LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts appointed Madison County businessman Robert Dover as the newest lawmaker to serve in the Nebraska Legislature, filling the vacant seat for District 19.
Dover will replace newly elected U.S. Rep. Mike Flood, who won his seat representing Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District in a special election in June. Flood replaced Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned earlier this year. Dover will carry out the remainder of Flood’s term in the Legislature, which runs until January 2025.
Dover leads several local real estate and development businesses, including serving as president of Coldwell Banker Dover Realtors since 1988. He has also served as president of Dover Management Company since 2008, and serves as vice president of Whitecliff Development.
“I love the fact that he’s an entrepreneur, and he has created jobs and really invested in the Norfolk area,” Ricketts said at a Friday press conference.
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Dover also formerly served as the vice chairman of the Madison County Republican Party until earlier this year, when new leadership was elected during the county party convention. Recently, Dover served as a delegate at the state GOP Convention, which saw the upheaval of the party establishment. It is unknown if Dover played any role in the leadership changes.
On Friday, Dover did not share his priorities for the Legislature, but instead praised Ricketts for his work on limiting government spending and pushing for tax relief. Dover, unlike several other recent appointees to the Legislature, did not take questions from members of the media after he was sworn in.
Ricketts said Dover “reflects the conservative values” of the Norfolk area, including his opposition to abortion rights and support for gun rights.
“I’m committed to seeing northeast Nebraska thrive,” Dover said in a press release. “I’ve dedicated my professional life to the real estate industry, and I’ll work in the Legislature to help reduce the tax burden on Nebraska’s families.”
It is unlikely that Dover’s appointment will have any impact on the possibility of a special session to debate abortion restrictions later this year. Flood also opposes abortion, and he supported a trigger bill earlier this year that would have banned all abortions in the state upon the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
That bill failed to reach 33 votes needed for a filibuster-ending cloture motion. Dover’s appointment doesn’t improve the chance of that changing.
As of Thursday, Ricketts said he was still in discussions with Speaker of the Legislature Mike Hilgers, and had yet to reach a decision on a special session.
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