Celebrating the Volunteer Creators of the Douglas County Voters’ Guide

Heroes of the League of Women Voters

Developing and providing the League of Women Voters’ Guide is a “herculean task.” It takes many dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to produce the Guide in a very short time. Featured below are four volunteers who devoted over 300 hours developing the Guide for the 2018 Primary and General Elections. These volunteers are heroes of the League of Women Voters.

Kathy Dewell

This is the eighth Guide for Kathy who serves as editor of the League of Women Voters Greater Omaha (LWVGO) Douglas County Voters Guide that includes local political races.  Kathy believes the Guide is important so citizens make informed educated decisions on who they want to serve in political office, rather than relying on recommendations by parties, partisan groups, etc.  She emphasizes that lesser known races matter deeply to the health of our community. Kathy believes the Guide helps citizens understand what a candidate stands for and provides details on how he/she plan to carry out their beliefs.  Kathy works in IT for Mutual of Omaha, is married and the mother of two children ages, 17 & 19.

Rebecca Armstrong Langle

This is the 10th Voters’ Guide for Rebecca who has been helping LWVGO and the State League since 2012. Rebecca manages candidate information for the state offices and state legislature on the Vote411.org website for all Nebraskans. Rebecca is Vice President of Development at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, is an alumnus of the New Leaders Council and is nominated for the 2018 Emerging Non-Profit Leader. From her political science education and experience working for Senator Ben Nelson, Rebecca is interested in education of voters and equality issues and generously gives back to the community. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Ryan and dog, Delilah.  

Laura Torres Olivera

Laura translated the Voters’ Guide into Spanish. Laura came to Omaha from Mexico City, Mexico 10 years ago. Growing up, Laura had the opportunity to live in France and Canada. She speaks English, Spanish and French. She is married and has one son who is studying at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In Mexico, Laura worked for Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (National Bank for Foreign Trade). Her activities focused on the improvement of foreign investment in Mexico. Laura is passionate about the promotion of democracy, transparency and the betterment of representative forms of government.

Lilia Franciscony

Lilia served as the proofreader of the Spanish language guide.  Recently retired from Omaha Steaks as a Bilingual Benefits Specialist, and prior to that, Lilia retired from Mutual of Omaha as a translator.   Lilia came to the United States from Caracas Venezuela 35 years ago to attend graduate school at UNO. Lilia has one daughter who lives here in Omaha. Lilia enjoys the League because it provides a clear consistent structure of support to the community and provides her with options to donate as much or as little time as her schedule permits. Her experience of living in another country, has made Lilia want to embrace and defend democracy as a right and a duty.

The Making of the Voters’ Guide & Vote411.org

The Voters’ Guide has been an institution in Douglas County for the past 50 years and is appreciated throughout the state. The LWVGO Voters’ Guide covers statewide races as well as local races in Douglas County. The Douglas County Election Commission requests the paper guides on the first day of early voting because voters ask for and expect it. The other Nebraska Leagues in Lincoln, Hastings and Seward did not provide local candidate Guides in 2018 but promote utilization of Vote411.org website for its content on statewide races (Legislature, Governor, and many state offices.)

The 2018 paper Guide was printed for the Primary and General Elections. The Voters Guide team was exemplary in providing the Guide on the day ballots were mailed out to the public, (35 days prior to the election) which is challenging because of the late deadline established for candidates filing for office.  The Voters’ Guide for the Primary election covered 46 offices/districts. The 48-page general election Guide covered 59 races and districts and was translated into Spanish.

The Voters’ Guide team contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar. They are asked to submit their answers online in the www.vote411.org website.  The process of “making” the Guide is a detailed complicated undertaking, below is a condensed listing of the steps to making the Voters’ Guide:

  • Contact Election commission and Secretary of State to determine if any district boundaries have changed.  If boundaries have changed, purchase updated GIS files from the Commission and upload.
  • Obtain a list of candidates from the Election office, which does not always include the candidates email address.  Volunteers try to obtain missing email addresses.
  • Form questions for candidates by a committee to obtain their position on several key issues, these questions are inputted into vote411.org
  • Prepare Vote411.org with offices on the ballot set up, develop email templates for candidates
  • Send candidates a postcard to make them aware they will be receiving an email with details on how to participate in the Voters’ Guide.  Next, they receive an email invitation with a link to answer the candidate questions on vote411 website
  • Send reminder emails to candidates who do not respond
  • Format paper Voters’ Guide for printing

Funders of Vote411 & Voters Guide

Thanks to the Nebraska Civic Engagement Table for helping fund the Douglas County Voters Guide!

Ballot Initiative 427 – Medicaid Expansion: Get the Facts

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha!, host Geri Simon discusses the initiative to expand Medicaid that will appear on Nebraskans’ Nov. 6 ballot. Geri is joined by Mary Spurgeon, co-chair of the Healthcare Action team at Omaha Together One Community (OTOC).

View the discussion to learn more about Ballot Initiative #427 for the Expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska under the ACA.

Please note: The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha supports Medicaid expansion and voting for Ballot Initiative #427 on Nov. 6.

You can view more info about the initiative in our archives and from OTOC.

Voters’ Guide: Douglas County West Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Douglas County West Board of Education

Kelly Hinrichs (R):  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen (NP):  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr. (NP):  Education: BS — Northwest Missouri State University (2000),  MS — Clarkson College (2008),  MBA — University of Colorado (2020).  Volunteer experience: Board President — DC West Youth Sports,  Gretna Volunteer Fire Department — Assistant Chief (past)

Patrick McCarville (D):  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson (R):  No response received.

Amanda Wright (D):  No response received.

Douglas County West Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  I believe that the work the current board has undertaken in the past has laid ground work to further improve the community and the education our youth receive. They keep professional development opportunities for the staff at the forefront to assure the students of the best instruction possible. I would continue to strengthen both of these initiatives.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  DC West has already taken steps to be on the leading edge of technology for our students in the rapidly changing world of education and have received national attention for their success with robotics and the STEM programs offered to the youth. The district needs to maintain this momentum.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Kelly Hinrichs:  No response received.

Jamie Jorgensen:  Unable to reach candidate.

Bill Koile, Jr.:  Safety should be a priority, not only from a external perspective but also from an internal perspective.  Every student, staff member and support personnel  should feel safe coming to school. Programs to promote kindness/inclusiveness should continue and the relationship between DC West, the Valley Police Department and the Douglas County Sheriffs Office should be strengthened.

Patrick McCarville:  Unable to reach candidate.

Tristan C. Nelson:  No response received.

Amanda Wright:  No response received.

Voters’ Guide: Millard School Board

The MPS Board of Education creates policies and rules and helps the district implement our Strategic Plan.  This site includes current and archived board agendas, audio recordings of board meetings, upcoming schedule of meetings and policies & rules.  — from the board’s website

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Millard Board of Education

David M. Anderson (R):  Web Site: http://Facebook Page  “Dave Anderson for Millard School Board”.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard Schools Board of Education 2007 – Current.  Past Public Office, dates held: None. Education: MBA – University of Arizona BSBA – University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Board of Directors service with: Millard Board of Education, Millard Schools Foundation, Nebraska Association of School Boards, Omaha Childrens Museum, Goodwill Industries, Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, Omaha Chamber of Commerce Small Business

Stacy Jolley (D):  Web Site: http://www.stacyjolley.com/.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard Public Schools Board of Education, Feb 2018 – present.  Past Public Office, dates held: n/a.  Education: University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration;  Marketing major; Communications and Psychology minors;  Study abroad at Oxford University – Economics.  Military experience: n/a.  Volunteer experience: Weekly volunteer for MPS for 14 years.  MPS Foundation Pres., classroom volunteer, PTO Pres., District Cmtes, etc., Girl Scout Leader, Asst Cubmaster, YMCA bball coach, Harvey Oaks HOA Membership chair, FRIENDS/Stuttering conference organizer, etc.

Mike Kennedy (R):  Web Site: http://parentsformikekennedy.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Millard School Board 2003 to Present, City of Omaha Library Board 2015 to Present, City of Omaha Omaha Naming Committee 2014 to Present.  Past Public Office, dates held: Metro Community College Board, 1999 to 2002, Omaha Charter Review Committee 2014.  Education: University of Nebraska at Omaha Bachelors of Science Political Science, Creighton University School of Law Juris Doctorate.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Boy Scouts of America, Millard Public Schools, Various local charities.

Dulce Sherman  (D):  http://www.Sherman4MPSBoard.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Not currently.  Past Public Office, dates held: None.  Education: Graduate Certificate Program, Organization Development, Fielding Graduate Institute, Master of Arts degree, Management, Bellevue University, Bachelor of Science degree, Human Resources Management, Bellevue University.  Military experience: Not applicable.  Volunteer experience: Latino Center of the Midlands Board,  Women’s Fund Circles, Millard Foundation Board,  2018 Women’s Center for Advancement Honoree, Latinx Caucus Chair & Executive Board, NDP, Latino Rep & Executive Board, Douglas County, Healthcare Sector Board.

Millard Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

David M. Anderson:  I have served for 12 years up to this point.  I hope to utilize only a small portion of the levy override authority given to the board of education in the latest levy override election recently passed by Millard voters, while being able to maintain current diverse curriculum offerings.  I also hope to continue to grow community collaborations with other organizations who are in-line and can help support the mission of Millard Schools.  A example of this would be the opening of Boys/Girls Club.

Stacy Jolley:  We need to maximize every dollar in our budget in light of another $2M+ shortfall from the state. With this being a yearly event, we need to examine every program to make sure it passes a cost/benefit analysis. We have to preserve the amazing opportunities in our district while being mindful of our taxpayers’ needs. I also want to work on getting more parents into our middle schools. Increased parent engagement at that level will translate into higher scores and student engagement.

Mike Kennedy:  I have served on the Millard School Board for the past 16 years.  If reelected, I would like to continue to work on the district’s finances and improve our programs the make sure our children are college and/or career ready. The Board of Education has been a good steward of the district’s finances and we have improved our children’s test scores.  My experience on the Board of Education will help us in achieving these goals during the next 4 years.

Dulce Sherman:  I will host “town hall” discussions with all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, unions, board, PTO) to introduce myself, create two-way dialogue and listen to their feedback.  I will discuss and begin building a new creative funding strategy.  We have relied too much on our property taxes. With the changing demographics, it’s time we come up with new ideas, build partnerships with our legislature, and community to keep all funding in our public schools.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

David M. Anderson:  Technology is a tool for instruction and not the end all.  Technology allows for a cost efficient and effective way to teach curriculum and track educational outcomes.  Technology is used in all aspects of running the Millard Public schools and our students have embraced it throughout the experience in Millard.

Stacy Jolley:  Putting devices in kids’ hands is not the end, it’s the means. For kids w/o access to tech, this helps level the playing field and sends the learning home. Using district-provided devices, students take MAP tests 3x/year. With instant scores, teachers can address kids’ knowledge gaps in real time. New software creates an individualized lesson based on MAP scores, which allows every kid to get exactly what they need. It keeps kids from slipping through the cracks with gaps in their learning.

Mike Kennedy:  During my tenure on the Millard School Board we have dramatically improved our students access to technology and its use in our classrooms. Our “One to One” computer program has been successfully implemented at the Middle and High School level and we will now tackle the issue in the elementary schools.  All of our children has access to current technology and our curriculum has been adapted to reap the benefits that technology offers our students. Our teachers really do a great job.

Dulce Sherman:  Technology plays an important role in “access to education”.  However, we need to provide internet access to all students.   Social media is playing a bigger role in ease of communication.  We rely too much on social media at times by replacing the face to face communication.  Some student households may not have access to the internet, social media or a cell phone.  Therefore, we need to ensure all students are receiving the necessary communication.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ENSURE SAFETY OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS IN OUR SCHOOLS?

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

David M. Anderson:  Millard has focused and expended significant resources to address safety in our schools over the past 5 years. We have made significant improvements for safety thru physical and technology security measures.  We have worked in conjunction with law enforcement on all school building plans and have been through a variety of audits and reviews around those plans.  We have been commended and recognized as a leader around safety planning for schools.

Stacy Jolley:  We must focus on the social/emotional needs of our students. Years ago, kids came to school with fewer worries, less stress, and fewer adverse life events. In today’s world, many of our students struggle with anxiety, depression, and life upheaval. What used to be assumed, now must be taught. Teaching kindness, respect, and personal responsibility will go a long way toward making our schools safer, happier, and more productive. We have secure buildings; we must focus on reaching kids’ hearts.

Mike Kennedy:  Since the shooting at Millard South, our community and the Board of Education has made a strong commitment to school safety.  As a member of the school board, I supported and campaigned for the upgrades at our buildings to make our schools safer.  These included securing our entrances, adding cameras, adding doors to open classrooms and making sure our staff is properly trained in safety protocols. I will work to continue to review our safety plan and update it as necessary.

Dulce Sherman:  Early adolescent assessment would help us understand what is happening in a child’s life.  It may help identify children at risk and the ability to “proactively” intervene with the necessary Community Resources if the School is unable to provide the necessary resources like counseling.  However, keeping a pulse of student’s morale is important.  As a Human Resources leader, I am accustomed to holding organizational discussions to understand the pulse and creating remedies to address concerns.

What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Nebraska educational system?

David M. Anderson: I am not a proponent of Charter schools.  We have great private schools in Nebraska already thru religious affiliations.  I am a strong advocate for public education and do not want to see monies re-distributed away from public schools.  We are lucky in Nebraska as we have great public schools districts.  In Omaha, families can not make a bad decision as to where to send their children to a public school.  The research is mixed as to the effect of charter schools.  I do not believe we need them.

Stacy Jolley:  No tax dollars should be spent on charter schools. It is the government’s responsibility to educate ALL children. By extension, it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to educate ALL children. Therefore, no tax dollars should be spent on any school that can turn children away due to ability. Charter schools siphon off money meant for all and channel it to the chosen few. No tax dollars should be spent enriching a for-profit school. Data shows they don’t do better and they rob others of funding.

Mike Kennedy:  I am not a supporter of independent charter schools.  I believe school districts have the ability to create programs of excellence like we have in Millard.  If there are issues with a school district’s quality, it is up to the State of Nebraska and the community members to improve their schools.  Using the word “charter” in a school does not guarantee that a school will provide a quality education.

Dulce Sherman:  I believe we need to keep an open mind to new ideas.  Charter schools is one idea that has had some success in other States.  Nebraska doesn’t have any laws in place to govern Charter Schools.  Therefore, I do not support Charter schools.  I believe in keeping all funding in our Public Schools.

2018 General Election Candidate Forum: Unicameral, Legislative District 20

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha held a moderated candidate forum for the candidates for Nebraska state senate/Unicameral in legislative district 20. The candidates are Jackie Collett and John S. McCollister.

Find out more about the election in our Get Ready to Vote FAQ. You can watch all our candidate forums and see all of our 2018 elections info under “2018 ELECTIONS” on our home page. You can find out which Nebraska LD you live in by entering your address on the Nebraska Unicameral site.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any candidate for office or political party. LWVGO’s mission is to inform and empower voters.

Voters’ Guide: Gretna Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Candidates for Gretna Board of Education

Jennifer Bullington (R):  http://www.facebook.com/bullingtonforschoolboard.  Education: Bachelors Degree from Iowa State University, Masters Degree from Pacific Oaks College.  Military experience: Spouse of Air Force Veteran.  Volunteer experience: Board Member for the nonprofit Survivors Rising, Teaching Assistant for a Taekwondo kids class, Room Parent at Whitetail Creek Elementary School, Active Gretna Community Member

Jennifer Deitloff (NP):  Current Public Office, dates held: N/A.  Past Public Office, dates held: N/A.      Education: Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from University of Nebraska; Juris Doctorate from University of Nebraska College of Law.  Military experience: None.  Volunteer experience: Member — Child Saving Institute Guild Board since 2012 and started Kids 4 Kids of CSI — where kids plan a fundraising event supporting kids in foster care and the emergency shelter.  Association of Corporate Counsel programs committee co-chair.

David Gulizia (R):  No response received.

Mark Hauptman (R):  No response received.

Carsten Ruff (NP):  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright (R):  No response received.

Gretna Board of Education Candidates’ Responses

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Jennifer Bullington: First, I would love to be able to do my part in pursuing safety in school drop off and pick up procedures, including a street light at Hwy 370 & 186th St. As our district expands, we must continue to consider the safety of young and inexperienced drivers as well as the rush of traffic around those times. Second, I would love to gather as many members of the school district as possible to share their voices on our growing school district as we continue to learn the best way to expand.

Jennifer Deitloff: I would seek to understand both the work that the board has done to date and the individual perspectives of the other board members and the administration on strategic priorities for the district.  Thereafter, I would work collaboratively to ensure that we have appropriate crisis plans in place that properly address the risks facing our students, teachers and staff.  I would also take on a focused review of curriculum to identify areas to improve, enhance or modernize what we have today.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Jennifer Bullington: Technology has allowed our students to have a competitive edge and a head start on preengineering, pre-architecture, and pre-urban planning skills, just as a few examples, thusly better preparing them for higher education opportunities. The hands-on experience technology provides gives the kinesthetic and visual learners an opportunity to excel, making abstract concepts easier to understand & apply. We must use this opportunity to continue teaching internet safety as well.

Jennifer Deitloff: Not all of the technological tools that schools invest in actually promote learning and development for all students.  Schools should be disciplined and ask themselves whether they are investing in a technology because it is a popular trend among other schools or whether the technology will actually support the learning, participation and comprehension of all student users or does it instead reinforce social inequalities.  Schools need to be mindful of any barriers with the use of new technology

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Jennifer Bullington: Being an educator myself means I’ve been a part of safety and lockdown drills. In addition to the regular drills and the officers present frequently in our schools, we need to bring the community’s voice to the discussion. What more do parents and other invested parties want to see? I’ve been fascinated by Oklahoma’s bulletproof shelters they’ve installed in classrooms. Additionally, I do believe we need to continue research on the prevalence of the Gretna area human trafficking.

Jennifer Deitloff: School safety has never been more prevalent in public discourse than it is today.  Protecting safety of students, teachers and staff in our school systems is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive solution.  Working to identify a mix between seeking to control access to guns, identifying and addressing mental and/or emotional health issues, investing in school security technology, identifying bullying and negative peer behavior and ensuring proactive crisis management plans are a start.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

What role, if any, should charter schools have in the Nebraska educational system?

Jennifer Bullington:  No response received.

Jennifer Deitloff: Nebraska’s public schools consistently score rankings above the national average.  While I recognize the importance of parental choice, it is important to consider the potential negative impact to students and society.  Choice does not necessarily guarantee quality.

David Gulizia:  No response received.

Mark Hauptman:  No response received.

Carsten Ruff:  No response received.

Ann Sackett Wright: No response received.

Did You Know? Douglas County Voters Can Return Early Ballots via Anytime Dropboxes

In the run-up to the 2018 election, we’re posting quick facts about voting to help you get out and go vote, Omaha! 

Today’s fact: If you have an early-voting ballot and are a Douglas County voter, you can return that ballot by mail or drop it off at any of the following locations. You can do this any time between April 16 and May 14.

Learn more about the primary through our quick guide to voting.

Downtown Omaha
City/County Building
Located: Between 18th & 19th on Farnam, near sidewalk
1819 Farnam Street, Omaha

South Omaha
South Omaha Library
Located: Southwest corner of building
2808 Q Street, Omaha

North Omaha
Charles B. Washington Branch Library
Located: Southwest corner of building
2868 Ames Avenue, Omaha

Ralston
Ralston Police Department
Located: Southwest corner of building
7400 Main Street, Ralston

Northwest Omaha
Milton R. Abrahams Branch Library
Located: South of main entrance
5111 N 90th Street, Omaha

West Omaha 
Douglas County Election Commission
Located: South of main entrance
225 N 115th Street, Omaha
Drive-Up Box, Located: South side of median
Davenport Street between 114th & 115th, Omaha

Douglas County Engineer’s Office
Located: Near sidewalk by parking stalls
15505 W Maple Road, Omaha

Millard
Millard Public Schools Foundation
Located: Northwest corner of building
5225 South 159th Avenue, Omaha

Elkhorn
Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch Library
Located: Northeast corner of building
2100 Reading Plaza, Elkhorn

Voters’ Guide: Bennington Board of Education

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

Find your district by looking up your voter registration on the Nebraska Voter Check website.

Bennington Board of Education

Mark A. Byars (R):  http://markbyars.com.  Current Public Office, dates held: Bennington Board of Education, 2015-present.  Education: BS Business Administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; MBA, Northwestern University.  Volunteer experience: Various church and school activities, Boy Scouts, Bennington Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee.

Valerie J. Calderon (R):  No response received.

Heather Goertz (NP):  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff (R):  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham (R):  No response received.

If elected, what two things do you hope to have accomplished by the end of your first year?

Mark A. Byars:  Bennington’s growth presents challenges in long-range planning, in budgeting, and in communicating through rapid change.  First, I will work to ensure our strategic plan continues to deliver our students a high-quality education at good value to taxpayers, the first year – and every year – of my term.  Second, I will work to promote open, constructive communication with all stakeholders in the district to implement our best ideas and improve the community in which we learn and live.

Valerie J. Calderon:  No response received.

Heather Goertz:  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff:  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham:  No response received.

How can schools use technology to create better equity and educational outcomes?

Mark A. Byars:   A school board plays an important leadership role in creating a culture of safety by implementing practical policies that can be followed and fairly administered.  Threats can be prevented with a collaborative culture that encourages students to treat others with dignity and respect.  The board should emphasize preparedness planning and equip staff with quality training to expertly address threats in progress.  Facility enhancements that fit an educational environment should also be implemented.

Valerie J. Calderon:  No response received.

Heather Goertz:  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff:  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham:  No response received.

What can be done to ensure the safety of students and teachers in our schools?

Mark A. Byars:  The key role of technology in education is to teach our kids how to critically evaluate the wealth of information at their fingertips and use it constructively to improve their lives and their community.  Technology also offers a cost-efficient means to expand learning beyond the classroom and deliver continuing education to our topnotch teachers.  Most importantly, students can use technology for personalized learning, exploring topics unique to their interests in support of their goals.

Valerie J. Calderon:  No response received.

Heather Goertz:  No response received.

Bob Tingelhoff:  No response received.

Matthew E.D. Wickham:  No response received.

College Voting 101

The League of Women Voters of Metro Columbus (Ohio) put together the following short video on how to register and vote, specifically speaking to college students. Check it out!

Note: The websites in the video are specific to Ohio, but you can register to vote in Nebraska here (as long as you have a valid NE DL/ID): www.nebraska.gov/apps-sos-voter-registration. Or find out more about registering in your home state at vote.org.

Why Don’t More Americans Vote?

WNYC Studios’ The Takeaway published a worthwhile listen—Why Don’t More Americans Vote?

This 45-minute podcast takes a comprehensive look at increasing voter turnout, from face-to-face contact, start voting habits young and policies like Election Day Registration.

Listen via WNYC Studios’ website at wnycstudios.org/story/why-dont-more-americans-vote.