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Custer County has new representation

June 30, 2011

Sen. John Wightman, of Lexington, now represents Custer County in the state legislature.

If you have been following the news much at all, you are likely aware that the districts in the state of Nebraska, as well as nearly every other state in the union, have changed.
What you may not be fully aware of is the fact that those changes have already gone into effect, and as a result Sen. Deb Fischer is no longer the state representative for Custer County. That is because Custer County is no longer in the 43rd Legislative District; rather, we are now part of the 36th District represented by Sen. John Wightman of Lexington.
Wightman is an attorney with his own practice, Wightman & Wightman Law Office in Lexington, which he operates with one of his sons. He also has a strong agricultural background, and has owned land in Custer County for more than 30 years.
“I am very much interested in the agricultural economy in the state of Nebraska, having grown-up on a farm, owning agricultural land, and in my law practice representing primarily agricultural interests. As a result, my vote on almost all legislative issues is in line with the Nebraska Farm Bureau and Nebraska Cattlemen,” Wightman says.
Under Nebraska law, the same as every other state, it is required that the legislature be redistricted every ten years, based upon the decennial census. As I am sure all of you are aware, the western 75% of the state has been rather constantly losing population which results in their population becoming a smaller and smaller percentage of the total population.
The 2010 census was the first state census in which the three metropolitan counties of Douglas, Sarpy, and Lancaster have more than half of the population of the state of Nebraska. Those three counties now make up between 52% and 53% of the total population of the state. Since the U.S. Constitution requires that the representation be proportional to the total population, every 10 years the western end of the state loses representation in the Nebraska Unicameral.
As a result of the redistricting, District 36, which I serve, will now include all of Custer County. I am very interested in getting to Broken Bow and other towns and meeting more of the Custer County people. Custer County, just as Dawson County, has an agricultural based economy. Certainly Custer County is far more engaged in ranching although I know that many areas of the county have excellent irrigated cropland.
I was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in November 2006 and have served from January 2007 to the present date. I was re-elected in November 2010, so I have 3 remaining years before my term limits will result in my departure from the legislature. My wife and I have owned farmland in Custer County, located between Eddyville and Oconto, since the 1970's.
I was born in North Platte Oct. 2, 1938. My parents, Byron and Bessie Wightman, lived in Brady at the time. We lived there until 1942, when we moved to Maxwell, where I attended school through the third grade. We then moved to a farm between Overton and Sumner, in Dawson County where I attended rural school for about a year and a half and then attended Sumner Public Schools until I graduated in 1956.
I then attended Kearney State College from the years 1956 through 1959, and during the school year 1959 to 1960 I taught school at Dannebrog High School in Dannebrog. After that I attended law school at the University of Nebraska and moved to Lexington upon my graduation in May 1963. In 1964, I married my wife, Janet L. Hyde, from Gothenburg, and we have three children; John Wightman, Jr., who is an attorney and lives in Omaha, Jeffrey Wightman, who practices law with my firm Wightman & Wightman Law Office in Lexington, and a daughter, Jill Wightman, who is a professor of anthropology at Bradley University in Peroria, Illinois.
My activities, in addition to practicing law, include several terms on the Lexington City Council for approximately 20 years. Approximately two of those years, I served as mayor of Lexington. I am a charter member of the Lexington Community Foundation and currently serve as a director of that foundation.
I served for approximately 10 years on the Dawson Area Development Board of Directors and am a current member of the Dawson County Bar Association, Nebraska Bar Association, and the Nebraska Bar Foundation. I have practiced law in Lexington for a period of 48 years since 1963. Also, previous to serving on the Lexington City Council, I served as a member of the Lexington Planning Commission, and more recently served on the Council for Economic Development.
I was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in November 2006 and have served from January 2007 to the present date. I was re-elected in November 2010, so I have 3 remaining years before my term limits will result in my departure from the legislature.
In addition to the above activities, my wife Jan and I have been very involved in the United Methodist Church in Lexington for the past 48 years. I have served in a number of capacities including that of lay leader and the chair of the finance committee.
As far as other activities, I enjoyed many years playing tennis but have been unable to do so for the last couple of years due to chronic knee problems, which I am suffering from at the present time. As a result of an infection, next week I will be undergoing my third knee replacement in a period of the last two years. My surgeon has informed me that I should not expect miracles, and will probably not be playing tennis during the remaining years of my life.
As a result of the redistricting, District 36, which I serve, will now include all of Custer County. I am very interested in getting to Broken Bow and other towns and meeting more of the Custer County people. Custer County, just as Dawson County, has an agricultural based economy. Certainly Custer County is far more engaged in ranching although I know that many areas of the county have excellent irrigated cropland.
I look forward to getting to Broken Bow and meeting all of you in the near future.
Sen. John Wightman,
Nebraska’s 36th Legislative District

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