Naomi’s campaign priorities include Public Health and Safety, Smart Growth, and Equity and Dignity. The campaign routinely invites input from District 6 constituents, as these platform priorities are ever-evolving.
Accessibility – There are many opportunities in Omaha for us to be more accessible, from the way that we design and redevelop the Riverfront, to adding bathrooms to all Omaha parks, to an audit and review of our local organizations providing services to ensure they are accessible. Accessibility means something different to everyone, but if we start from a common thread of decency and dignity in the way that all Omahans can access and enjoy our city, then we will have placed ourselves well.
Diversity + Arts – Omaha has a vast cultural wealth that we could greatly benefit from as a city, by recognizing and appreciating the diversity it offers our residents. Through affirmative marketing, intentionally seeking out broader representation on city committees and leaning on our nonprofits for a bolstering of services and entertainment, we could expand the beauty of Omaha’s diversity to be enjoyed and respected city-wide. With respect to the arts, we must ensure that we maintain our priority, in funding the arts from youth initiatives to cross-district offerings.
Community Services Programming and Grants (Step Up, PACE, etc.) – City leaders frequently point to the presence and success of the Step-Up and PACE programs. Step-Up Omaha was created in 2008 and has partnered with over 100 organizations and businesses to provide work experience, internships and job training during the summer months for youth ages 14-29. As a result, many have gone back to finish their high school education, complete college or found gainful employment. PACE stands for Police Athletics for Community Engagement and was started in 2005 by the Omaha Latino Peace Officers. The program is said to prevent “at-risk” and disadvantaged inner-city children from becoming involved in street gangs, crime, drug use and victimization by providing free access to sports and ACT prep classes. I would like to prioritize the addition of new programs that provide community services to expand on the success of Step-Up and PACE. I believe that through innovative funding ideas – such as a discretionary budget for each city council district, or a participatory budgeting concept – we can elevate the grant process and community services that we offer to support our community.
Government Accessibility – Our local government should be accessible to its constituents for engagement and participation, with greater transparency of the policy making process. I would like to see City Council remove accessibility barriers like language translation requirements, as ways for residents to engage with public hearing opportunities outside of Tuesday afternoon meetings. When elected, I will hold regular community meetings for constituents – hosted by our local small businesses – to request feedback on my campaign priorities, actions, voting history, as well as opportunities to provide input on the services constituents enjoy in their neighborhoods and places they work and play. Finally, we need to look at the Mayor’s Committees and the process by which folks are appointed to serve and the efficacy of the committees in effecting change and impact.
Education + Youth – In the state Blueprint Nebraska initiative, our governing bodies are tasked with bringing in 43,000 new young people to our state between the ages of 18-34, yet we’re not doing enough for the students and young people who are already here. We can create a pipeline and strong bench of civically-engaged young leaders across all party lines and affiliations. If we invest in resources and education that starts at home, and in community based organizations and programming, we can strengthen relationships between our youth and elders, and provide engagement opportunities with our school districts, civic engagement nonprofits, and our elected officials. Additionally, we must listen to our young people through listening sessions, work groups and community gatherings to understand what opportunities they wish to have in Omaha, and to ask them what belonging, worth and value look like for them – when choosing to stay in Omaha.
Thank you to our team of neighbors, policy experts, community leaders, elected officials, business development groups, organizers and academics for your help in pulling together the following ideas, thoughts and solutions. Additional campaign priorities: Public Health and Safety | Smart Growth.