Conservative Nebrasksa gubernatorial candidate and businessman Pete Ricketts, who has a slight lead heading into Tuesday’s primary, said he staunchly opposes amnesty and taxpayer benefits being doled out to illegal immigrants because it is unfair to citizens and legal immigrants.
“I oppose amnesty. It’s not fair, it’s not right,” Ricketts said in an interview with MamaGrizzlyRadio on Monday.
Ricketts, who has been endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, also said that illegal immigration “creates a burden in our schools, law enforcement, and the health care system.” Ricketts said it is not fair to citizens to “provide taxpayer benefits to people who are here illegally.”
“It’s an important principle to stand on,” he noted.
Ricketts, who has been endorsed by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), one of the most staunch anti-amnesty Representatives who has been assailed by the pro-amnesty lobby, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who stopped the momentum for amnesty legislation in Congress, laughed off “desperate” attacks that have falsely tagged him as a supporter of amnesty to try to bring his poll numbers down.
Ricketts also mentioned that Nebraska is a high-tax state and stated he would bring “unique skills” as a businessman because Nebraska has not had anybody with business experience as governor in 20 years. He said having invested wisely and met payroll in the private sector are “valuable things to bring to state government” to “get our taxes down and cut state spending.”
Ricketts, who has also been endorsed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), former Vice President Dick Cheney, and former Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr, emphasized his positive campaign that has focused on the importance of lower property taxes in growing the agriculture sector, which has been resonating on the campaign trail. He added that he has been talking about manufacturing and the importance of vocational training, and Nebraskans have appreciated Ricketts’ belief that vocational training should be just as important as other forms of education in the modern economy.
On the campaign trial, Ricketts said that Palin’s endorsement has a particular resonance with Nebraskans that is palpable. He believed that was the case because Alaska and Nebraska have similar values.
“I’m just humbled and honored to have her support because… she’s taken on the established interests and brought reform to her state government and grown jobs, and that’s what I want to do in Nebraska,” Ricketts said. “I can’t tell you how many people have come to me and said, ‘I was having trouble making up my mind [in the contested primary] and I saw the endorsement form Governor Palin, and I’m on your side.'”
Palin has had a successful record in Nebraska’s GOP primaries. She endorsed Deb Fischer and powered her to a win in the 2012 GOP Senate primary en route to the U.S. Senate, and she has also endorsed Ben Sasse, who has surged to a 14-point lead, this year for Senate.