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Nebraska's longest serving state lawmaker, 86, is running for office—again

Former Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers
Former Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers

Nebraska's longest-serving state lawmaker is again running for election to represent North Omaha in the state legislature.

Ernie Chambers, 86, who held Nebraska's District 11 seat in the statehouse for 46 years, filed Tuesday to run against state Sen. Terrell McKinney, 33, who is nearing the end of his first term this session.

"My health is good, My mind is clear," Chambers told the Nebraska Examiner. "And the Legislature, unfortunately, seems to be on the road to becoming a monkey-see, monkey-do operation."

The octogenarian former state lawmaker was initially term-limited in 2009 after voters passed a 2000 constitutional amendment limiting Nebraska senators to two four-year consecutive terms – but included an amendment allowing people to run again after four years. He won reelection again in 2012 and served for eight more years until being term-limited for a second time in 2020.

Nebraska State Sen. Terrell McKinney currently represents District 11.
Nebraska State Sen. Terrell McKinney currently represents District 11.

During his time in the legislature, Chambers successfully brought a bill that abolished the state's death penalty in 2015, which was overturned by voters the following year. He also led legislative efforts to end corporal punishment in Nebraska public schools, protect wildlife and eliminate the state sales tax on groceries. The atheist former lawmaker even sued God in 2007 — trying to make the point that anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone.

Chambers will join McKinney and Calandra Cooper, a Metro Community College instructor in the District 11 race.

The three candidates will be narrowed down to two in Nebraska's May 14 primary election.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nebraska's longest serving state lawmaker, 86, is running for office