BEATRICE - The race for governor is heating up in a crowded field of Republican candidates.

On Tuesday night, Classic’s Bar and Grill in Beatrice was the site of a gubernatorial forum. All GOP hopefuls except Sen. Brett Lindstrom and UNL Regent Jim Pillen were in attendance.

A discussed issue all candidates agreed on was that of transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. Theresa Thibodaeu didn’t hold back on the topic.

“It’s their way of cheating and it absolutely is not allowed,” Thibodeau said. “If it comes into our state, I will fight it so hard, that if it comes into play at the university level, I don’t care if the NCAA won’t host sporting events here.”

Charles Herbster, an Angus farmer form Falls City, stated that he believes fixing things at the national level is important to Nebraska.

“Last year $1-trillion worth of drugs came across the border south of here…People say, ‘well, what does the border have to do with Nebraska?’ Wake up,” Herbster said. “Those drugs are coming into Nebraska. Talk to the sheriffs, the patrol people. We have to wake up and take back control of this country.”

Another topic of conversation was that of law enforcement. Lela McNinch is currently an adjunct professor of criminal justice at UNL. She vowed support and funding for law enforcement operations in Nebraska.

“We need to pay our law enforcement officers more,”  McNinch said. “I will never defund the police because that is absolute chaos for every city, the state, and the nation. We need our law enforcement officers.”

In the summer of 2020, a number of protests broke out across across the country in response to police violence. Michael Connely expressed the aggressive actions he’d take to those participating in such protests, including increasing the use of the State Patrol and National Guard.

“Every individual you give them one warning, they have 30 seconds to disperse. [If they don’t] You charge them, not only with whatever they’re doing that they’d be charged as an individual, but you also charge them with restarting a riot,” Connely said. “And they stay in jail, until all of that is finished. You don’t have any of that BS. We need to take these guys and strip them up by their thumbs.”

The last major talking point was abortion. All candidates were pro-life, but Brelan Ridenhouer encouraged adoption for those unable to begin a family.

“We have parents waiting for years to be able to adopt a child,” Ridenhouer said. “Each year in this state, 2,000 babies are murdered. That has to stop. Get these babies into families who want them.”

Southeast Nebraska will be the site of another Republican candidate forum in just a few days, with the next being Sunday in Sterling.