Senator Bob Krist of Omaha criticized Governor Ricketts on Thursday for budget cuts that he says risk the well-being of the state’s most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly and disabled. "This is what happens when one of the richest and most powerful Nebraskans attempts to represent the poorest and the weakest," Krist said in remarks prepared for delivery at a town hall session in Norfolk. Krist is preparing to wage an independent third-party gubernatorial race challenging Ricketts in the 2018 general election. The nine-year state senator has changed his party registration from Republican to nonpartisan in advance of the contest. Last spring, Krist said, state senators fell three votes short of the support they needed to restore $32.4 million in funding that Ricketts had vetoed, most of which went to Medicaid service providers, including NorthStar Services, which hosted the town hall session. NorthStar relies on state funding to provide employment services for people with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome or fetal alcohol syndrome, as well as providing day services for the elderly, Krist said.