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Omaha City Council District 6


Brinker Harding

Party: Republican

Dwite Pedersen

Party: Republican


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[CONTACT CONNECTIONS] Information about making contact with the candidate.

Brinker Harding

Contacted by constituent.
2/28/17, 1:20pm, Phone message
3/8/17, 1:00pm, Email
3/13/17, 4:20pm, Phone message
3/17/17, 4:24 pm, MailChimp stating 3/21 deadline
3/19/17, 5:00pm, Email
3/22/17, 2:15pm, Email
3/27/17, 2:15pm, Email
3/27/17,Eve., Facebook message
3/28/17, 3:00pm, another FB site
4/5/17, mailed brochure and access code
4/15/17, 12:11pm, left phone message with 4/18 requested deadline
4/17/17, 10:44pm, reminder email
ANSWERS SUBMITTED April 19, 2017, 2:58 p.m.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[BIOGRAPHICAL] Please include biographical information, e.g. family members, affiliations such as church and/or professional groups, employment, etc. you consider important for voters to know. You may also reference your website.

Brinker Harding

I am married to Rebecca Harding (17 years) a co-owner and founding partner of TACKarchitects, an Omaha architectural firm. They have two incredible daughters – Elizabeth (14) and Grace (11). A fourth generation Nebraskan and Omahan, I am passionate about working to ensure that Omaha will be a great place for your family and mine to live, work and grow.

I feel it is very important to give back to the community that has been good to me and my family. I currently serve as Chairman of the Omaha Planning Board. I also serve on the board of directors for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF- Heartland Chapter), Midwest Swimming and Swim Omaha. I am also a nationally certified official through USA Swimming, and volunteer at local, regional and national age group swim meets.

Whether working as Mayor Daub's Chief of Staff, or as Chairman of the City of Omaha's Charter Review Commission in 2013, city issues have always been important to me.

I am a member of Christ The King parish.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[MOTIVATION/QUALIFICATIONS - CITY] A. List three (3) immediate needs you want to address in this office. B. List three (3) long-range planning goals you would envision for the city. C. What makes you the right person to address these needs and goals?

Brinker Harding

As I go door to door from the east bank of the Papio to the west bank of the Elkhorn River I have been able to listen and know the issues that are so important to the taxpayers of District 6. Their concerns are much like mine:

1) Public Safety
2) Taxes & Economic Development
3) Basic City Services- including streets (improving and maintaining) & Garbage/Recycling

These are the cornerstones to my campaign, and they all impact the other as it relates to the long-term planning goals to improve our city. We must have safe streets and neighborhoods in order to provide a foundation and attract interest in order for existing enterprises to grow and expand here, as well as attract others to invest in Omaha. We must provide competitive economic conditions and fight to reduce taxes without giving up on the level of services we provide our citizens fro basic city services. We must maintain AND improve our streets. We must work to find real solutions to garbage, recycling and yard waste services.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[PERSONAL STORY] Please briefly describe a situation where you had to stand alone for what you thought was right when the momentum was pushing the other way. For example you may want to discuss when your personal views didn’t agree with your peers, an authority in your life, a donor, a lobbyist, etc. What was the result?

Brinker Harding

While serving on the Planning Board there was an issue that I had a fundamental difference of opinion with the Planning Department's recommendation, as well as the other members of the Board. When it came time for the vote I was the only one that did not vote in favor of the action. However, as important as it was to vote my conscience based upon my investigation and subsequent conclusion of the matter, it was just as important to have the public dialog and input from fellow board members, the Planning Department and the citizens that spoke to both sides of the issue.

This situation exemplifies the manner in which I would serve on Omaha's City Council. I will always investigate and understand an issue. I will encourage and seek the input of others. I will make a decision that I believe is in the best interests of the city/constituents.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[CONSTITUENTS ISSUES] If elected to this office, what will be your guiding philosophy in dealing with conflict between your thinking and your constituents’ views? A. Will you vote your conscience even when a majority of your constituents disagree with you? B. How will you measure the voice of your constituents? C. When you can’t make up your mind, to whom will you go for advice? D. Describe your intended methods of availability to constituents.

Brinker Harding

I believe the answer to this question is much like the previous question and answer. I will come to my decisions after investigating and understanding an issue. I will encourage and seek the input of others. I will be available to not only District 6, but all of Omaha.

I also plan on communicating with District 6 through social media, newsletters and "town hall" meetings.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT] As a resident of the city, list any volunteerism, activism, or committees/commissions where you have served the city.

Brinker Harding

Omaha Planning Board- Current Chairman
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (Heartland Chapter)- Current Board Member
Midwest Swimming- Current Board of Directors
Swim Omaha- Current Board of Directors
Omaha's Charter Review Commission (2013)- Chairman

A partial list of past experiences include:
MAPA
CWS, Inc.
Project Harmony Service Guild
Metro Community College Foundation

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[CRIME] Describe the recommendations you picture for decreasing gang violence, managing traffic property crimes, and identifying “white collar” crime.

Brinker Harding

I believe we must provide our law enforcement officers with the tools they need to keep us safe and fight crime. As Omaha grows we must make sure we have enough officers to meet the demands of covering a larger area and more citizens. The announcement of adding a fifth precinct will also go a long way to provide public safety for West Omaha and Elkhorn.

Although it is mostly a state issue, I will support and advocate for laws and punishments that will help prevent crime and keep us safe.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[TAX RELIEF/CONTRACTS] As always, property tax is an issue, especially when the county changes assessed property values. What can the city do to cut expenses and therefore provide some relief? How will/do you assure that contract work is performed according to standards as a way to save “redo” expenses? For example, some have suggested that potholes are a result of paying the lowest bidder and getting the least quality work.

Brinker Harding

I will work to cut city spending so that we can reduce the tax burden on our citizens. To address increases to property taxes caused by dramatically higher valuations, I would look to reduce the city's mil levy, thereby not taking advantage of any windfall resulting in the increased valuation.

When it comes to the work done by city contractors, I will always work to hold them accountable. We cannot accept substandard work.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[IMMIGRATION-CITY] Though commonly considered a federal issue, what responsibility do you see the city holding concerning undocumented immigrants? What is your view on sanctuary cities?

Brinker Harding

Omaha is not, and should not be a Sanctuary city. I support the city's current position that we should work with ICE whenever possible.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[CITY SERVICES] Detail the potential value and/or limitations of the idea of consolidating city employee health plans.

Brinker Harding

Because various employee groups negotiate their own contracts, including health care benefits, complete consolidation may not be possible. If it will save the city money, and if we can get the employee groups to agree to the consolidation, I would support this move.

Omaha Fire currently administers their own health care plan, and to this point it has worked out well for both the employees and the city. This may be a case where consolidation is not the best option.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[TIF] Some see TIF (Tax Increment Financing) serving economic development by giving new business locations a “break” on paying taxes to the city by paying gradually over time. In your opinion, how and when should TIF be used? Is there an overall amount that you think should be the limit for TIF for the city?

Brinker Harding

Omaha has been a good steward of using Tax Increment Financing (TIF). The Community Development Law, which was adopted by the Legislature, calls out that a city of the Metropolitan Class (which Omaha is), Primary Class or First Class cannot designate more than 35% of the city as blighted (TIF eligible). Omaha currently is at 19%.

Although we are well under the allowed 35%, we still must be diligent in our analysis of what projects can go forward using TIF; what projects would not be economically feasible without the use of this tool.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[PUBLIC/PRIVATE] Discuss what you would do to assure transparency and accountability for entities in public and private partnerships.

Brinker Harding

The public's business is just that...public. I applaud the current administration for its work to bring more transparency to the quasi-governmental body of MECA.

Public/private partnerships can, and have been, important in the development of our city. I will work to improve and leverage the city's relationship with the great charitable foundations and philanthropic groups to further grow our community.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[ABORTION-LEGAL] Would you define yourself as pro-life or pro-choice? Under what circumstances should abortion be legal?

Brinker Harding

I am Pro-Life.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[“MARRIAGE”-O] Should city taxpayers pay the benefit costs associated with same sex spouses? Why or why not? Do you support the city’s equal employment ordinance? What is your understanding of the ordinance?

Brinker Harding

Health insurance benefits are already offered to all married same-sex spouses of city employees, and I support the enforcement of this ordinance.

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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[ANYTHING ELSE?] Declare anything else you want voters to know about you.

Brinker Harding

I am motivated by public service and giving back to the community. Taking my experiences in the public sector (Chief of Staff to the Mayor & Chairman of the Omaha Planning Board) and adding to that my private sector experience (17 years as a broker/adviser at Colliers International) I believe I am uniquely qualified to serve as the next City Council representative from District 6.

I am energized and inspired to take on the role of your next City Council representative. I look forward to the opportunity to serve District 6 and all of Omaha.

I would appreciate your support and vote on May 9th!

Thank you,

Brinker

Dwite Pedersen

Candidate has not submitted an answer.

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