OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The city said farewell to three members of the Omaha City Council Tuesday.
“I think the three of you have such commitment, such belief in the City of Omaha,” said Councilmember Brinker Harding.
Council President Chris Jerram is leaving after serving 12 years, and deciding to not seek re-election this year.
“You shouldn’t overstay your welcome, that turnover is a good thing, fresh ideas are a good thing. And if more people who were in elected positions gave that example, we’d have a more vibrant democracy,” said Jerram.
Councilmember Ben Gray also served 12 years, but was beaten in the election earlier this month. He said he’d stay involved.
“Democracy is not a spectator sport, we need to be actively involved all the time but we also need to be thoughtful and respectful of one another,” said Gray.
Councilmember Colleen Brennan served one of the shortest stints in city council history, being appointed earlier this year. She also pledged to continue to be engaged.
Both Jerram and Gray pushed forward on a number of initiatives that are now law, that includes the landlord registry and anti-discrimination laws protecting the LGBTQ community.
“A lot of the time that we spent on this is a conviction that the city isn’t operating at its best unless all citizens in the city are given the equal opportunity to succeed and to thrive,” said Jerram.
While Jerram said turnover is good, Councilmember Vinny Palermo says their experience will be missed.
“Sometimes you think about politics and you’re like, woah people shouldn’t be there forever, we need new people in the seat. But truth be told when you lose the people that we’re losing today we have ground to make up,” said Palermo.