OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The Omaha City Council appointed Colleen Brennan to fill the District 5 vacancy being created by the departure of Rich Pahls for the Nebraska State Senate.
Brennan was appointed by a 4 to 2 vote on Tuesday. Council members Pahls, Chris Jerram, Vinny Palermo, Ben Gray and Pete Festersen voted for Brennan's appointment, while Aimee Melton and Brinker Harding voted against it.
Palermo said that he spoke to multiple candidates but in the end believed Brennan was the best for the job.
"She has a great story, great stories are what the city needs. We need people who will fight for us, those who are on the more regular end of the spectrum of getting to work," Palermo said.
Pahls said he voted for Brennan because she would put aside party affiliation as well as represent Omaha's women well.
Brennan, a marketing manager at Ritter Insurance, is a lifelong Omaha resident who has lived in District 5 for 20 years. District 5 is in the southern half of Omaha.
"I just want to help people. I’ve lived here for more than 20 years so I know this community very well, my kids have all gone to Millard schools. I’m very proud of everything this community represents and I just want to do everything I can to serve them," Brennan said.
More than a dozen people were in contention for the position. In her application, Brennan said she wanted to be an example of integrity and public service while putting the needs of others before her own. She said she wanted to demonstrate that politics didn't need to be partisan to be effective. Brennan said she wants to be a role model for her children.
"I have seven kids, four of my own, three step and our government is kind of out of control right now. People are so divided and so angry and I wanted to show them that government doesn’t have to be partisan and angry to be effective. I wanted to show that leadership can have integrity and we can be truthful and honest and I just want to be a good public servant," Brennan said.
Brennan said city council is all about the fundamentals of a community. To represent her neighbors the best she can in a non-partisan way, she's going to lend an open ear.
"My job is going to be to listen to people, figure out what their needs are and make sure their needs are met. My job is not to be a Democrat or Republican," Brennan said.
Brennan will be sworn in on January 12 and serve through June 2021.
Pahls has served on the city council since 2013. He won a seat in the Nebraska State Senate after defeating Tim Royers in November.