Lincoln senator McGill to run for state auditor

Sen. Amanda McGill

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – Lincoln Sen. Amanda McGill confirmed today she is running for state auditor.

Sen. Amanda McGill

McGill – who will be term-limited out of her seat representing District 26 in northeast Lincoln next year – recently told Nebraska Watchdog that during her time as a senator for the past seven years, she’s seen a lot of waste and mismanagement of government money and negative outcomes, and has been a leader in trying to make reforms and thinks she could continue to play a role in that from the auditor’s office.

“I have spent my career in the legislature working across party lines to bring significant change to our state,” she said in a press release. “When problems arise, like the failed privatization of foster care, I have been a leader in developing and passing reforms.”

State Auditor Mike Foley is running for governor next year. The only formally announced candidate so far is Republican Sen. Pete Pirsch of Omaha. McGill is a Democrat. She praised Foley’s work.

“If elected, I will continue the good work that our current state auditor, Mike Foley, has done of holding government accountable to the people,” she said in the release.

McGill told Nebraska Watchdog she’d like to dive into finding more waste and mismanagement in the state corrections system and Health and Human Services Department – a frequent target of Foley’s. She said she’s been a leader in reforming the failed effort to privatize foster care, “the failed mental health system,” the Beatrice State Developmental Center, juvenile justice and corrections.

“I think there’s a lot more that can be done,” she said last month.

Foley has locked horns with Gov. Dave Heineman in the wake of his many scathing audits of state agencies. McGill said she knows the state auditor isn’t always “the best friend” with government agencies, but that’s the case with lawmakers, too, citing her support for reforms of juvenile jails, despite opposition from labor unions, which traditionally supported her.

“You do need someone who is going to be independent of whoever the governor is,” she said. “If I don’t feel that a program is effective, I’m going to argue for change.”

McGill has chaired the Urban Affairs Committee since 2009 and also chaired the Children in Crisis Task Force during the “safe haven” crisis. McGill serves on the Judiciary, Business and Labor and Children’s Behavioral Health Oversight Committees.

“It’s my experience in effective collaboration with my legislative colleagues, state agencies, and the people of Nebraska that makes me the best choice to be the next state auditor of Nebraska,” she said in the release.

McGill will be going on a 15-city kickoff tour across the state this week. The cities on the tour include Lincoln, Omaha, Fremont, South Sioux City, West Point, Norfolk, Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings, McCook, Sidney, Scottsbluff, North Platte, Lexington and Kearney.

The Omaha native is a former administrator for YWCA of Lincoln and TV reporter for KOLN/KGIN in Lincoln and KCAU in Sioux City.

Contact Deena Winter at Follow Deena on Twitter at @DeenaNEWatchdog

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