LINCOLN, Neb. — A former state senator has been named chief lobbyist for the University of Nebraska system.

University President Hank Bounds announced Wednesday that Heath Mello has been appointed associate vice president of university of affairs and director of state relations. The Omaha Democrat replaces Ron Withem — another former state senator — who’d been chief lobbyist for 20 years.

Mello represented District 5 for eight years, leaving the Legislature in January because of term limits. In May he lost the race to become Omaha mayor, beaten by incumbent Jean Stothert (STAH’-thurt).

Mello earned a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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