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Committee whittles down field from 14 to 8 for vacancy on Douglas County Board

The district's voters won't get an official say
Posted at 7:07 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 20:07:49-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The committee to select the replacement of Mike Boyle on the Douglas County Board met on Wednesday and made crucial decisions on who will represent south Omaha and parts of downtown, nearly 84,000 people.

“Everything will be done in public, so everyone can see the process works,” said John Ewing, selection committee member.

Due to the death of longtime Omaha politician Mike Boyle, there is a vacancy on the Douglas County Board.

Three elected officials, Douglas County Clerk Dan Esch, County Attorney Don Kleine and County Treasurer John Ewing will pick the replacement. The main decision they made tonight was taking the field of candidates from 14 to eight.

The remaining candidates include:

  • Former State Senator Sara Howard
  • Former State Senator Patrick Venditte
  • OPS Boardmember Kimara Snipe
  • Omaha Police Officer Daniel Martin
  • Realtor Angel Starks
  • Former US Marshall to Nebraska Mark Martinez
  • Board Chair of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District Jim Thompson
  • Roger Garcia, who finished three votes behind Boyle for the job last year.

Esch said he’s seeking someone who has a history of service in the community, and is focusing on relevant issues to the county.

He says cutting the field down wasn’t easy.

“I mean I have met, and know to some degree, almost every person that applied,” said Esch. “I’m not complaining. I knew when I became the county clerk that this was a possibility.”

While state law requires the three elected officials to choose the candidate, Kleine doesn’t like the process.

“I think there may be a better way to do that from a representative government standpoint,” said Kleine.

He says he’ll work with the legislature to try and change Nebraska law, to require a special election instead.

“My thoughts are that the people of district one should make the decision on who their representative is,” said Kleine.

The candidates are set to be interviewed on Oct. 22, and the committee could pick a new commissioner on that very date, or they could wait a week, but they must pick a new commissioner by Oct. 28, due to state law.

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