Senator features

Ballard takes on new Capitol role

Above: Sen. Beau Ballard and Cosmo relax at James Arthur Vineyards — the family business in Raymond, Nebraska.

It’s not often that someone as young as Sen. Beau Ballard can say they’ve spent half their lives in politics. The recently appointed senator began knocking doors and talking to constituents at age 12 while helping on his grandfather’s 2008 campaign for the legislative seat Ballard now holds.

Although that run was unsuccessful, Ballard said, it gave him “intimate” knowledge of Legislative District 21 and is an experience he carries with him to this day.

“I’ve been talking to constituents and voters in this district for a little over a decade,” Ballard said. “I know this district and think I can be a strong voice for the constituents of District 21.”

His early political experience led to an internship at the U.S. House of Representatives and with a Colorado state senator before Ballard became a legislative aide for then-Sen. Mike Hilgers.

Hilgers was elected as Nebraska’s Attorney General in November 2022, creating a vacancy in LD21. Ballard was appointed to the seat — an experience he calls one of the greatest honors of his life.

His time working with Hilgers in particular helped Ballard to understand Capitol dynamics, bill drafting and the committee process, but he said it’s still “wildly different” to be “the guy pressing the button.”

When he’s not handling his duties as a state senator, Ballard can be found playing basketball on Saturday mornings at his old high school stomping grounds, walking his beloved cocker spaniel, Cosmo, or managing one of his businesses.

Ballard owns BJB Strategies, a political consulting firm he started in 2021 that aims to help candidates run for office.

He also co-owns Rabbit Hole Bakery, located in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket, where he handles business operations and finances while his business partner, Amanda, handles the baking. His favorite pastry is the macaron, he said, because they remind him of sitting in a café in Paris.

“I don’t do any of the baking — you don’t want that,” Ballard laughed. “But, I love to travel, and I noticed that there was a need for a bakery in downtown Lincoln and so it’s an opportunity to fill a void in this community.”

Food also serves as another connection to the new senator’s love for public service, one he traces back to his grandmother. She worked as a lunch lady and Ballard recalled that she “always knew when somebody needed a friend.”

“She just wanted to serve and to be generous with her time, talents and treasures and I think that’s what public servants should strive to do — not do it for themselves, but do it for their community,” he said.

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