UPDATE: Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek Seeks Reelection

By: Megan Johnson Email
By: Megan Johnson Email
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Grand Island Mayor Jay Vavricek says he filed paperwork to run for a third term on Thursday, and two former mayors say holding the office a full-time job.

"I'm not looking backwards, I'm looking forward."

That's how Vavricek sums up the two-page news release that announces he'll seek office again. He says he plans to keep working with Hall County on projects, use the visioning task force to map out the city's future, and keep fighting for the Veterans Home to stay.

Vavricek says he's trying to build positively on the negative aspects of this last term, including a censure from the City Council and a drunk driving arrest that resulted in a reckless driving charge.

"While the last two budgets have been approved without a tax increase, we've got another budget looming that's obviously going to take a lot of work too, so unfinished business, but also the opportunity to serve for a community that I hopefully have demonstrated over my entire life I care a lot for," says Vavricek. "There's some blessings that occurred as I look at it from a standpoint that we know what to avoid, but also we can go ahead and build on those experiences positively and that's what I stand for."

Vavricek says being mayor is a full-time job. Two people who have also held that office agree.

"It's a job that requires quite a little bit of time, you don't do it for the money, you do it because you want to give back to the community," says Ken Gnadt, who was mayor from 1994-2002.

"You have to pay attention to the day-to-day, but you also need to work on planning ahead," says Margaret Hornady, who served as mayor from 2006-2010, between Vavricek's first and second terms.

Gnadt and Hornady say leading a city isn't just about sitting in City Council meetings.

"There's lots and lots of responsibilities - budget-wise, law enforcement, fire protection, you know, everything," says Gnadt,

Both say that regardless of who is elected, Grand Island will face unique challenges in the next four years.

"We are in our teen years because we were a small town for a long time, but now that we're 50,000, we're no longer a small town but we aren't a big city," says Hornady.

The former mayors say they will be interested to see who else decides to run, as non-incumbents have until March to file.

"This is a community that I've lived in, that I care about, I work very hard, and that's why I'm running for mayor," says Vavricek.


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