One of the most familiar voices this century in the Nebraska Legislature is seeking to return.
Mike Flood of Norfolk, the former speaker of the nation’s only Unicameral Legislature, announced his candidacy Friday morning for election in District 19, which includes all of Madison County and northwest Stanton County, including Woodland Park.
Flood previously served in the Legislature from 2005 to 2013, including as speaker of the Legislature for six years.
The seat is now held by Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk, who was re-elected to his second term in 2016 and will be finishing his final term in 2020. Scheer, who also is the speaker, is ineligible to run again because of term limits.
Flood said he has given returning to politics a lot of thought and is ready to return.
“If I was to be elected, I think it will be the process of starting over,” he said. “That excites me. I enjoyed it the first time, and I think I will enjoy it even more because you get to meet a lot of people who all want to do what they think is best for Nebraska’s future.”
Only two of Nebraska’s 49 state senators — Ernie Chambers and Steve Lathrop — are still in office from when Flood was last in office in 2012.
Flood earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and received his law degree from the University of Nebraska. In addition to running Flood Communications, he is an attorney at Jewell & Collins law firm in Norfolk.
Flood also serves on the board of directors for Invest Nebraska, TeamMates Mentoring program and is chairman of the board for the Children’s Scholarship Fund of Omaha.
Flood and his wife, Mandi, live in Norfolk and have two children, Brenden and Blake.
While he has spent a lot of time at Flood Communications, Flood said he is confident it will continue to operate well if he is elected to the Legislature.
“In early 2018, Andy Ruback joined as CEO and has been in that role for 19 months.” Flood said. “He already has allowed (me to have time away) because my media efforts are capably led by Andy. He has allowed me to re-engage in public service.”
At one point, Flood looked as though he was headed for a bigger role in Nebraska politics. On Nov. 7, 2012, he announced in Norfolk that he was a Republican candidate for governor in 2014, hoping to succeed Gov. Dave Heineman.
But shortly thereafter, Mandi was diagnosed with breast cancer. On Dec. 6, Flood announced that he was withdrawing from the race.
“Mandi’s health has been fine for five years,” Flood said. “I think it is important for people to know that she is absolutely healthy. She has been cancer-free for six years, and she is very supportive and encouraging for me to re-engage.”
After having gone through that experience, Flood said it has been a benefit in part for him and his family because it has allowed them to raise their children in Norfolk.
“In the end, it worked out for the best. We are on the right path,” Flood said.
When he was in the Legislature, Flood was known for introducing or co-sponsoring bills. He was involved with the passage of about 150 bills during his eight years.
During his two terms in the Legislature, Flood championed the sanctity of life, helped usher in tax relief and was known for brokering compromises on some of the most difficult issues facing the Legislature, including the Keystone XL pipeline.
“I love Northeast Nebraska and I love the state of Nebraska, and I am excited to earn another chance to represent Madison and Stanton counties in the Legislature to help grow rural communities,” he said. “I see a lot of opportunity for Nebraska to improve our economy and our state, and I want to be part of our state realizing our full potential.”