OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Colleen Brennan is the newest member of the Omaha City Council, replacing Rich Pahls, who moved on to the state legislature last week.
Some called for Brennan to not take the position after controversy surrounding a blog she wrote about race last summer amid the George Floyd protests.
Brennan continues to stand by her words, though she says she has apologized to the Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party's Black Caucus, Precious McKesson.
“I did apologize to Ms. McKesson for hurting people's feelings, however I stand by what I said because I really do believe we need to have that conversation," Brennan said.
McKesson told 3 News Now that she had reached out several times to Brennan and was only able to talk to her through a meeting set up by Councilmember Ben Gray. She says Brennan did apologize for hurt feelings, but she is not the one owed an apology.
"It seems like she's mentioning my name now and I don't like that, that she's mentioning my name, because I'm not the one that she should be apologizing to," McKesson said. "There's a full community that she impacted when she said words, and she needs to publicly come out."
Some in the community have questioned the legality of Brennan's appointment, saying Pahls should not have been able to vote for his successor as he was leaving office. The city attorney says the vote took place two weeks before Pahls resignation and is valid. Brennan says its a moot point.
“Take Senator Pahls out of the equation, I still would have been appointed," Brennan said. "I still would have gotten the majority of the votes.”
While there’s been a lot of talk proceeding her step into the role, Brennan was relatively quiet during her first day on the council. She did however join Gray and Councilmember Pete Festersen in voting against a resolution that would further efforts to police cannabis, a resolution that ultimately passed.
“I’m aware the people of color are disproportionately in prison for such offenses," Brennan said. "The only thing I can say, is I went with my conscious on that. And that's why I voted the way I did.”
Brennan says at this time she is focused on learning the ropes from her fellow council members. She plans to run to keep her seat during the spring elections.
I caught up with Councilmember Colleen Brennan after tonight's city council meeting. I asked her if she stands by the controversial blogpost she wrote last summer, and if she believes the Black community is owed an apology.— Jessika Eidson KMTV (@JessikaEidsonTV) January 13, 2021
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