District Two City Council Candidates Seek Votes

Franque Thompson

OMAHA (KPTM)- City Council candidates in district two are on the move, seeking votes, as the primary election draws nearer. Five candidates are competing for one position and each feels they have what it takes to move the district in the right direction. One candidate feels he's already doing that.

"They're starting to see things happen in North Omaha. They're starting to get involved in North Omaha. North Omaha is on the move and North Omaha has not seen this kind of growth, this kind of activity in this kind of building in a very long time," said Ben Gray, current Councilman of district two.

Gray says he hopes to continue the change he sees in district two. But four other candidates running against him said they haven't seen that change in their neighborhoods.

"The sense of community is eroding. And I also think that our sense of integrity at the leadership helm is eroding as well. And so Ii think that what I bring to the table is progressive new leadership," said candidate Bruce Hunter.

"It's important that the people who live here make the decisions on what's going to go on here. And those who keep trying to say well 'we're working for North Omaha, show us the commitment," said candidate Tariq Al-Amin.

The City Council hopefuls reach out to the community to find what residents believe the real issues are. One thing everyone agrees on--addressing the violence.

"Reducing the fear of crime. Reducing the idea that you're going to be the next victim. And we do that with prevention and intervention," said Al-Amin.

"Poor people tend to commit more crimes, poor people tend to lack in the government services area. So I think that we need an elected official that understands their needs and goes after trying to service them," said Hunter.

One way the candidates said they hope to meet those needs are more employment opportunities.

"We have individuals who are underemployed, individuals who need skill training for the new force of the 21st century and those have not been met," said candidate Dennis Womack.

"Our economy has been really bad in that district for literally decades. As a small business owner I will meet with all the small business owners and ask them what is the problem," said candidate Timothy Ashford.

Candidates said fixing the lack of education and jobs with the area's youth will help the district get back on track.

"We do have a summer youth employment training program, but I believe that that needs to be expanded to the year round youth services program so that the individuals that are not attending school or going to school on a part time basis, they can at least enter into the workforce on a positive note," said Womack.

"When you improve the number of black high school graduates unemployment goes down and the crime rate goes down. Because kids have an option then," said Ashford.

There is one thing the candidates said they all see eye-to-eye on.

"In order for there to be a real significant change in the community, the community, the neighborhoods, the residents need to realize that they have the power that they have and begin to utilize that power," said Gray.