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Omaha City Council, District 3

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    Danny Begley
    (D)

  • Candidate picture

    Cammy Watkins
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What examples of police reform do you support?

In what specific ways will you increase the safety and availability of affordable housing in your community?

Is the new ORBT bus system working as well as expected? If not, what improvements need to be made?

Current Public Office, dates held NRD Board of Directors, 2019- present
Past Public Office, dates held NRD Board of Director 2019 - Present
Education Cathedral High School - 1987 Attended University Nebraska Omaha and Metropolitan Community College
Military experience None
Volunteer experience Special Olympics, Walk for Warmth, Blue Collar Boxing, Ancient Order of Hibernians; volunteer coach, Holy Cross Grade School; Open Door Mission food server; Salvation Army bell ringer
We should increase access to mental health and substance abuse programming in our community. We should carefully review police contracts and address any areas of concern related to standard operating procedures and ensure officers are well trained and have a bevy of options other than force to assist them in their duties. It is also important to focus on community policing and making sure we have adequate diversity within the police force.
Omaha has a shortage of low-income housing and we must increase the number of units and increase code enforcement to ensure all units are safe living environments. We should also work to ensure that we have more jobs that pay a living wage in our city. The primary problem isn’t that we have too few low-income units, rather, we don’t have enough jobs paying a living wage so that people aren't struggling to make ends meet, and I want to work to increase the number of living wage jobs in our city.
ORBT was a good place to begin improving our public transit system. However, additional investments in bus routes, shelters, and smart technology will be necessary to meet the needs of our community. I will advocate for additional investments that would expand routes and improve reliability in our public transportation system. I think we should also expand the cities other transportation options, enhance trails and protected bike lanes, and other multimodal transportation.
Education BA from Cornell College
Volunteer experience Habitat for Humanity of Omaha Global Village, Nebraska Alliance of Child Advocacy Centers, Spark CDI, OPS Inclusion Committee, Nonprofit Assn of the Midlands, and Council on Opportunity, Diversity and Equity
Similar to the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, OR and the STAR program in Colorado I would like to see Omaha work with local law enforcement and 911 dispatch to have social workers and other mental health professionals respond to mental health emergencies and other emergencies that do not require armed response. I also support reform plans which promote more of a prevention focus including investing more in community led safety initiatives and city design which limits the need for law enforcement intervention. Lastly, I think in order for us to address police reform we need to address the entire system of crime prevention. Too much of the focus is on punishment and not justice which glorifies solving violence with violence or fixing trauma with trauma. I would like the City of Omaha to research and study an anti-violence, trauma informed public safety plan that seeks to end violence in our city on all levels. This could save the lives of residents as well as officers.
There are numerous ways the City Council can support more equitable housing access. A few I want to consider: Set a basic standard and definition of affordable housing and give priority to capital development in new housing projects that meet these standards. Implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing recommendations to address neighborhood and development inequities. Support nonprofits involved in training and investing in small community developers for development and revitalization.
The ORBT bus system is working as best as its current design allows. However, only being accessible on Dodge St and with limited access to west Omaha. The line needs to be expanded to have North and South lines and also needs to reach further west for commuters and others who need access to mass transit across all areas of the city, as well as extend to the airport and Sarpy County. We also need the service to address the gaps in mobility and transportation for people with disabilities.