Don't know what district you're in? Need to find your polling place? Go to www.votedouglascounty.com and fill in the “find your polling place” box.
* * * * *
For the past three years, the City Council seat representing northwest Omaha has been represented by a man who was never elected.
Chuck Sigerson resigned the seat in early 2010 after suffering a heart attack and stroke. He had won his third election in 2009 without opposition.
Following his resignation, the City Council interviewed five candidates to fill the seat and selected former Union Pacific executive Tom Mulligan.
Council members praised Mulligan for being open-minded and elected him council president in June 2011. Mulligan said he hoped to fix the city's streets and finalize a police contract.
Now, voters have a chance to weigh in.
The voter base has pretty much the same makeup it did in 2009. About 43 percent of registered voters in the area are registered Republicans, while 34 percent are registered Democrats.
With a mix of aging suburban developments and newer construction, the area has above-average income for the city. Candidates generally agreed that transportation and taxes are among the area's biggest issues.
With five hopefuls, it's one of the most contested of the council races. The two leading vote-getters after Tuesday will advance to the general election on May 14.
Business owner says he's the 'everyman'
Tim Lonergan is a familiar name to District 7 voters. Twelve years ago, he ran for its council seat and netted 45 percent of the vote.
In 2005, he tried again and lost.
In 2009, he decided to stay out of the race. But now he's back, trying to get back into public service.
He's always wanted to serve the community, he said. That's what led him to serve 21 years in the Coast Guard and Navy Reserve. He also served on the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors.
He's lived in the district for 20 years, and he knows many of the residents and the problems they face through the yard care company he runs.
“I work it every day in the summer, and then when it snows.”
Lonergan paints himself as the everyman in this council race. His opponents represent corporate executives and attorneys, he said, while he's just another guy running a small business.
He said he's looking forward to getting the city back on track. He wants to address the budget, he said, and get the city's contracts in order.
Earlier this month, he received a $25,000 contribution from Firefighters for Better Government. He has raised less than $27,000 for this election altogether.
“I've been trying to get the firefighters to support me for 13 years,” he said. “Finally, everything aligned this time that they could support me. Public safety is very important to me and my family, and I think it's very important to the City of Omaha.”
Attorney says she can find more cuts in city's budget
It's easy for Aimee Melton to explain why she threw her hat in the ring for a City Council seat: taxes.
Over the past few years, she's seen the city increase property taxes, increase the wheel tax and add a restaurant tax and a tobacco tax.
When she sat around with her friends and family, she said, she regularly complained about what officials were or weren't doing.
“I decided it was time to stop complaining and do something,” she said.
The former attorney with the Douglas County Attorney's Office would bring her background in law enforcement to the council, she said. The city needs to invest in more police officers and more training, but she said that will require cuts elsewhere in the budget.
She said she can find those cuts.
She also wants to find efficiencies in the City Planning Department, which she said is chasing away economic development.
If she wins election, Melton will stay on as managing partner of the Reagan, Melton & Delaney LLP law firm she took over in 2008.
She has experience juggling responsibilities. When she started law school, she was a single mother of two. To pull it off, she had to work two jobs.
“I can balance. I'm not sure if I always do it perfectly or well, but you do your best, try to show your kids that when you're faced with hard time, you deal with it and try to be successful,” she said.
Contact the writer: 402-444-3144, firstname.lastname@example.org