Above: Sen. Mike Groene and grandson Hudson admire a catch.
Sen. Mike Groene enjoys hard work—the more, the better. Describing himself as someone who “hates to sit still,” the new senator said he realized early in life that it was best to embrace his nature.
Groene was raised in Olean, in Colfax County, and was the second to youngest of seven siblings. When you grow up in agriculture, he said, you learn the value of a day’s work. So, after graduating from Dodge High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he built a career in agricultural management and sales.
“You do what you know and I knew agriculture,” Groene said.
But, after establishing his career, Groene thought it might be time to explore a hobby.
“When you reach the middle class, you figure you’re supposed to take up golf,” Groene said. So, he tried it. “I found myself waiting and waiting and standing around on that golf course, and I realized, I don’t like this. I’ve got to keep moving.”
That was the beginning and the end of golf as a hobby.
Although he says he has no time for hobbies these days, Groene enjoys spending time outdoors, especially on the South Loup River near his North Platte home. He recently finished building a cabin near the river, where his children, Rebecca and Jebb, and their families come to relax and fish. He said a photo of his grandchildren holding up their first catches is one of his favorite possessions.
“I go home every weekend to restore my sanity,” he said. “Family is what matters most.”
While he’s busy at the Legislature, Groene’s wife Barb fills in at his regular occupation, which includes staffing the show booths at agricultural conferences.
“It works out,” he laughed. “They like her better than me, anyway.”
Groene said he is looking forward to bringing his agricultural and business experience to the Legislature and working for less government involvement in the lives of Nebraskans.
“Good government is less government,” he said. “I’m just a country kid who lived the American dream and that’s what I want for the people I represent.”