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State lawmaker to run for state treasurer

February 11, 2018 GMT

Nebraska state Sen. John Murante brings an impressive resume to the table as he seeks to be Nebraska’s next state treasurer.

Murante, who represents District 49 (northwest Sarpy County) in the Unicameral, is looking to succeed current treasurer Don Stenberg, who isn’t able to seek re-election because of term limits.

In fact, it was Stenberg who encouraged Murante — both fellow Republicans — to run for state treasurer.

“In the middle part of last year, Don had approached me as a person who he thought would be very qualified to succeed him,” Murante said. “I gave it a lot of prayerful consideration, talked about it with my wife and thought this is the best way I can serve the state of Nebraska.”

When asked what his top priority would be as state treasurer, Murante pointed to the state’s 529 program, the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust, also known as NEST.

“The first thing that the next state treasurer is going to do — the next big decision — is to determine the next administrator of Nebraska’s 529 program, the college savings account,” Murante said. “The contract with First National Bank of Omaha is expiring, so the next state treasurer will have to begin, in very short order, the process of RFPs and to determine whether to continue with First National Bank or to find a different direction.”

Before being elected to the Unicameral in 2012, Murante served as the former president and chief executive officer of his family’s business, Big Fred’s Pizza in Omaha. Murante said he believes that experience will help him with NEST and the other aspects of being the state’s chief financial officer.

“As a person who’s run a small business, who’s managed contracts and renegotiated contracts, I am extremely qualified to carry out that process,” Murante said. “When I took over control of my family’s small business, one of the first things we did is we sat down with all of our vendors, began renegotiating and determined where efficiencies could be found — and I think the same process needs to take place in government. I’ve always believed government ought to run like a business and it needs to be run efficiently.”

Murante’s time running his family’s business also has given him a unique perspective on the state’s young people and their need for financial literacy.

“As a person who’s managed a lot of young people and hired a lot of young people, I am deeply concerned with the financial literacy of the twentysomething generation,” Murante said. “Basic tenets like balancing a checkbook, managing a budget, even making change at a cash register — are skill sets that the vast majority of young folks do not appear capable of doing right now.

“I think having a state treasurer who’s willing and able to build partnerships with like-minded organizations who know to do these things — to get into the schools and re-introduce these sorts of financial literacy components is very important.”

Taylor Royal of Omaha, also a Republican, has also announced his candidacy for state treasurer.