GERING, Neb. — Democratic gubernatorial nominee Sen. Carol Blood talked to rural Nebraskans about property taxes and how she believes Nebraskans have turned into “collateral damage.”

The current state senator stopped in Gering in the Nebraska Panhandle for a meet and greet at the Gering Civic Center on Friday evening.

According to Blood's campaign, this was her fifth time visiting the area.

Blood said at all of her events, she talks about what she refers to as "the big lie."

“What people need to know is that we have known for 25 years that the underlying cause of high property taxes is the fact that we have unfunded and underfunded mandates, and we don’t fully fund our schools,” Blood said. “Until we address those issues and stop passing bills where we pass down the cost to the county level, we will never have true property tax relief.” 

Blood also addressed how her opponent, Republican Jim Pillen, has refused her invites to debates.

“We have to be willing to talk in front of Nebraskans and show that we can think on our feet, that we know our stuff and how we’re going to do under pressure,” Blood said. “Your governor is going to be dealing with droughts, flooding, and pandemics. They need to be able to know what they’re doing.”

Pillen has refused to debate in both the primary and general election.

"Nebraskans deserve to hear us. They need to hear our answers so they can compare and contrast,” Blood said. “Quite frankly, I think it’s insulting to the voters of Nebraska if we’re unwilling to take the time to debate.”

Besides property taxes, Blood also addressed infrastructure and how it affects rural Nebraska.

“Infrastructure is really important when we are talking about this part of the state, because agriculture drives our economy, and farmers and ranchers need to be able to get from point A to point B in order to be competitive,” Blood said.

Blood also talked about how she feels the state has cut health care budgets.

“What’s been really troubling is we had a lot of health care facilities close down in rural Nebraska, and the state's been complicit in that,” Blood said. “I think it’s important that when we fully refund or help those services that the state is responsible for supporting, we have job loss and medical facilities closing down.”

According to Blood, in order to fix tax issues, there needs to be a change in the executive branch.

“We need to readdress that issue because what happens is the state keeps cutting, and cutting taxes is a good thing, but when you’re trying to budget without really having a plan, Nebraskans become the collateral damage.”