Lincoln City Council candidate profile: Elina Newman

Elina Newman
Elina Newman(Elina Newman)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 12:45 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 at 3:29 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Two candidates are on the April 4 primary ballot to represent Lincoln City Council District 3, which includes south central and southwest Lincoln. Both Elina Newman, who doesn’t identify with a party, and Justin Carlson, a Democrat, will both advance to the May 2 general election.

Michelle Suarez was appointed in January to fill the remainder of the term left vacant by now State Sen. Jane Raybould.

10/11 NOW sent a questionnaire to all candidates and we did not edit responses. Read Elina Newman’s profile below and view other candidate profiles here.

Occupation: Educator, Healthcare Professional, Small Business Owner

Public Service History: My entire work history has been in public service. My goal in everything I do is to ensure that people are better today than yesterday. I want to inspire individuals to make informed choices and to think critically about “what if’s.” I have also served on a few boards: Vice President and Director of Membership Services for the Pharmacy Technician Educator’s Council (PTEC) and as a pharmacy technician member for the Nebraska Pharmacists Association (NPA). Currently, I serve as the Vice President of my neighborhood association at Salt Valley View Neighborhood, a steering team member of the Lincoln/Lancaster County Welcome Plan for Immigrants and Refugees, and am involved in the resettlement efforts of individuals coming to the US for a better life for themselves and their families.

Briefly explain why you’re running for Lincoln City Council. I am running for office because I see it as an opportunity to serve this community in another way. I have a unique outlook on policies, procedures, and government, in general, due to my life experiences. I am also taking every opportunity that America offers to be involved. My goal is to ensure that people’s rights are protected, they are heard, and they are active participants in the decision-making process of this city.

As a city council member, you’ll be tasked with approving a city budget. Explain any experience you have handling budgets. What are your priorities when it comes to budget negotiations and how do you achieve them? I have maintained programmatic, small business, and campaign budgets. I believe in fiduciary responsibility. Each expense item should have a clear line budget item in the budget, and it should be readily available, easy to access, and easy to understand for anyone who wants to look at it. Right now, it is very cumbersome to navigate and hard to understand. The city needs to take a close look at needs versus wants. Once our needs are taken care of, we can then investigate wants. For many wants, we can explore grants rather than use taxpayer money. Sometimes, the city works directly against its wants in some policies, which is frustrating. It is not “my priorities” but things my constituents have mentioned as I talk with them.

What can be done by the city council to improve housing affordability? What is Omaha doing to make its housing market more affordable? Why does a house in Lincoln cost $30,000 to $50,000 more? We need to remove as much red tape as possible because it drives up the cost of housing. We need housing in all parts of town at various price points because home ownership is a goal for most people. We need to make every effort to encourage positive incentives for first-time homebuyers and discounts for various energy-saving options people choose. Finally, the city is building a lot of apartment complexes. My constituents want to know why the city is not pursing homes in the same manner.

What are your thoughts on using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for development? Everything I have read has mixed the benefits versus the drawbacks. As a result, I also have mixed opinions on this as I do not fully understand the premise behind TIF. My concern is how this impacts taxes for people living in this city, where taxes are already high. Another concern is how a city can put money forward on a project when there is no money for things we need (i.e., mental health crisis, overall tax relief, roads). On the development side, the city could potentially lose revenue in an area that could be used for development anyway. In an attempt to make an area better, the city may claim an immanent domain. It can also lead to favoritism in selecting certain developers. On the flip side, this may seem attractive in areas that need revitalization.

How should Lincoln work to attract new business and support and increase the number of small businesses? Lincoln has a lot of red tape for businesses. In some areas, it is easier for businesses to go elsewhere. As a small business owner, my business can be done from my home, but for many other businesses, this is not possible. I encourage the city to explore grants as it does for any other purpose. Is there a resource specifically for small businesses? Can a person easily navigate that space and get all the needed information? I would also encourage the city to think about small businesses whenever it makes its decisions. The impact on small businesses is often an afterthought, even though they contribute more to the economy’s growth than their corporate counterparts. One of the ways to approach this is to ask small business owners for their input.

When should Lincoln’s COVID-19 health emergency expire? The emergency should expire, yes. The state’s emergency has been over for a while. We have the tools and the resources at this point to be as well off as possible. At this point, we need to learn how to maintain our position and help people start the healing process of the last 2.5 years. The mental health crisis needs our attention right now, as well as economic growth.

Would you support an LGBTQ fairness ordinance ballot initiative? Yes, I would support an LGBTQ fairness ordinance ballot initiative. I am a firm believer in letting people speak and voting on issues.

A handful of Nebraska municipalities have outlawed abortion by local ordinance. Would you support a such a move in Lincoln? I would like to provide one of many possible scenarios to answer this question. A woman finds out she is pregnant, but the pregnancy is in the fallopian tube. What are her choices? If the state outlaws the procedure, does she risk her life knowing that neither she nor the baby can survive, or does she break the law and terminate the pregnancy? That being said, I do not believe in “outlawing” it, but I do believe in limiting it to only situations where the mom’s life is in danger.

Latest News

Latest News