Jim Pillen sworn in as Nebraska's 41st governor

Jan. 5, 2023, 5:10 p.m. ·

Members of the Nebraska Legislature and public officials applaud Governor Jim Pillen as he finishes his address. (Photo by Fred Knapp, Nebraska Public Media)

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Former State Board of Regents member and pig farmer Jim Pillen was sworn in Thursday as Nebraska’s 41st governor.

In his inaugural address Pillen said he hopes to control spending and change tax codes in the state. He also said he plans to demonstrate fiscal conservatism and keep state government small.

“You see, great people want limited government that respects their freedoms, does its job, and then gets the heck out of the way,” Pillen said. Great people want the opportunity to succeed through grit, and determination. That's why great people want to live right here in Nebraska.”

Pillen also noted education reform as a priority in his speech. Four new members of the State Board of Education were also sworn in during the inauguration ceremony, including three Republicans.

“Our state funding education formula is outdated and unfair to far too many of our students,” Pillen said. "State aid to education must be modernized so that it is more equitable, meeting the needs of our students and all across communities in Nebraska.”

The state’s fourth consecutive Republican governor, Pillen defeated Democrat Carol Blood by more than 20 points in the 2022 gubernatorial election. Now, he’s expected to face opposition from Democrats in the officially non-partisan Legislature. In the recent election, Democrats secured enough seats to prevent a filibuster-proof Republican majority, which may prevent legislation about hot-button issues like abortion or gun control from passing.

In his speech, Pillen said above all, the government had a duty to provide for its constituents.

“The question for all of us today is whether we can live up to the example set for us by those we serve,” Pillen said. “As I look to the 100 and eighth Nebraska Legislature, the answer is clear. We can do big things by working together.”