Leirion Gaylor Baird

Leirion Gaylor Baird is a current member of the Lincoln City Council. She lives in the Near South neighborhood.

Political Party: Democrat

Previous occupation:

I began my career as a management consultant, helping Fortune 500 companies become more efficient. I served as Development Director for an AmeriCorps youth development program, worked as a city budget and policy analyst, and directed an innovative after-school and summer enrichment program designed to improve educational outcomes for children from low-income families. Prior to my election to the Lincoln City Council, I served for six years as a Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Commissioner.

Current community involvement:

I serve on the Lincoln Community Foundation Board of Directors, the Lincoln Public Schools Superintendent's Community Advisory Council, the University of Nebraska President's Advisory Council, and the Mourning Hope grief center Board of Trustees.

Past Community Involvement:

I have volunteered as a co-chair of Friendship Home's Keys of Hope campaign, and on the boards of Family Service, the Friends of the Pioneers Park Nature Center, and the Friends of the Lincoln Children's Museum.

Family

I live with my husband, Scott, and our three children - Ava (14), Turner (12), and Clio (8). Joyce "Grammy" Baird also lives in Lincoln.

Do you support more TIF projects?

I support our current approach to TIF projects, which is more restrained than other Nebraska cities. TIF is an economic development tool used by local governments to spur redevelopment and grow good paying jobs. TIF projects help the community by generating long-term increases in the overall property tax base.

How would you improve travel in the City?

We're repairing roads at a record pace. Last summer was named the "Summer of Progress"; for all the city streets we rehabbed. This summer, we're set to quadruple the number of residential streets repaired - a whopping 424 blocks. We've also expanded public transit, repaired sidewalks, and improved our trails network. Additionally, our city's Green Light Lincoln initiative will refine traffic signal timing to improve traffic flow.

What is the biggest challenge you see facing the future of Lincoln and how would you plan to fix that?

Keeping pace with our city's growth. This includes securing adequate water sources to meet the needs of a growing population, repairing and building out our infrastructure (such as roads and water mains), and ensuring our emergency responders have the resources and personnel they need to keep all of us safe no matter where we live in Lincoln.

How do you plan to increase the overall tax base, to continue to provide city services?

Lincoln is growing, and with that growth comes a growth in our tax base. New homes mean new tax revenue. In addition, sales tax revenues are based upon how vibrant an economy we have and how attractive our city is for visitors. Visitors bring outside dollars to our community, and that helps us prosper. We must continue to make Lincoln a great place to live and visit.

Are you satisfied with the condition of the roads?

No city can afford to be satisfied with the state of its roads. Roads require ongoing maintenance and repair, as they take wear and tear from automobile and truck traffic, as well as from Mother Nature. Many of Lincoln's roads have been rehabbed recently, and many others still are scheduled for repair. I will continue to strengthen our city by investing in this important part of our infrastructure.

With the population growing, what are you plans for affordable housing?

All neighborhoods are important when it comes to this issue. We should protect our existing stock of affordable housing as well as encourage the building of new affordable homes. I have supported the revised zoning rules that allow for more opportunities for new affordable housing.

What incentives does Lincoln have to offer young business professionals looking to move or stay here?

Jobs, jobs, and jobs. Lincoln has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. With many successful startups on the "Silicon Prairie", we offer a new generation opportunities to innovate and thrive. On top of that, we're improving the downtown area and Haymarket with nightlife and exciting events at our arena. We're making our city more vibrant and attractive to both new employers and a younger generation.

If there is one part of Lincoln that you feel is neglected, or doesn’t get the attention that it needs, to prosper and move forward?

We must always work to make sure every area of town is treated fairly so that everyone shares in Lincoln's prosperity.

Are you happy with the job Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler has done?

There's never been a better time to call Lincoln home. We've seen our growing city blossom with new jobs, better infrastructure, improved public safety, and a vibrant downtown area. The Mayor has done much to contribute to the success Lincoln is experiencing, as have the many public-private partnerships that have built out our city over the past decade.


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