Political Party: Republican
U.S. Army Veteran
Food Bank of Lincoln's BackPack Program, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Independent Business Association, and I am on the Board of Directors of El Centro de las Americas
My wife, Ramiel, and I have seven children with ages ranging from 34 to 12. Four of my children live in Lincoln and we also have ten grandchildren.
TIF has been an effective tool for the city to secure private investment and job creation. I support the continued use of TIF but believe that each individual project should be scrutinized on the merits for value to the neighborhood and community, need and return on investment.
How would you improve travel in the City?
I believe that in the future the South and East Beltway projects will greatly improve travel around the city while also spurring economic growth. However, the funding to keep up with road infrastructure improvements isn't always available and we should look to use more modern technology around the city as an alternative. Programs such as Green Light Lincoln which the Traffic Engineering Division recently began can help to greatly improve traffic flow around the city in a much more cost efficient manner. I do believe in continuing the city's work to improve problem intersections around the city and the priorities for these projects should be established based on community feedback and the potential to spur economic growth and create new jobs.
What is the biggest challenge you see facing the future of Lincoln and how would you plan to fix that?
The high tax climate in Nebraska and Lincoln is what I believe to be the biggest challenge in our future as our high tax rates drive people to look at and move to other places. I personally know young professionals who grew up in Lincoln, went to school here and moved away to Kansas City for their first job. After starting families these individuals wanted to return to Lincoln because of the great family environment our city has. However, after moving back and finding a job with the same income each of them took a 5% hit to their spending power because of our high tax climate. To spur economic growth and development and to attract new businesses and individuals to our community we need to address our high tax levels.
How do you plan to increase the overall tax base, to continue to provide city services?
I believe we can do several things simultaneously that will work to increase the tax base. For one City Hall must be a partner, not a roadblock, for economic growth by removing government barriers to growth and business. Making smart investments with our roads and infrastructure funding is also critical and we need to prioritize projects that have the potential to spur economic growth and the creation of new jobs. By working to improve business throughout the city and wise infrastructure investment we can increase the tax base through the benefits to existing businesses and the creation of new jobs which will attract more individuals to Lincoln.
Are you satisfied with the condition of the roads?
No, the city needs to continue to invest in our roads as they are critical to the success of the local economy.
With the population growing, what are you plans for affordable housing?
For the past three years I have worked on micro-homes as a way to create affordable housing alternatives for singles and couples who want to downsize. The growing trend across the country is to offer smaller homes, around 1,000 square feet or less, which creates more affordable choices. However, the biggest single thing that can create more affordable housing in Lincoln is providing more buildable lots in the city. Evidence of this can be found by looking at the recent revaluations as a significant portion of most of the revaluations is based on the lot value and not the value of the home. Providing more buildable lots throughout the city is the key to reversing the climb in housing prices we are experiencing.
What incentives does Lincoln have to offer young business professionals looking to move or stay here?
Lincoln has a thriving innovation culture and start-up community that is working to bring in young professionals that we should continue to support in any way we can. In addition, the continued redevelopment in and around downtown including projects such as the Telegraph District, the South Haymarket development and the completed development of the West Haymarket help make Lincoln an attractive place to work and live for young professionals.
Is 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?
Northwest Lincoln and specifically Air Park need help and have been neglected by the city for too long. The infrastructure work on NW 48th Street and recent opening of new businesses has helped and are a good start but the city has and continues to make investments in Northwest Lincoln. In addition, we cannot neglect our core neighborhoods and I believe that we could better use our Community Development Block Grant money to focus on both our core neighborhoods and the Air Park area.
Are you happy with the job Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler has done?
Mayor Beutler and I have had a continuing conversation about issues and challenges facing our city during my four years on the council. While we have sometimes disagreed on issues such as reducing property taxes and setting spending priorities I'm happy to have found common ground on other issues such as the recycling ordinance, clean energy busses and fast tracking the approval of the Lincoln Children's Zoo expansion.