New senator brings experience to the Legislature

Above: Sen. Andrew La Grone is a freshman senator but a familiar face in the Capitol hallways.

Andrew La Grone is a first-year senator but he’s not new to the Capitol or issues of public policy.

The Gretna senator reviewed the state budget when he was a senior at Millard South High School. The Great Recession of 2008 led to numerous cuts in federal funding, leaving the Nebraska School Distributive Education Clubs of America, of which he was a member, without money.

La Grone and other DECA members lobbied state senators to restore funding, but the group was given a challenge—find something else to cut from the state budget. The process proved educational.

“I was taken aback by some of the things the state spent money on,” La Grone said. “These are taxpayer dollars. This is time spent away from their families. This is an opportunity to take their kid out to dinner that they no longer have because that money came into the state.”

La Grone, president of the Gretna Optimists, returned to the Legislature in 2015 after earning a law degree from the University of Nebraska. He worked for three years as legal counsel for the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee chaired by then-Sen. John Murante.

“It was incredibly helpful to learn about the internal processes of the body but also to work for someone who had those same Nebraska values I had—ensuring we provide adequate funding for education, standing up for pro-life values and providing for our military members,” La Grone said.

Murante encouraged La Grone to apply for the seat when he resigned after being elected state treasurer. La Grone was appointed to serve District 49 in December of 2018. In his first year, he has introduced bills to improve security at Offutt Air Force Base and help parents save for their children’s college education.

While at UNL, La Grone served as chairman of the Nebraska Federation of College Republicans and attended the 2012 Republican National Convention.

“To see so many people come from all different parts of the country around the ideas of freedom, hard work and achievement, that was an amazing experience,” La Grone said. “America is an idea, right? We’re a melting pot. We don’t have a common heritage in that sense, but what we have is a heritage of ideas.”

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