With just under three weeks to go until the city primaries, candidates are speaking out on their platforms and changes they want to see if they take office.
Four candidates for mayor attended a forum Wednesday put on by Leadership Lincoln. Democrat Jeff Kirkpatrick, Democrat Leirion Gaylor Baird, Non-partisan candidate Rene Solc, and Republican Cyndi Lamm participate in the public forum. Democrat Krystal Gabel did not participate.
When asked what their top priority would be if elected, Kirkpatrick said workforce development, “We need more workers. We need more skilled workers.”
Gaylor Baird picked public safety, including both fighting crime and emergency responses. “It’s one of the core obligations of city government,” Gaylor Baird said.
Lamm also named public safety as her top priority,” Which includes bringing up the proper staffing for our police department and looking at our roads.”
Solc said raising revenue would be his biggest concern, “It’s very nice to talk about all the stuff you can do, but how are you going to fund these things?”
When asked about the greatest opportunities for Lincoln in the next four years all candidates agreed along the lines of keeping up with younger generations and propelling local technology.
Gaylor Baird said Lincoln has a good chance of branding itself, saying “A brand that will help us compete to attract workers from across the county and retain our best talent.”
Solc agreed, saying Lincoln’s best interest is in retaining the younger generation.
Lamm said it’s catching up with technology, “What I’m talking about is 5G in all of Lincoln.”
Kirkpatrick said it’s making the best use of all college graduates, and the city’s investment in fiber optics. “Those are the engines of growth for our city,” Kirkpatrick said.
The candidates were also asked what Lincoln’s biggest challenge is.
Kirkpatrick said it’s keeping government as affordable as it is now. “We do a tremendous job as far as delivering basic governmental services: libraries, parks, police protection, fire crews,” Kirkpatrick said.
Solc gave an example of what he calls a lack of coordination between city departments. “We just put up a nice bike paths on Holdrege Street out there, and we forgot to put up lights,” Solc said.
Gaylor Baird said it’s managing the transition from a small city to a big one. “We need thoughtful leadership to help navigate that transformation and to try to protect the quality of life that we know and love in Lincoln,” Gaylor Baird said.