Heineman can't appoint a state senator to fill the Lt. Gov. post
LINCOLN, Neb. (KTIV) -
Nebraska's Governor is looking for a new "second in command." That's after Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy abruptly resigned on Saturday.
On Monday, Dave Heineman launched a search for his replacement.
Heineman expects the process of finding a new Lieutenant Governor will take several weeks. However, he says it's important to fill the job right away.
Rick Sheehy turned in his resignation after questions were raised about his use of a state cell phone to make calls to multiple women.
Phone records show about 2,000 late-night phone calls to women other than his wife. She filed for divorce last year.
Governor Heineman is limited by who he can chose to replace Sheehy. The state's constitution spells out that it can't be one of the 49 state senators serving in the unicameral.
"When the legislature is in session, no sitting senator can be appointed to a state office. So to be very clear, no senator could receive the appointment even if I wanted to do that," said Gov. Heineman.
The republican said waiting for the session to be over, to potentially choose a state senator to fill the seat, would be waiting too long.
Heineman also said he won't appoint anyone who plans to run for governor of Nebraska in 2014.
He said it's not fair to give someone an advantage, because he wants the competitive primary process to work.
Heineman does expect to see a list of qualified names.
"I'd love to hear thoughts from Nebraskans. Get 10 or 15 names. I'll probably know most all of them and then probably go through a process of narrowing that down and talk to one or two," he said.
The Lieutenant Governor has many roles. That person serves as Nebraska's Director of Homeland Security.
They also chair the state's Information and Technology Commission, preside over the legislature when in session, and fill in or represent the governor at a series of events.
Sheehy had been considered the front-runner in next year's race for governor and had been endorsed by Heineman.
The governor said Monday, that Sheehy no longer has his endorsement for the job.
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