Kenya Top Stories

Why Ruto met Republican Governor John Ricketts

Why Ruto met Republican Governor John Ricketts

By John Kamau, Editor, (

Deputy President William Ruto (pictured with John Ricketts) could be preparing himself to play the role of the opposition leader going by the people he is meeting.

Ruto, who is currently in the United States, met John Peter Ricketts, the 40th Governor of Nebraska.

Governor Ricketts, who was born on August 19, 1964, is an American politician and businessman serving as Nebraska chief since 2015. He is a member of the former US President Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

Ricketts is the son of Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade.

He is also, with other family members, a part owner of Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs.

 In 2006, he ran for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Ben Nelson, losing 64% to 36%.

He ran for the Nebraska governorship in 2014, narrowly winning a six-way Republican primary, and defeated Democratic Party nominee Chuck Hassebrook 57.1% to 39.2%.

He was reelected in 2018, winning by a similar margin as in 2014.

Ricketts was born in Nebraska City and is the oldest of four children of Joe Ricketts and Marlene (Volkmer) Ricketts.

The family later moved to Omaha.

His father founded First Omaha Securities in 1975, one of the first discount stockbrokers in the United States.

It prospered, changing its name to Ameritrade, going public in 1997, and changing its name to TD Ameritrade after acquiring TD Waterhouse in 2006.

Marlene was a teacher.

Ricketts and his siblings, TomLaura, and Todd, all attended Westside High School in Omaha, from which Ricketts graduated in 1982.

He attended the University of Chicago, receiving a BA in biology in 1986 and an MBA in marketing and finance in 1991.

After completing graduate school, Ricketts returned to Omaha. He worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for a year, then as a salesman for a Chicago environmental consultant.

 In 1993, he went to work for his father's business, initially in the call center for a few months, and subsequently appointed by his father to a number of executive positions, ultimately becoming the company's chief operating officer during his father's tenure as CEO.

In a 2006 report, he stated his net worth at between $45 million and $50 million.


In 1997, Ricketts married Susanne Shore. A native of Garden City, Kansas, Shore grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and earned a bachelor's degree in English and then an MBA from Oklahoma State University. After a stint working for the dean of students at the University of South Dakota, she came to Omaha to complete a one-year course in nursing at Creighton University.

 At the time of her marriage to Ricketts, she was working as a nurse at St. Joseph's Hospital in Omaha.

Ricketts criticized the impeachment of former US President, Donald Trump over his request that Ukraine start an investigation into his political rival, Joe Biden.

Ricketts said the impeachment proceedings were a "partisan impeachment parade" and praised the Senate for acquitting Trump.

In 2021, Ricketts opposed a proposal by President Joe Biden to preserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030, calling it a "radical climate agenda."

Before becoming governor, Ricketts supported an initiative to ban affirmative action in Nebraska, donating $15,000 to the group behind the effort.

 Upon being sworn in as governor, Ricketts appointed former attorney Manra Munn as the executive director of the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.

 In 2020, Munn was sued for failing to hire Latinos onto the commission.

Ruto met Ricketts and urged him to tap into the Kenyan market to meet Nebraska’s demands for quality coffee and tea. 

Speaking during a meeting with the governor, the DP noted that the state is a potential market for Kenyan tea and coffee.

” The State of Nebraska is home to the USA’s most innovative agricultural and livestock sectors. This presents significant opportunities for knowledge, partnership and technology transfer for Kenya,” Ruto said.

” In addition, it will provide surplus produce to earn farmers income. This is what we believe in; investing in people,” he added.

The DP noted that innovation, the adoption of modern technology and the latest scientific research can radically improve Kenya’s agricultural sector, guarantee food security and alleviate hunger.

The DP was accompanied by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, the head of the Presidential campaign secretariat Governor Josephat Nanok, MPs Susan Kihika and Alice Wahome, Economist David Ndii and Mama Rachel Ruto. 

Display Comments

Leave A Comment