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Mayoral candidate profile: Jasmine Harris

Posted at 6:57 PM, Mar 26, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Jasmine Harris says she is running a people-powered campaign.

“I’m a firm believer that everyday people have the solutions to the challenges our city is facing,” said Harris.

She’s raising money through small-dollar donations and using her roughly 180 volunteers to make tens of thousands of voter contacts city-wide.

“Because people are getting energized. So it’s not just one subset of people in the politic world. It’s everyday people saying we want change and Jasmine is that person,” said Harris.

Harris believes her previous work has led up to her being ready for this moment, working to prevent substance abuse, and her day job directing policy and advocacy at RISE, a non-profit that helps those in the criminal justice system.

In that job, she says she’s gotten the administrative experience to immediately bring change to Omaha City Hall.

“I didn’t just start doing politics, or trying to create change in the community, I’ve been doing this,” said Harris.

One change would be to change the Citizen Review Board, which oversees police misconduct.

She’d make it completely independent from the mayor’s office and the Omaha Police Department.

“It’s completely removed from anyone to be able to sway what happens on that board,” said Harris.

The board would also have teeth, as Harris would allow them to subpoena and discipline officers.

“If you’re not hiding anything, there shouldn’t be any reason why you cannot operate under this kind of system,” said Harris.

Harris, a Democrat, tells 3 News Now she’s also committed to stop making street repair and trash a topic of conversation every election cycle.

To clean up the streets, she says she’d work to ensure every part of town from Elkhorn to North Omaha, has drivable streets.

“It’s about intentionally and where you start. It has to be equitable across the board and if one site gets done first, one day, we need to start from the other side,” said Harris. “So we need to ensure all the streets along the north and south, east corridor, are taken care of just like the other side of the city.”

She can also point to past Omaha politicians that blazed the trail for her to be in a position to potentially be the first black woman to lead Omaha.

“It’s just like me. Looking up to Miss Brenda Council. She ran back in 97, I was 17 years old, at the time. I didn’t think about running for mayor. I didn’t think about running for mayor until a couple of years ago, but I knew somebody that looked like me did it and it was possible,” said Harris.

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