The former four-term mayor of Elkhorn, the suburb annexed by Omaha in 2007, has filed to run for City Council.
Phil Klein is this year's first challenger to Franklin Thompson, who has represented the mostly west Omaha District 6 since 2001.
“I just thought it was time to get back in, because I see some things I'd like to see improved in our communities,” Klein said.
Klein's priorities are nuts-and-bolts government responsibilities: He'd like to take on crime, an area where he think his computer programming background can lend some expertise. He wants better snow removal. And he'd like to see parks get more attention.
“I will provide the steady leadership and real solutions to the challenges we face as a community,” Klein said. “That's what I did as mayor, and that's what I'll do as our new city councilman.”
Klein pointed out that he's the only candidate for City Council who has had experience as the CEO of a city.
The former city of Elkhorn is split between council Districts 5 and 6. Residents in the Elkhorn area represent less than 10 percent of the district Thompson and Klein will fight to represent.
Thompson has historically had low popularity in Elkhorn. In 2009, he lost just four precincts to his challenger, Walt Peffer. All four were in Elkhorn.
Thompson said Klein's entrance into the race won't change his approach. Thompson plans to run on his record.
He pointed to the coming Elkhorn makeover as an example of the leadership he's provided. That project will use tax-increment financing to upgrade the streets and sidewalks of traditional downtown Elkhorn.
“That whole initiative was spearheaded by me,” Thompson said.
Klein said many of the roughly 150 signatures he turned into the Douglas County election commissioner on Tuesday came from outside the Elkhorn area.
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