Political Party: Republican
Assistant Planner – Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, Omaha
Project Coordinator – Nebraska Department of Roads, Lincoln
Urban Planner – Lancaster County Engineering Department, Lincoln
Near South Neighborhood Board – 2011 – Present
Near South Historic Home Tour Chairman – 2011 – Present
Cathedral of the Risen Christ Parish Council – 2015- Present
Cathedral Knights of Columbus – 2011 – Present
Preservation Association of Lincoln Board – 2013 – Present
Past community involvement:
Choir – Cathedral of the Risen Christ Church
Merit Badge Instructor – Boy Scout Troop 54
Mother, Ursula; Father, Thomas; Sister, Rayna: Brother-in-Law, Jon;
Girlfriend and love of my life, Maggie
Do you support more TIF projects?
I support the use of TIF when it meets the standard “if not for TIF, the project couldn’t happen.” TIF is a great tool to help with revitalization and redevelopment but we must make sure we use it properly and we do not overuse it. The City of Lincoln extending TIF projects beyond the original developer request to pay for frivolous or unnecessary projects or inappropriate blighting is not in the best interest of our taxpayers.
How would you improve travel in the City?
My experience as a city planner, and former employee of the Nebraska Department of Roads, the Lancaster County Engineer, and the Metro Area Planning Association (MAPA) gives me the unique experience we need on the council to address travel and transportation issues. We must look at every mode of transportation when developing our coordinated plan, which is what I did working for MAPA.
The automobile will be the central mode of transportation for the foreseeable future, and both good roads and efficient traffic flow patterns are key to improving transportation problems. We must begin and finish the south beltway and properly plan for the east beltway. We must also make sure that the timing of our traffic lights is appropriate for the traffic loads throughout different times of the day.
More and more of our younger generations and senior citizens are relying on public transportation. I do not believe the current plan addresses efficient transit needs properly and I would work to improve this service. I would continue to improve multi-modal transportation options, but in coordination with traditional modes of transportation.
What is the biggest challenge you see facing the future of Lincoln and how would you plan to fix/address that?
Our biggest challenge is to make sure that our families and homeowners are not hurt by higher taxes caused by drastic increases to property valuations. High taxes are hardest on our hardworking families, and those living on a fixed income the most. I will work with the mayor and fellow council members to put in place reductions to the levy rate to offset the increases caused by valuations.
We also need to make sure we use our tax dollars as efficiently as possible to provide the most bang for our buck. We must do a better job maintaining our streets, and part of this is making sure our budget prioritizes actual construction and maintenance.
How do you plan to increase the overall tax base, to continue to provide city services?
We start by not taxing our residents out of the city. In recent years, nearly every challenge has been met with a tax or fee increase. I believe an efficient government can provide better services for all of us. There are always ways to improve process in bureaucracy and to eliminate duplication of services where a lot of cost overruns occur. As your councilman, I will make sure we explore all options. Tax increases should be a last resort, not a first option.
Another area we need to address is diversity in the workforce. One thing that prevents Lincoln from attracting major corporations to our city is a lack of diversity in the workforce. We need to do a better job of keeping UNL grads in Lincoln to build our workforce and attract new employers. If elected, I would be the youngest member of the city council. I have strong connections to the generation that will be looking to find a city to work in and call home. When I graduated with my Masters in Urban Planning I had many options for employment around the country. I chose to come home, and I will work to make Lincoln a choice selection for Millennials and new graduates.
With the population of Lincoln growing, what are your plans for affordable housing?
I am an Urban Planner by trade and training, and am the only person with city planning experience in both public and private sectors running for city council, so I am uniquely qualified to address this issue. Over the last two and a half years, I have been designing and building affordable housing for entities such as NeighborWorks Lincoln and have seen the need for many different housing types such as micro homes, planned unit developments, infill, and adaptive reuse. But currently there are many city regulations and codes that prevent greener, more sustainable development and I would work to enable citizens to create their version of home that they need.
What incentives does Lincoln have to offer young business professionals looking to move or stay here?
I am a young professional born and raised here who chose to come back home to work and start a business. We have a very vibrant city that has developed many of the networking and entertainment options young professionals look for when making their decisions. I believe we must continue to work to attract new businesses and allow our current employers to grow and create more quality jobs. And as mentioned before, we must attract and promote greater diversity in our workforce. This will create greater opportunities here in Lincoln for young professionals. We must curb the trend of constant tax increases to make it easier for our young professionals to start a family, to own a home, or invest in our community.
Is there one part of Lincoln you feel is neglected, or doesn't get the attention that it needs, to prosper and move forward?
So far in this campaign I have knocked on nearly 10,000 doors in Lincoln, listening to your concerns and the farther away you get from downtown, the more citizens feel they have been left behind. Downtown and the Haymarket are the gateway to our city and it is great that a lot of effort and investment has been put into development and revitalization there.We need to invest in our neighborhoods and the rest of the city with the same energy that we have downtown. Too many people have talked to me about how their streets are in disrepair. Too many sidewalks that are not safe for our families to walk or bike down. Citizens outside of downtown continuously tell me that their needs are not being addressed. If elected, I am committed to making sure no corner of Lincoln is overlooked.
Are you happy with the job Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler has done?
I believe Mayor Beutler has done many great things for the City of Lincoln. I also believe that there are some things that could have been done differently or better. One of the issues we disagree on is tax policy. That said, I will be focused on our future and will always work with my fellow council members and our mayor on behalf of our citizens. I have always been able to bring people of diverse backgrounds together to find positive solutions to challenges. If I disagree with the mayor, I will do so in a civil and hopefully productive manner. The citizens deserve a city government that works for them even through disagreement.