Race for Omaha City Council District 6: Brinker Harding vs. Naomi Hattaway

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 19:33:23-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Councilmember Brinker Harding says he's delivered on his last campaign's promises, specifically on keeping taxes down and public safety.

"I think the last four years have been exceptional for the city of Omaha,” said Harding, who was elected in 2017.

Harding points to a new Elkhorn police station and the expansion of the city's co-responders unit, to aid police with mental health services.

He wants to do more.

"I think they do an incredible job but we can always do better. They want to do better, too. I think that's why we want to see an expansion of the co-responders or we want to see additional training,” said Harding.

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Harding also has prioritized basic city services like street expansion and repair. He's happy the voters passed the bond, and says they look to pass another one down the road to ensure healthy city streets.

"I think the city will definitely be in a much better place. I think it'll probably be put to the voters again to see if they want to continue that program," said Harding.

His opponent, Naomi Hattaway, wants to move beyond those basic city services.

"We like to rely on roads and recycling and the things that are essential, but we've been conditioned as voters to those being the only issues we talk about," said Hattaway.

Hattaway says her experience working in nonprofits gives her expertise in solving the city's affordable housing problem.

She says when knocking on doors, she hears about the need for more mental health services in the city.

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"To make sure that we're expanding and taking advantage of the mental health resources that we have and making sure Omahans know about them," said Hattaway.

She's also campaigning on more access to city government, specifically on overcoming language barriers. She says over 80 languages are spoken and represented in Omaha Public Schools.

"And yet access to city hall is currently prioritized if you speak English, so we have a lot of work around language access and fully welcoming and belonging the diverse thread of Omahans that live here," said Hattaway.

Harding, a Republican representing the conservative district, says he can work with anybody on the council.

"You have to be able to work with others, regardless of what their political persuasion is. We're trying to get the best result for the city of Omaha,” said Harding.

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While Hattaway, a Democrat, says Omahans care more about how councilmembers care for their constituents.

"There are unmet needs in this district and if we can look past the party lines and start talking about values and what they need from their city representative, then it shifts very quickly to, 'I'll vote for you,'” said Hattaway.

Harding won the primary over Hattaway with 61 percent of the vote.