Meet the Candidates: Grand Island City Council Ward One
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - There are now just seven days until the 2020 election and there are many local seats up for grabs in central Nebraska.
In just a few days either Jack Sheard or Michelle Fitzke will be taking over for the Grand Island City Council’s Ward One.
Jack Sheard moved to Grand Island 15 years ago and now wants to give back and help make the city a better place.
“I’m running for Grand Island because I want Grand Island to be a place my kids come and raise their families some day,” Sheard told Local4. “I love this community. This community has given so much to me, to my wife and given to my sons. I look at this as a opportunity to give back, to serve Grand Island and to say thank you for what you’ve given me.”
His main goals if elected would be to bring fiscal responsibility and to support first responders.
“We have to continue to take care of the people who take care of us,” Sheard said. “That’s something I’m pretty passionate about. When I talk to firefighters, police officers and those first responders, I know what they’re going through. They tell me this isn’t an easy job. Some of the things they see stick with them.”
With a long career in communications, he also hopes to bring more transparency between the city and its leaders.
“I want to foster communication and conversations with people,” Sheard said. “I know whatever topics we have come our way can be divisive, maybe run of the mill but not everyone gets to know about them. I want to have the conversations with the people who need to be at the table, but let everyone else know what’s going on as well.”
Michelle Fitzke is also in the running for the position. She’s no stranger to the city council, she served for four and a half years in Ward Five. She had to resign when she moved into a home located in a different ward, but says she did a lot she was proud of during her time in office.
“The four years that I served on the city council, we went into it with first of all working on a balanced budget,” Fitzke said. “In the past they’d always looked at just a one year balanced budget. When we did it, we looked at a five year plan. Probably the best thing I could say about being on city council is that we did away with the wheel tax.”
Fitzke now hopes to get back on the city council so she can continue to help make a difference in the city. Her main focuses if re-elected will be to continue to help balance the budget and also to support first responders.
“They’ve been challenged a lot this year with everything that’s going on in the nation and also with the COVID thing,” Fitzke said. “It’s going to be tough but we need to be sure we still provide them everything they need, whether that’s equipment, personnel or whatever their needs would be.”
She said her experience with handling the city’s money will come in handy as the city works to recover from losses due to the pandemic.
“With the whole COVID-19 thing it’s really changed what’s going on in our community,” she said. “We didn’t have the State Fair, we didn’t have Husker Harvest Days. Those kinds of things bring a lot of money to our city so that’s going to be a challenge.”
Election Day is on Nov. 3. While COVID-19 has made campaigning difficult for the candidates, they both said they’re feeling good about the results.
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