Three Seeking Open Seat for Lincoln District 46 | Regional government
Three candidates are running to replace Senator Adam Morfeld representing North Central Lincoln in the Legislative Assembly.
Morfeld, who was first elected to represent District 46 in 2014 and was re-elected unopposed in 2018, will step down from the Legislature due to term limits at the end of the year.
James Michael Bowers, Danielle Conrad and James Herrold are running to represent the district encompassing parts of North Central and Northeast Lincoln when the Legislative Assembly reconvenes in January.
Following the 2021 redistricting process, District 46 includes areas east of Interstate 180 and south of I-80, with the Cornhusker Highway running through the district as it extends to 84th street.
The district includes the City and East campuses of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the North Bottoms, Belmont and Havelock neighborhoods.
Voters will send two of the three candidates to the November general election.
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James Michael Bowers
Bowers said his experiences on the Lincoln City Council and in Lincoln Public Schools provided vivid examples of how politics affects the lives of everyday Nebraskas.
“I’ve seen how bad policy can hurt families and how good policy can lift families out of poverty, protect children and create a more stable community,” Bowers said.
Elected to city council in 2019, Bowers, a school social worker and therapist, said his work on the front lines gave him the prospect of championing District 46 in the Legislative Assembly.
A 31-year-old registered Democrat, Bowers said he served the city during the coronavirus pandemic and racial justice protests, saw the impact COVID-19 had on schools and survived a recall attempt .
Borough 46: James Michael Bowers
“I have stories and experiences that I can draw on to bring a touch to much of the work of the Legislative Assembly,” he said. “I think people are really surprised at what some of our Nebraska residents are going through.”
If elected, Bowers said his goal in the legislature would be to improve access to health care. In future years, Lincoln will have more senior residents than LPS students, requiring increased capacity and resources.
Bowers said lawmakers should also increase funding for local health departments across the state, expand mental health resources in schools and target any future tax relief to help working families.
Voters in the district told him they felt left out of the tax cuts enacted by the Legislative Assembly, Bowers said.
“We have to make sure that when the tax relief happens, it has to have an impact on working families,” he said.
Danielle Conrad served two terms as a state senator from District 46 before term limits forced her to resign in 2015.
She said her experience, track record of working to build consensus and understanding of legislative rules and process would make her a “day one leader” for the district and state as she seeks to return for a third term.
“It takes a lot of time to get up to speed and really forge those relationships that are necessary for sound policy making and for having stimulating debates and finding common solutions,” Conrad said.
Constituency 46: Danielle Conrad
The former ACLU of Nebraska executive director and mother of two said she decided to get into the race after watching the gubernatorial race unfold this year.
“I think in many ways it illustrates politics at its worst and what makes people so frustrated,” she said. “And I know that having a strong, independent, and experienced legislature can check the worst abuses of a governor’s agenda.”
Conrad, a 44-year-old registered Democrat, said she would focus on “kitchen table issues” such as paid family and medical leave, expanding child care options and improving health. quality of public education “from preschool to middle school”.
She said economic development should be boosted by increasing the labor force and affordable housing, and by ensuring that infrastructure developments are evenly distributed between urban and rural areas.
“I’m lucid about the challenges in our public life, but I’m still so optimistic,” Conrad said. “Each of us has a role to play.”
James Herrold said he wanted to give District 46 “a real choice in this election.”
The real estate agent and father of two said he had contrasting ideas from Conrad and Bowers and said there are more government-minded voters in the district than many realize.
“I don’t think District 46 has had a candidate who is a low-tax, smaller-government, free-market person running in multiple election cycles,” he said. “And I think I have a different view than the other candidates.”
Borough 46: James Herrold
Herrold, 36, who ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2019, said his top priority would be to cut taxes, reform the state’s tax structure and eliminate unnecessary licensing requirements professionals in Nebraska.
Growing up on a farm in Seward County, Herrold said he understands the role agriculture plays in the state’s economies, as well as the pressure property taxes put on producers.
A libertarian, Herrold said he also understands the needs of businesses in urban areas of the state and believes his voice can help bridge the urban-rural divide in the Legislature.
Herrold said he also thinks the legislature should do more to “strengthen the personal freedoms we’ve seen eroded over the past two years,” by reducing the power of health directors and preventing vaccines from being mandatory.
“I think people see the government going too far in the last two years and they want someone who is going to fight for their personal freedoms,” he said.
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