Nebraskans have nearly a year before they will elect the next governor of Nebraska on Nov. 6, 2018. However, University of Nebraska at Omaha alumni, professor and local business owner Tyler Davis is already making plans for his campaign.
Davis is an instructor of emergency services at UNO and is working toward a doctorate in societal and preventive medicine with a focus on emergency preparedness from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He grew up in Jacksonville, Illinois and came to Nebraska in 2002, graduating from Bryan High School after one semester.
“I love teaching students,” Davis said. “Young professionals kind of get a bad rep, but they’re the future of the U.S. I try my best to prepare the students for the workplace.”
Davis, formerly a Republican, doesn’t fit neatly into the typical Democrat construct. He is anti-abortion but said he supports easy-access contraceptives. He is also against the death penalty and cites the millions of dollars it takes to put someone to death.
When it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline, which was recently approved to move forward with construction, Davis’ landowner-mentality doesn’t mesh well with the plans.
“I never want a foreign corporation telling an American, let alone a Nebraskan, what they can and cannot do with their land,” Davis said. “I understand that some people might object for environmental reasons. I do teach emergency management, and I know that there’s extreme risk with a pipeline. A new pipeline is safer than an old pipeline.”
Davis said the change in parties came after the last election.
“I watched the party radicalize, their values changed and mine didn’t,” Davis said. “What the real issue for us, my wife and I, was Trump’s emboldening of white supremacy. What my wife and I have experienced on the Democrat side – they’re mostly moderate. I think that the only way to reunite in this country, to calm things down, is to meet in the middle.”
Davis said the decision to run for governor came after an experience “taking on crooks” in the form of a contractor committing fraud on a multi-million-dollar level.
“Taking on crooks for the last year, that was the main motivator,” Davis said. “The system was rigged against the homeowner and when you can’t hold someone accountable who is doing white-collar crime, that is very disappointing as a citizen.”
Davis said he and his wife Molly are working with the unicameral to find a policy solution but found it difficult to make progress on the federal side of policy reform.
“Our Congressional delegation in Nebraska, they don’t serve the people, they serve the special interest and the one percent for sure,” Davis said. “It was clear after meeting with their staff that they don’t care about the American consumer. There’s a host of multi-state agencies that have problems that need to be fixed.”
Experience in emergency management has led Davis to plan for security changes for both the UNO campus and the city of Omaha.
Davis said he is going to work with NU President Hank Bounds to develop a “resilient university system and includes an all-hazards based system, not just active shooter.”
“The level of security and counter measures that we need in today’s environment has to change and I’m going to advocate for that. I hope he’s [Bounds] an administrator that sees the dire situation that he may not have been aware of before. And that’s not just at the university level, I see vulnerabilities even at the city level when it comes to the College World Series, and I definitely want the Emergency Services agencies to take what I say seriously.”
Davis and Molly have two daughters. Davis said that Molly, a healthcare worker and entrepreneur, is going to be actively campaigning.
“The best decision I made in my life was to marry Molly,” Davis said. “I have a very independent wife and I love that about her. She wants to go out and advocate that women get involved in politics, that women get involved with businesses and achieve what they can achieve. I have two little daughters and I want a world where if one of them wanted to aspire to be president of the U.S., then they would actually have a chance to win.”