Lowe sets up shop in the Legislature

Above: Sen. John Lowe and his wife Kim traveled to Hawaii last year with their sons to renew their vows after 25 years of marriage.

As he settles into his first legislative session, you won’t find Sen. John Lowe of Kearney spending too much time decorating his new work space. Despite having one of the smaller offices in the Capitol, he’s still getting used to having so much room and natural light.

“You don’t really have a traditional office when you’re starting a business from the ground up,” he said. “All my offices have been a folding table in a dingy basement. This is grand in comparison.”

Lowe’s business acumen is a family trait, passed down through the generations.

His great-grandfather crossed the Atlantic from Liverpool, England and settled the family in the Kearney area in 1883. The Lowes have made their mark on the town’s landscape, working in the local real estate industry for over 100 years.

His experience in the family business inspired him to broaden his horizons into other business ventures. A self-proclaimed “jack of all trades,” Lowe says he’s owned and operated just about every kind of business one man can, buying and selling seven businesses over the years.

There’s a pretty good chance that he is the only bar owner/restauranteur/frozen-yogurt purveyor/document-imaging company owner/real estate agent to serve in the Legislature.

Call it his entrepreneurial spirit, but Lowe is much happier and more comfortable when he’s busy. This has absolutely helped him transition into his role as state senator, he says.

“Being here at the State Capitol is definitely an adjustment, but I’m still busy — it’s just a new kind of busy. Instead of working for myself, now I’m working for my constituents.”

He said he felt compelled to run for the Legislature to help address the problems facing Nebraskans each day. High property taxes and expanding government are the issues that are impacting his constituents, the people he’s known his entire life.

“I decided to run because I was breaking all my televisions and radios at home,” he laughed. “I was frustrated with the way our government was functioning. I realized I wasn’t solving any problems in my living room.”

While he definitely senses an urgency from his friends and neighbors to act, Lowe takes a more measured approach. He understands issues that have been building for years cannot be fixed overnight with a stroke of a pen.

“The Legislature doesn’t move fast and that’s a good thing,” he said. “We should take our time, be methodical and make well informed decisions.”

Lowe said he often benefits from the advice of his family, including wife Kim and sons John, Robert and Patrick. They’ve encouraged him to keep his head on straight and never lose sight of his values when legislating, which he intends to take to heart.

“There won’t be a bust of me in the hallway when my time in the Legislature is over,” he said. “I’m just a common guy who wants to represent the people well.”

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