GRETNA, Neb. (KMTV) — Both candidates running for Gretna mayor have a few things in common. They both weren’t looking to be career politicians.
“It’s about service, this isn’t a career stepping stone for me. It’s not anything other than, my ambitions for Gretna, not for myself,” says Mike Evans.
“I never saw myself getting into an elected position. I’m more of a community organizer,” says Angie Lauritsen.
Lauritsen ran for and was elected to city council in 2016, after wanting to bring more representation to the council.
She now wants the top job of a town that is expected to grow over the next few decades.
“The next four years will really be vital for Gretna on how it looks in the next 20 years,” says Lauritsen.
While Gretna's population is around 5,000, Lauritsen says the surrounding SID’s dwarf that number, and the growth is already here.
The small business owner is looking to bring more jobs to the town.
“We are the perfect spot for being a corporate headquarters for somebody that is in both Omaha and Lincoln. They can pool from two different employee pools,” says Lauritsen.
One thing she believes would help? More apartment buildings for younger folks to move into.
“Apartments are also a great feeder program, kind of like football, why you have youth football. It feeds into your high school football. You need apartments that create that feeder program so people can come here and plant their roots and want to stay in Gretna,” says Lauritsen.
Evans is also looking to bring his business experience to the city.
“Some of the things people do want are more restaurants, quality of life and keep their taxes down," Evans said. "Those are some of things but I really do feel like my values line up real well with the city."
Evans, who’s currently on the planning board, says communicating better with the town and business community can take the city to the next level.
“You need to be a little bit of a cheerleader for your town. A lot of businesses want to be here, I think sometimes we need to be our best advocate and get that word out to people,” says Evans.
Lauritsen argues that political experience will allow her to jump into the job. Evans says his strength is his passion for his town, and its residents.
“I genuinely care about people. I’ve lived here a long time. Whether I’ve been in the bleachers cheering, a wedding clapping or at a funeral crying, this community means a lot to me,” says Evans.
Current Gretna Mayor Jim Timmerman elected not to run for a third term. He endorses Evans to take his job.