Senator features

Raybould finds fulfillment in family business, public service

Above: Sen. Jane Raybould (center) enjoying Sesame Street Place with husband Pepe (right), daughter Clara, son-in-law Micah and granddaughters Leni and Paloma in Chula Vista, California.

Lincoln Sen. Jane Raybould is no stranger to hard work. As the daughter of grocery store owners, her first business experience was selling fireworks at age 8 in the parking lot of Russ’s Market at 17th and Washington streets.

“That was such a great job,” she said. “I got paid in change and fireworks.”

At 14, Raybould started her first job inside the store, where she worked her way up from dishwasher, to donut fryer, to serving at the bakery counter and later becoming a cashier during high school and college.

That work ethic served her well when, after graduating from Lincoln’s Pius X Catholic High School, Raybould went on to attend Creighton University for undergrad and later Georgetown University, where she earned a master’s degree in Soviet economics.

She accepted a position at the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, which dealt with Soviet trade and technology, and a few years later learned about commercial construction and real estate while at the District of Columbia Building Industry Association.

While living in Washington D.C, Raybould married Jose “Pepe” Herrero and the couple had two children, Clara and Gabriel. After spending nearly 20 years on the East Coast, Raybould decided to return to Nebraska to help care for her parents and the family business.

Her father built his first Super Saver store in 1984 and Raybould saw the expanding grocery business as an opportunity to utilize her construction, remodeling and real estate acquisition skills.

Subsequently, her brother, Pat, stepped into the role of CEO of B&R Stores, which now has 33 stores in three states, with Raybould now serving as vice-president and vice-chairperson of the board of directors.

“As a family business, we are truly very fortunate because we love working with each other,” Raybould said. “I learned a lot from dad and it’s a big honor being in his office now.”

The siblings also continue their love of fireworks all these years later.

“We’re just pyromaniacs,” Raybould laughed. “So now we have fireworks stands in almost every single one of our grocery stores.”

Her other love is public service.

The 2008 Democratic presidential caucus in Nebraska sparked Raybould’s interest in personal political involvement and local government elective office.

“I was so excited and energized by all of the neighbors that I saw going to the caucus at Irving Middle School,” she said. “The whole gym was full of people.”

That experience was the catalyst for a successful run for the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners. She also has served on the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce board of directors and as a member of the Lincoln City Council.

“I love public service,” Raybould said. “It fulfills me.”

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