Terry Werner has always been socially liberal, aware of issues affecting the downtrodden. "I've been involved in a lot of community groups throughout the years that dealt with homelessness, lower incomes, social justice and I think these are an important part of a community", he adds. Werner introduced and pushed through the City Council's recent passage of a so-called "living wage" ordinance. That bill pushes employers who do business with the city of Lincoln to pay at least $8.80 an hour to its employees or risk losing city contracts.
But Werner has been involved in other social issues and brought them to the council floor. He's urged public discussion on the death penalty, arguing people are executed at 14th and Highway 2 in Lincoln, making it a local issue. And he stood in front of the County-City Building shortly after the U.S. attacked Al-Queda to denounce the Afghanistan bombings. That was unpopular in Lincoln but Werner believes he did the right thing. "I think its important that public officals take stands".
Werner has picked up criticism for his stances. Republicans targeted Werner's social views in radio ads that aired in the days before Werner's election to the council. And he's been a target since then, as well. "Terry, I think, is a well-meaning individual in his beliefs, I think that he is raising a lot of issues that have no place on the city council agenda" comments fellow council member Jon Camp.
But Werner promised to continue his efforts to push social change. "I think this is an important thing, it sets a standard", he commented of the living wage issue and adding he believes the community needs to set standards for itself that betters everyone.