my time will be ending there at the same time that Bob Phares will be ending his term on the Board of Regents. Bob has decided after 16 wonderful years on the board that he is not going to re-run,” Williams explained.
Williams said Bob and his wife are long-time friends and Bob encouraged Williams to run for his seat and has endorsed him for that position. “Bob has been a solid regent for this period of time – a voice of vision, strength and a steady force for the Board of Regents. I want to thank him for his support.”
He explained the role the Board of Regents has not only in the university system, but to the citizens and state the regents represent. “To me the first area of responsibility is to make sure you hire the right people in the positions at the university. I think Ted Carter was a home run hire and a calming visionary for the future. You then need to be sure you help those people connect with what the constituents across Nebraska believe is the role and vision for Nebraska, and then support them with that,” Williams explained.
He went on to say that the second thing Regents do is work with the university’s budget which Williams described as a very complicated system because of the university’s multiple campuses. All of that comes under one budget, and Williams said he believes his financial background and his work with the legislature will be a benefit. A portion of the university system’s budget comes from state tax dollars and Williams sees his experience with the legislature as a means to help the Board of Regents in their relationship with the legislature on that.
“One of the things that I think is critically important for me and for our state is that we maintain a level of affordability at the University of Nebraska, and that is part of the budgeting process. And that comes down to tuition. I’m proud of the fact that of all the Big 10 universities tuition at Nebraska is the lowest,” he said.
The Board of Regents has eight representatives, and the district Williams would serve entails everything west of the eastern edge of Dawson County. “It’s a part of the state I feel very comfortable representing – it’s rural and ag, and that is what I have done all my life,” Williams said.
His campaign for that Board of Regents seat is now underway. Williams said his wife, Susan, is his biggest supporter and is as committed to serving as he is. Anyone wishing to financially support Matt Williams’ run for University of Nebraska Board of Regents can make a check out to “Matt Williams for Regent”. Ruthie Ostergard at Flatwater Bank is the campaign treasurer. Checks can be sent to PO Box 81, Gothenburg or just call Matt.
“The university is so important to the long-term success of our state. Being able to educate and retain kids in our state is so important,” he added.