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Community members expressed their gratitude toward Sen. Paul Schumacher, who served as District 22’s representative in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature for the past eight years, during a recent Thank You Reception at Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event attracted business representatives, members of school boards, staff from the City of Columbus and the Chamber, as well as Schumacher’s former classmates and District 22 candidate Doug Oertwich. Attendees were seen networking with one another as they enjoyed the lunch provided at the reception.

Schumacher is nearing the end of his eight-year term serving the Legislature. He spoke about the issues he worked on such as taxes, trades, funding and the prison system, which for Oertwich, were all too familiar.

Oertwich said he learned “just how much the state has to do, how short they are on funding and what it will take to get things turned around."

As Oertwich was going door to door in the community for his campaign, he said he heard community members bringing up the same issues that were addressed by Sen. Schumacher during the reception. Oertwich will be contending against former Columbus mayor Mike Moser in the general election in November to represent District 22 in the Legislature.

Chamber members took the opportunity to present Schumacher with the Commitment to Service award for his years of service.

After his speech, the floor was open to the public for comments and questions. A local business owner spoke up about how Schumacher helped his business and appreciated his effort in looking out for the smaller businesses, as well.

Attendees asked questions regarding the state’s current stance on mental illness services and its prison systems, wondering what changes to expect in the future. Schumacher said the majority of these issues were caused by lack of funding.

Regardless of the obstacles he had to face throughout his term, Schumacher said he enjoyed his time serving the district, saying “it was fun.”

So what’s next for Schumacher after the end of his term? He said he plans to continue his service to the community through other business avenues.

“I am too young to retire,” he said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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