A Democrat running for governor says work she has done in her community will translate to the Capitol.
Vanessa Ward says she brought community members together to stand up to crime. Then, she says, the focus turned outward.
“With a neighborhood that was suffering like mine, that means you have to go to businesses, banks, and other people who have resources and ask them to pour into this goal of trying to restore unity, and everybody bought in,” Ward tells Nebraska Radio Network.
People in her community approached her about running, saying she would inspire Nebraskans to come together.
“There’s such a growing dissatisfaction and disconnection with our government across the country, I just believe people are looking for leadership that’s saying, ‘Hey, we can do this together,'” Ward says. “At the same time, we want to strengthen the families of Nebraska.”
High property taxes, health care expenses, and education are all pressures that Ward says families face today.
“If we shut the door on education, or close it down or cause it to be hindered, that’s another pipeline for prison, because we’re not utilizing, we’re not pouring into the next generation to make sure that they have every opportunity afforded to them to become all they can be,” she says.
Vocational training is needed for students who are not college-bound, she says, so they can be self-sufficient.
One issue that many Nebraskans are looking for a solution to is high property taxes. Ward says she has heard about the issue from families across the state in rural, urban, and suburban areas.
“Where does this tax cut and these tax credits really benefit Nebraska? That would be my first priority, to make sure that I really understand that,” she explains, “but also to make sure I’m looking out for the average family.”
Ward says she would support an expansion of Medicaid, so that everybody has affordable health care.
“That’s my priority, but also looking at what does this hurt, how do we need to move this to make that happen with the least amount of pressure on the taxpayer,” she says. “I think that’s a dilemma. I really do.”
Traveling around the state, Ward says she realized those living in the mostly rural Third Congessional District feel isolated.
“That’s the only thing that really matters, that seems to, would be [Congressional] Districts One and Two,” she says. “And this is ironic, Lincoln says that they feel the disconnect, and the only thing that they feel is really getting all the attention is Omaha, so I’m feeling like, you need a leader.”
Ward says she is running to make a stand, even with the odds against her.
“Republican heavily strong – doesn’t matter. Democratic support not being at its best – doesn’t matter. Who doesn’t believe that I can do it really doesn’t matter,” she admits. “The important thing is do something, and in this country, in hopes to form a more perfect union, you gotta get in there.”
Ward faces State Senator Bob Krist and businessman Tyler Davis in the Democratic Primary.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [1:09]
This is one of a series of reports from Nebraska Radio Network profiling Primary Election candidates for governor and U.S. Senate who do not typically receive wide media or voter attention.