Nebraska state Sen. Rich Pahls of Omaha dies at 78

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska state lawmaker and former Omaha city council member has died due to complications from cancer, his legislative staff said Wednesday.

Sen. Rich Pahls was 78. Pahls, a Republican, first served in the Nebraska Legislature from 2005 until 2013, when term limits forced him to leave office. He then served two four-year terms on Omaha’s city council, from 2013 to 2021, before returning to the Legislature.

Gov. Pete Ricketts ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through Thursday to honor Pahls.

“Senator Pahls was a dedicated public servant and a great man,” Ricketts said in a statement. “He was committed to improving his community, first as an education and then through elected service. Nebraska lost a true leader today.”

Pahls worked as an principal for Millard Public Schools in western Omaha. In his first stint as a lawmaker, he served as chairman of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee.

“Rich Pahls was a great friend, a valued colleague and a true public servant,” said Sen. Mike Flood, whose service in the Legislature coincided with Pahls’.

Ricketts will appoint Pahls’ repalcement.