The Wheels Down Politics Show – Governor Kay Orr

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Kay Orr

In an exclusive interview, Jerry Kratochvil sits down with former Nebraska Governor Kay Orr.

Governor Orr talks about her position on the Board of Trustees of Hillsdale College (considered by many to be the best conservative college in the country). She tells about how the school started, their mission and where they stand today among higher learning institutions in the country.

They then discuss how she got her start in politics — rising from a door-to-door volunteer for Barry Goldwater, to Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Thone, to State Treasurer, and on to become the state’s first female Governor of Nebraska and the first Republican female Governor in the country.

She shares some of the perks of being Governor and her relationship and interaction with President Ronald Reagan. She also shares her thoughts on the current state of the Nebraska legislature, not to mention the Unicameral itself.

They conclude with information about the upcoming Free Market Forum in Omaha which will include Hillsdale President Larry Arnn and economist Art Laffer, among others.


Governor Orr also gave me a quick tour of her photo wall, which included…

Kay Orr - F4 Air National Guard

Perks of being Governor — you occasionally commute to work on an Air National Guard F4.


Kay Orr - Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher

Meeting Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Reagan.


Kay Orr - Hershiser Reagan Thatcher

Later on — at the final State Dinner of the Reagan Presidency — seated at the head table with Prime Minister Thatcher and between President Reagan…and recent World Series winner, Orel Hershiser.


Kay Orr - George H.W. Bush
With President George H.W. Bush.



You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.


  1. To 1990 says:

    Yeah I remember 1990, when Ben Nelson campaigned on getting rid of the nuclear dump in Boyd County, and then cost the state $150 million.
    Good times.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kind of tough for the party to keep with the times when people still think a 1 term governor from 25 years ago is relevant.

  3. The Grundle King says:

    Liberals minimizing the accomplishment of a woman who dared to leave the Democrat plantation.

    Anybody surprised?

  4. A 1 term governor from 25 years ago.... says:

    Was also an early endorser of Fischer, Sasse, Ricketts and Peterson. And all of them were underdogs when she backed them. So she’s relevant whether some anonymous commentator likes it or not.

  5. To 8:17 says:

    Tell me more about your annual Morrison-Exon dinner.
    And I sure hope that Bob Kerrey fellow moves back to Nebraska to run again…

  6. Sparkles says:

    The pic of Kay and George H.W. is appropriate.
    Both of them won elections promising “no new taxes”. Both of them then quickly set about to raising taxes.
    Where Orr and H.W. differ, is H.W. stepped in front of the klieg lights and was accountable for his actions.
    Not so with Gov. Orr. The entire Orr admin teleported into bizzarro world, denying in the face of irrefutable facts that she had indeed raised taxes. For well over a year Orr publicly maintained this bizarro world charade.
    To her credit, it later seemed apparent that Orr didn’t understand the tax reform she had championed. She was just doing what her benefactors asked of her.
    Kind of like the more recent fiasco of Gov D-D-Dave and his bobble bopping buddy Beau, (with an assist from Pete’s Platte Institute). All of whom took a public pummeling as true leaders in NE stepped up to run their ALEC crafted tax “reform” proposal out of town.
    (By the way, the same “tax reform” plan that has served Kansas and Louisiana so well)

    At the time, Gov Orr’s trip down the rabbit hole was a notably strange period of political theater.
    Of course, compared to the fact averse freak show that is the Republican party of today, Orr’s perverse behavior seems somehow less surreal.
    In a sense, I suppose you could say Orr’s reality-free brand of politics was ahead of her time.

  7. Sparkles says:

    The article notes –
    “how she (Orr) got her start in politics — rising from a door-to-door volunteer for Barry Goldwater..”

    How about that!
    Hillary Clinton was also an active Young Republican and a “Goldwater Girl”.
    She even had the straw cowboy hat with “AuH20” emblazoned in it.
    Whoda thunkit, Hillary and Kay, simpatico.

  8. The Grundle King says:

    So Sparkles, the worst things she did were to raise taxes and loosely associate with Benghazi Bungler? She should be your hero!

  9. Sparkles says:

    The article notes that the state dinner Ms. Orr attended was Pres Reagan’s last.
    Knowing what we now know of Reagan’s mental impairment, one would have to believe it is likely that Nancy’s astrologer that selected the date for this state dinner.

    NYT, May 4, 1988
    “WASHINGTON, May 3— President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are both deeply interested in astrology, the White House spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, said today, and two former White House officials said Mrs. Reagan’s concerns had influenced the scheduling of important events.
    A California astrologer said she had been consulted by the Reagans regarding key White House decisions,.. “

  10. To Sparkles says:

    I wonder if the President got “serviced” by an intern before the dinner.
    Oh, sorry, wrong President.
    Oh, and while Mrs. Reagan was looking out for her husband, that other future-President’s wife was busy “dabbling” in cattle futures.

    Oh, but you’re super cute with your anecdotes!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Go Kay Orr…proving once again what is old is old again. Who thinks that this is how the majority of voters go to the polls to pick their representative based upon what some former one term governor did? Plenty. Which is why so few vote.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You must remember it wasn’t that long ago that the GOP thought a serial womaizer (McCain) and a 3rd rate soccer mom (Palin) were fit to run the whole country.

  13. funny says:

    that any republicans today would say anything bad about Jack Kennedy. JFK was more conservative than Mitt Romney.

  14. TexasAnnie says:

    How ‘unseemly,’ Street Sweeper, that you had “technical difficulty” exactly when you were interviewing the former Governor about LB775! No bio about Kay Orr is complete without reviewing that policy decision. That’s Kay Orr’s real legacy!!! (And no, LB 250 did not ameliorate the damage done to Nebraska’s income tax code: the loss of tax justice!)

    • T.A.,
      I was waiting — WAITING — for you to pipe up on that.
      Alas, we were launching into that issue, and in the middle of it, I made a rookie mistake and let my memory card fill up.
      (Looking down in relative horror) I halted Governor Orr, and tried to reset, but there was no way for me, on the spot, to figure out where we were cut off.
      So I did the best I could.
      In the next post I will reset a few of her comments about that part of legislative term.
      Though I would note we didn’t really delve that deep.

  15. The Grundle King says:

    TA, did they ever catch the person (or people) who quite literally forced you to move to Nebraska? Transporting someone against their will is kidnapping, which is a serious offense.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Republicans can never make human greed seem altruistic. A small matter compared to the profound hypocrisy of Democrats who actively seek bigger government on the pretext that governing people isn’t controlling people but rather freeing them. Selling tyranny as freedom is breathtakingly two-faced.

    The self-avowed altruism of Democrats is belied by them calling women whores for being Republican and calling Blacks worse for being Conservative. That however is not nearly as dangerous as Democrats embracing fascism.

    Modern US government co-opts the insurance industry, health industry, AG industry, etc., while it imposes federal marriage laws, federal procreation and abortion laws, and racial laws to “correct” races to help society. Instead of yellow stars from Berlin, Washington DC issues each citizen a federal “color hyphen” for your race.

  17. Don Bacon says:

    Governor Orr is a wonderful fiscal and social conservative, and I appreciate she loves her country and state, and gets involved… she is willing to take risks for what she believes and does not shy from showing she’s a woman of faith. I value her character and courage, and thankful for her support.

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