Let me dial down the national, polarized political brouhaha for a moment and focus on a small-town mayoral race here in the Omaha Metro. Bellevue Mayor Rita Sanders has confirmed that she will not be seeking re-election in 2018. For those that live in Bellevue, there is a certain anticipation as to what that means for the future.
Bellevue City Councilman, Pat Shannon, has announced his candidacy, which carries with it worries of whether or not he will even be eligible to run considering he has an outstanding fine of just under $17,000 to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. For most Nebraskans, we clearly understand the shortfalls when it comes to “State Integrity Investigations” – vis-à-vis Ethics Enforcement and Executive Accountability – so is it a wonder why some in the Bellevue community might be worried about continuing status quo with regard to their elected officials? Anyone who reads my social media posts or this blog know that I am a huge proponent of “due process” under the law, but the fact remains that this mayoral candidate has some questionable baggage that Bellevue citizens will have to weigh and measure before casting their votes next year. While it may be difficult to control the integrity of elected officials at the national or even state levels, Mr. Shannon has a lot to overcome as he vies for a mayoral position.
Next, we have Rusty Hike, a small business owner who has long and well-established roots in the community and is recently known for his tenacity when it comes to holding Bellevue Public Schools accountable for their less-than-transparent, unilateral decision-making. Whether at city council meetings or working hard with the Chamber of Commerce to attract businesses to the Bellevue Community, he is most widely known for his commitment to small-town values and always having a “buy local first” mentality.
Importance of This Election
So why should this race matter? The answer is quite simple. Bellevue, when compared to other communities within the Omaha Metro, has become sort of “the land that time forgot.” Most passersby see the strip malls and town centers along Cornhusker and HWY 370, and think Bellevue is doing just fine. But to locals, that is a different story altogether. They are continuously reminded of just how aggressive the local government has not been when they look at the lack of progress on Fort Crook Road and throughout Olde Towne Bellevue. Those two areas have been quite stagnant in terms of attracting new businesses and young entrepreneurs, and local elected officials seem to have all but given up on trying to transform them into areas that can compete with other burgeoning communities throughout the metro.
This 2018 Mayoral Race comes down to two options: 1). maintaining status quo, or 2). looking at the future for growth and opportunity. I, for one, am tired of seeing varying echelons of feckless local governments maintain status quo at the expense of the taxpayers. Too many are rooted in, “well, that’s just how it’s always been”, rather than looking at new and creative ways to bolster their local economies that don’t revolve around increasing their already overtaxed constituents.
It is widely known political fact that if you want to affect change in the political direction of a nation, you start at the local level first. Based on the merits of his vision for economic growth, entrepreneurial tenacity, staunch business ethics, and integrity…
If you have any local elections you would like to see on this forum, or any political discussion for that matter, please email Joshua Lively at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Curtin, E. (2017, September 20). Shannon, Hike say they want to be Bellevue’s next mayor. Bellevue Leader. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/sarpy/bellevue/shannon-hike-say-they-want-to-be-bellevue-s-next/article_5f1ffaf4-5ad5-5e60-8b97-ab8547c469f8.html
 Nitcher, E. (2017, September 26). Bellevue mayor says she will not seek re-election. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/bellevue-mayor-says-she-will-not-seek-re-election/article_aada59be-a312-11e7-b873-1fcaeefda56e.html
 Nitcher, E. (2017, September 26). Bellevue City Councilman Pat Shannon is running for mayor. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/bellevue-city-councilman-pat-shannon-is-running-for-mayor/article_fd98c958-2fa5-509c-bd33-d4c85bb026c3.html
 Eugene Curtin / Leader Associate Editor. (2017, September 27). Fine could prevent Shannon mayoral run. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/sarpy/bellevue/fine-could-prevent-shannon-mayoral-run/article_6c495e23-8379-5afa-9f05-43d7dfea8136.html
 Moser, D. (2015, December 01). Nebraska gets D grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from https://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/11/09/18452/nebraska-gets-d-grade-2015-state-integrity-investigation
 Nitcher, E. (2017, July 22). Pat Shannon tells fellow Bellevue officials car wash ‘is none of your business’. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/pat-shannon-tells-fellow-bellevue-officials-car-wash-is-none/article_08b7e56e-f273-5f66-8089-8e325b99e0fb.html
 Nitcher, E. (2017, January 26). Bellevue Councilman Pat Shannon charged with a misdemeanor. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/bellevue-councilman-pat-shannon-charged-with-a-misdemeanor/article_78963bc1-434f-594d-ae2c-952916693cb7.html
 Donley, L. S. (2016, February 29). 16-R-106; Bellevue Public Schools; Leo Rusty Hike, Petitioner [Letter written February 29, 2016 to Leo Rusty Hike]. Retrieved September 28, 2017, from https://ago.nebraska.gov/sites/ago.nebraska.gov/files/doc/16-R-106%3B%20Bellevue%20Public%20Schools%3B%20Leo%20Rusty%20Hike%2C%20Petitioner.pdf