Lincoln City Council candidate profile: Thien Chu

Thien Chu
Thien Chu(Thien Chu)
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 2:34 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 20, 2023 at 4:01 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Four candidates are vying for the Lincoln City Council District 2 seat after member Richard McGinnis, the lone Republican on the council, declined to run for a second four-year term.

Republicans Tom Duden and Peter Katt will appear on the April 4 primary ballot alongside Bailey Feit and Thien Chu, both Democrats. District 2 encompasses areas of southeast and far south Lincoln.

Two candidates will advance to the May 2 general election.

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

Occupation: Junior High Math & Science Teacher

Public Service History: Lincoln Public Schools, Omaha Public Schools

Briefly explain why you’re running for Lincoln City Council. As a life-long learner, I believe education is the foundation of a strong and developing community; educated people make educated decisions. The city of Lincoln could do a lot more towards educating the general populace regarding issues that arise in the community, especially for underrepresented communities.

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 no experiences with handling budgets, but an extensive history in math and science should prove useful in learning about budget planning. . Ultimately, the job of distributing and approving a budget is not up to one person, and the opportunity to work with more experienced council members and government officials should promote the education and preparation of newer members.

What can be done by the city council to improve housing affordability? The topic of housing affordability has been discussed many times over and rather than rehash on common solutions of controlling rent and building more affordable houses, which are likely already being done, we can discuss less popular methods that might impact affordable housing. For instance, many vacant properties are being overlooked due to location, and we can incentivize occupation of those spaces by improving infrastructure of transportation or utilities.

What are your thoughts on using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for development? With my limited understanding, Tax Increment Financing can be a useful tool for developing blighted areas, but it should be used with extreme care and with scrutiny as to which projects receive the funding or negative consequences may arise. These consequences include gentrification due to increased property values and loss of resources for public and essential institutions, such as schools and libraries.

How should Lincoln work to attract new business and support and increase the number of small businesses? Realistically, if we want to support local small businesses, Lincoln needs to provide financial assistance to new business owners as well as make it harder to larger businesses and corporations to compete with them. In addition, the city can provide more educational resources for business owners to expand their knowledge of successful practices in the realm of product and service.

When should Lincoln’s COVID-19 health emergency expire? When we are no longer in a pandemic. This can be expedited by more education on public health, including promoting vaccinations and preventing the spread of misinformation.

Would you support an LGBTQ fairness ordinance ballot initiative? As someone who firmly believes that all humans deserve basic rights and protection against discrimination, ordinances, like the Fairness Ordinance that was rescinded in 2022, does very little for marginalized communities other than act as a symbol for them. There are federal laws in place that prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation and these ordinances tend to create a more divided community.

A handful of Nebraska municipalities have outlawed abortion by local ordinance. Would you support a such a move in Lincoln? Similar to the fairness ordinance, the idea of completely outlawing abortion is divisive. We are a community, and we must work together to address the concerns of all individuals who are affected by such an ordinance or lack thereof. Women deserve to make choices as well as undergo life-preserving medical procedures, but we cannot neglect the argument of whether a zygote constitutes a human life. There is no clear answer with respect to our morality.

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