Don Groesser is seeking his seventh term as Ralston’s mayor.
This election will be the first since 1996 he’ll have opposition as Austyn Valla, a 2012 Ralston High School graduate, is also running.
Groesser, who filed Jan. 27, said he is excited about campaigning.
“It’s important to have people ask me questions and it’s informative for them and me to see how I am doing, what I can fix and what I could change,” Groesser said.
There were several factors that pushed Groesser to seek re-election.
“The number one thing is the Hinge Project and how important that project is to our community,” Groesser said.
Groesser said he thought Ralston would be farther along on the Hinge Project than where it is now.
“My goal was to have quite a bit of it started, so if I didn’t want to run again the project would still be working,” Groesser said.
LaDonna Johnson, a former piano teacher, gifted the city $7.5 million, which also weighed into Groesser’s decision to seek re-election.
He said Johnson told him on her deathbed that she trusted he would make sure the money would be utilized to accomplish the goals of the Hinge Project.
“I feel a huge responsibility to make sure that goes correctly and gets used wisely,” Groesser said.
Grosser said he also wants to follow through on the things in Ralston that he started.
He ran in 2012 to get Ralston Arena kicked off and in 2016 to make sure the arena would succeed.
“I just didn’t want it to lie out there and now that it’s going very well it’s not the top priority anymore,” Groesser said.
“It’s the Hinge Project that is a top priority and we can make a huge change to our city and we have an opportunity to make a difference with all this money and development.”
Groesser said council members asked him to run again.
Council members Maureen Konwinski, Ben Pries and Kevin Fideline are all seeking re-election for their respective wards this year.
“The chemistry of a council is important to the success of the city,” Groesser said.
Groesser pointed to City Administrator Rick Hoppe as another factor he weighed into his decision and said he looks forward to working with him.
“He brings such valuable assets with him from Lincoln and the Legislature and has great insight into the state,” Groesser said.
He said one day it will be time to quit and find a successor for the mayor position, but that time is not now.
Groesser had a heart attack in 2017, but credits his work for keeping him going.
“I enjoy working,” he said. “I can’t sit around and eat bonbons on the couch and working is keeping me healthy.”