The YNT staff has contacted all the candidates running for a variety of local offices which will be on the Primary Election ballot on Tuesday, May 15.

They were all asked the same questions and allowed to answer how they see fit . . . with their own words, as long as or as short as they wanted. Those answers will run as we received them.

Each day this week, we will feature the candidates of a particular local race, so voters will be more informed when they go to cast their ballots next week.

Today, we will look at the race for Henderson City Council.

This race will be on the Primary ballot because the number of candidates is more than twice the number of seats up for election. In other words, there are three seats to be filled and there are eight candidates.

The top three vote-getters will advance to the General Election in November.

Brian Hiebner

Address: 1321 11th street

Current Occupation: Director of plant operations Henderson Health Care 21 years, grounds keeper Galaway Creek Golf Course past several years

Past work experience: 25 years in agriculture mostly livestock and maintenance

Other experiences / affiliations: served on city council 20- 25 years ago, served 22 years on the Henderson Fire and Rescue department, member of Bethesda Mennonite Church and Henderson Golf Association.

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for Henderson city council?

A: Grew up, lived and worked here all my life. Working at the largest employer in town I have experience and understand what it takes to create and work within a budget every year. Having contact with many out of town workers that commute to Henderson, I can poll them as to what would entice them to locate here.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: Having enough budget dollars to accomplish various infrastructure projects like replacement of sewer lines, water lines and streets. With potentially limited bonding ability every year, the budgeting process becomes critical to fund all city programs and functions.

Q: Do you feel the city’s finances are being properly spent?

A: It would appear the city has been fairly aggressive with projects in the past several years with streets, ballfields, the main street project and sewer lift stations. These are all viable projects that were necessary. Maintenance continues to be an issue that may need to be looked at a little harder during the budgeting process to maintain current improvements.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the city’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance or investment is needed?

A: City streets continue to be on the front burner and replacement needs to continue. Also the streets that have been replaced need to be monitored and repaired aggressively so to not fall into disrepair. Thus street maintenance becomes an important part of the city budgeting process.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? And if there is more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in that capacity?

A: Economic development could be more aggressive in finding building or vacant lots for a business to locate into or build on. The city needs to ensure there is enough budget dollars for the chamber to promote business opportunities and to help with planning where development should or should not go. The city leaders, the chamber and local developers need to possibly have a strategic planning session to discuss and plan for future needs or visions, a master plan of sorts.

Also good sidewalks to support healthy walking are needed as now most everyone is walking on the streets as the sidewalks are in disrepair. Walking on some of the city sidewalks is a safety hazard but walking on the streets is a traffic hazard.

City members also need to identify their assets, promote and ensure they are enhanced as needed. Examples would be parks, pool, golf course, downtown area. Other community promotion would include: churches, great school system, quality healthcare and the Heritage Park. Aesthetics of a community are very important when trying to attract residents and businesses into the area.

Q: Many towns are embarking on main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done and is being done in that arena in Henderson? And what projects would be good fits for your town?

A: Well if you haven’t seen our main street district, I encourage you to do so as it would appear the city has taken care of their core business district.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals (apartment buildings, transitional housing, etc.). Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? And should a city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: Affordable housing is always an issue in Henderson. There are vacant houses and lots in town that would have potential for duplexes, single family houses or apartments to help fill the void of lots to build on along with affordable rentals. The city could possibly help facilitate the tax base to incentivize this type of endeavor.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: I am running for city council as I have done this before 20-25 years ago and I felt it was time again to get involved with city affairs. Budget experience and job related experiences have prepared me to once again step forward to serve my community. I feel I have a no nonsense/common sense approach to solve issues and making sure city government is a help not a road block to community members and businesses. All important factors contributing to the health and welfare of a small rural community.

Specific objectives not really but areas of concern: city first impressions; clean well-kept yards, vacant dilapidated houses which could be sold and used for development, possible land acquisition for future housing, the continued need for quality day care, the lack of a community center which would serve all ages.

Jeb Mierau

Address: 1221 10th St., Henderson

Current Occupation: Ayars & Ayars, Inc., Director of Field Operations

Past Work Experience: JR Construction. Owner of a residential remodeling company

Other Experience / Affiliations: Current City Council Member having served since 2014.

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for Henderson City Council?

A: I feel I bring a unique perspective to the council, having grown up in Henderson, moving away for a time and now raising my family in Henderson. Adding to that unique perspective is having been self-employed for many years and now managing the field operations of a large commercial building firm.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: In the past we haven’t emphasized the city’s infrastructure as much as I think we should have. We are starting to see the problems this has led to with many streets that currently need replaced along with a water/sewer system that is needing some attention. We are replacing the south sewer lift station this summer which will bring this main hub to the standards of the others throughout town. The update to this station will greatly improve the serviceability and safety for employees doing this work.

Another continual challenge Henderson faces is the lack of existing housing and the lack of lots for new housing. Recently 18th St. was extended and Providence Addition was established by the city and that has been a great success, so we need to continue to look at ways to create more opportunity for new housing which will in turn open up more existing housing in the city and attract new residents.

Q: Do you feel the City’s finances are being properly spent?

A: I think the current council has done a good job of balancing the needs of the city along with being mindful of how we spend the tax payers’ money. In the time I’ve been on the council we have lowered the tax rate while also completing some of the projects that needed to be done. Providence Sub Division, Main St., 12th & 15th Streets along with the lift station this summer are some of the critical items that needed to be addressed.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the City’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance or investment is needed?

A: The City Council has to continue to work to improve the quality of our streets. We have many streets that are in need of repair and replacement and this has to be a focus of the Council. Developing a comprehensive plan for this work is essential. As a council we have been working to improve our streets while still being respectful of the taxpayers’ money.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? And if there is more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in the capacity?

A: The Henderson Chamber and the City Council have done a good job of trying to promote Henderson, including the possibility of adding a city mural that could be used in various ways to promote the town.

As I stated above, one of the main ways the city council can promote economic development is by addressing the lack of available housing.

Q: Many towns are embarking on main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done in that arena in Henderson? And what projects would be good fits for your town?

A: Having replaced Main St. in 2016 with the addition of green space, lighting, stereo capabilities, and above all handicap access to ALL businesses I think we have made a significant investment into the business district. I firmly believe our Main St. is right up there with any in the state.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals (apartment buildings, transitional housing, etc.) Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? And should a city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: As I stated above, housing in Henderson is a real struggle. The Providence Addition project is a great success story and I believe the city should be working to replicate that addition. All but one lot has already been sold and I think we should use this experience to benefit future projects.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: I am running for re-election to the Henderson City Council because of the unique perspective I bring to the Council as well as my desire to make this town the best possible place for others like myself to raise families. I think the unique perspective I bring would benefit the infrastructure and quality of life in general as I try to achieve several objectives. First and foremost, I believe we need to continue to improve our streets and infrastructure. Secondly, I would like to work towards promotion of young families in the area. By adding restrooms at the parks, enhancing our ballfields and our parks and our pool we can improve the quality of life for current residents and hopefully, attract young families to Henderson. It’s a great city to raise a family in, and I am always open to ideas that promote growth and improve the quality of this great town.

Larry Burton

Address: 1090 11th Street, Henderson

Current occupation: Owner of Burton Enterprises, garbage hauling company

Past work experience: Navy Yeoman, golf course superintendent, police officer, printer, recycling coordinator, landscaper, mayor and former city council member

Other experiences/affiliations: Semi-truck driver, roll-off driver, garbage truck driver, snow removal, Lions Club and Scout supporter, provider of equipment rental for city and utilities

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for Henderson City Council?

A: I have many years of experience as both laborer and business owner. This gives me insight on both employee and administration issues.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: Like many other communities, the two major challenges Henderson faces are economic development and housing. A close third would be infrastructure maintenance and improvements. I believe our city has done a good job dealing with these issues.

Q: Do you feel the city’s finances are being properly spent?

A: City debt is a concern to all. In order to maintain older sewer, water and street infrastructure, some debt is unavoidable and necessary. If elected to the council, I will do my part to keep debt to a minimum.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the city’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance or investment is needed?

A: The intended life of the majority of the streets in Henderson is past. Black top streets with concrete curbs are no longer viable. Henderson has rebuilt its major streets with a single pour street-curb combination. As time passes, I hope to see all side streets rebuilt using this single pour method.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? If there is more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in that capacity?

A: I believe that the current administration has been active in economic development. Down the road, I’m hoping new businesses would be encouraged to locate here. We do have some structures to accommodate them.

Q: Many towns are embarking upon main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done and is being done on that arena in Henderson? What projects would be good fits for your town?

A: Henderson has just finished a complete main street renovation. I believe it would not compare to any such project in the state.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals. Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? And should a city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: A new housing development is almost completely full and efforts are being made to begin another. Older houses in Henderson are being removed to make way for new homes and a new multi-million dollar nursing home is being built.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: I am running for city council because I believe my experience in dealing with both individuals and business owners can benefit our community. I had been a member of the council for 10 years previously and understand the issues and responsibilities of the position.

Matt Friesen

Address: 1141 17th Street

Current occupation: General Manager Mainstay Communications

Past work experience: I have 29 years of experience working at Mainstay Communications.

Other experiences/affiliations: I have experience as a Henderson Chamber member serving as past director, past President and current member of the Chamber. I served on City Council as past President and Council member.

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for Henderson city council?

A: With my past experience as a city council member I am familiar with city government and I am willing to listen to the concerns of the residents of Henderson working out solutions for the best results.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: I believe keeping up aging infrastructure such as water, sewer, and streets will be a challenge now and in the future. Along with housing and job creation in a rural community is a big challenge.

Q: Do you feel the city’s finances are being properly spent?

A: Yes I do. The council is doing what is required by the community to provide the services needed by each residence. With any budget you have to prioritize the projects. Some projects take priority over others according to each council member. I think the finances are being spent properly I may prioritize the projects differently.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the city’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance or investment is needed?

A: Some of the streets are in bad shape and need to be replaced. I do believe more maintenance is required. The streets are a large part of the budget and I believe we need to make sure the streets are maintained and also protected from undo pressure from overweight vehicles parking and driving on our streets.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? And if there is more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in that capacity?

A: Yes I do. Economic development in a rural community is difficult but Henderson has an active Chamber with our executive director working with regional organizations like York County Development Cooperative, and Rural Enterprise Assistance Project to get the message out to businesses that would like to relocate or start in Henderson. Henderson has the advantage of fiber to each business and home with a progressive business community an expanding Hospital and great school system. The city council’s role would be to find out the needs or provide incentives for a new or relocating business and work to provide them.

Q: Many towns are embarking on main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done and is being done in that arena in Henderson? And what projects would be good fits for your town?

A: The Henderson main street was upgraded with new street and lighting only a few years ago. One thing that could be done is to evaluate the City’s street lighting. New community projects would be a community center.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals (apartment buildings, transitional housing, etc.). Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? And should a city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: Henderson like other communities in Nebraska does face a housing shortage. Henderson has a housing development area that is being built out now and could use another area like it in the future. I think a city incentive program to develop building is important for the growth of Henderson.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: I am running for city council because there are positions open and I feel that I would be a good candidate with my past experience to fill a council position. The specific objective that I would like to accomplish is to listen to each concern of the residence find a solution to their concerns and consider how we can keep making Henderson a place where people would like to live.

Twila Fuller

Address: Henderson

Current occupation: Village clerk/treasurer

Past work experience: Office manager

Other experiences/affiliations: Bonding, TIF, League of Nebraska Municipalities, International Institute of Municipal Clerks, York County Development Corporation, Southeast Nebraska Development District.

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for Henderson city council?

A: I feel that my experience and knowledge of local government would be an asset for the city council.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: I feel that Henderson is challenged by affordable housing and employment opportunities, and the ability to address real property nuisances.

Q: Do you feel the city’s finances are being properly spent?

A: I do believe that the City funds are spent appropriately.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the city’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance or investment is needed?

A: A few of the streets in Henderson need to be resurfaced or paved, and I feel that a sand/salt option for icy streets should be explored in the future.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? And if there is more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in that capacity?

A: York Co. Development Corp. and Southeast Nebraska Development District are valuable sources for the city council to promote economic development.

Q: Many towns are embarking on main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done and is being done in that arena in Henderson? And what projects would be good fits for your town?

A: The infrastructure improvements made to Main Street are awesome, and now the vacant buildings need to be filled with new businesses.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals (apartment buildings, transitional housing, etc.). Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? And should a city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: Additional housing projects need to be pursued, as well as apartment complexes, and all options should be researched and considered.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: I am running for Henderson City Council to make a difference. I am passionate about Henderson, and want to make an already caring, thriving community an even better one for you and the future of the children.

David May

Address: 1310 N Main St Henderson

Current occupation: Owner/operator A-May-Zing Construction & Plumbing LLC

Past work experience/education: Bachelor’s Degree in Math Education/Computer Science, Coaching Endorsement. Taught 6-8 Math and Computers for 7 years. Worked various farm and ag related jobs in the surrounding area.

Other experiences/affiliations: Proud supporter of 4-H and FFA, served on Hamilton County Agricultural Society, served on Hamilton County 4-H Council. Served Hampton Fire and Rescue for 10 years. Currently serving Henderson Fire and Rescue, currently fire lieutenant and president, working on EMT license.

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the Henderson city council?

A: Serving on Henderson City Council gives me another opportunity to give back to the community. I live and work in the community and involved in lots of different aspects of the community and see things at different perspectives than others.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: There is a constant need for continued maintenance and upkeep that can be challenging to prioritize.

Q: Do you feel the city’s finances are being properly spent?

A: As I am not currently on the council, I haven’t seen enough detail to speak.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the city’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance is needed?

A: There are several blocks that need to be redone, I believe there is a schedule in place to get those taken care of. If elected to council I will review the schedule and help to adhere to it.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? And if there is more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in that capacity?

A: Henderson Chamber does a good job in attempting to promote development and the council plays a supporting role to the chamber. This relationship needs to continue to flourish.

Q: Many towns are embarking on main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done and is being done in that area in Henderson? And what projects would be a good fit for your town?

A: Henderson does a great job promoting downtown businesses, again this a cooperating effort with the Chamber. With the new main street, community days, rock the block, spirit of Christmas all being great opportunities for businesses.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals (apartment buildings, transitional housing, etc.) Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? And should the city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: There seems to be a pretty consistent turnover of houses for sale, they typically sell fairly quickly. Rental houses are a little more sparse as most are typically full. Henderson provides a great cost of living and a great place to live. New houses are being built fairly steady as well.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: I was asked by several people to run for city council. I have experiences in several different fields and work with a lot of different people in town. I think my history will allow me to bring diversity to the table for the city council and help make good decisions for the betterment of the community.

Jason Lewis

Address: 1240 10th St, Henderson

Current occupation: Farmer

Past work experience: Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Other experiences/affiliations: Member of Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Henderson Gallaway Creek Golf Course Board, and Henderson Coop Board. BS, MS in Horticulture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, PhD in Horticulture from Kansas State University

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the Henderson city council?

A: I feel I bring a unique voice to the council from growing up in Kearney, attending graduate school in Manhattan Kan., and then living and working in California. In addition to my ideas for the city, I want to listen to people in the community for what they want done on the city council. I know that I can work well with the other members of the council to make Henderson a great place to live and work.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: Continued growth in the community especially attracting business and industry to the city. Several local businesses will be closing as their owners reach retirement age. It is also essential that we are able to attract enough K-12 students to attend Heartland. Childcare has also been an on-going concern with the community.

Q: Do you feel the city’s finances are being properly spent?

A: Generally, I have no problem with the city’s spending. In the future the community will have to decide what to do with the police officer, I’d also like to see more street maintenance on the refinished streets.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the city’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance is needed?

A: Many of the streets in Henderson are in need of repair. I agree with the plan of replacing the streets as bonds are paid off. For all the streets I’d recommend more tar being applied to cracks in the fall.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? And if there is more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in that capacity?

A: I think the Henderson Chamber of Commerce has done a very good job at working to promote economic development in Henderson, and I’d continue to support their efforts. In addition, I think Henderson needs to look to become a bedroom community to attract more people to move to Henderson. To achieve this, the council needs to identify what other successful bedroom communities have to offer their residents and work to add those to the city.

Q: Many towns are embarking on main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done and is being done in that area in Henderson? And what projects would be a good fit for your town?

A: The recent main street project has made our main street very nice. We could always use more store fronts if those can be attracted. A community and/or senior center could really enhance our community.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals (apartment buildings, transitional housing, etc.) Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? And should the city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: Henderson’s housing market has been hot and selling prices have been going up, and the new subdivision in the northeast part of town has been filling in, indicating that another new development could be implemented. Henderson could use TIF financing to develop infrastructure which could be used to attract new developers to Henderson. The city could also utilize LB 840 to raise a half cent sales tax for economic development.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: I am invested in Henderson as I will have four kids in the school, two currently, and my wife works in town. I’m proud of Henderson and want to assist the community however I can. I want to pursue available grants and funding opportunities for community projects.

I will introduce a motion to allow city licensed, insured ATV, golf carts, etc., to be driven in town by licensed drivers.

I want to explore developing a community/senior center, possibly in conjunction with a golf course club house.

I want to explore constructing a paved walking path around the city.

I’d like to add restrooms closer to the ball fields.

Stan Friesen

Address: 1801 Front Street Henderson, NE 68371

Current Occupation: Farmer

Past Work Experience: Farming

Other Experiences/Affiliations: Served on various boards/committees at church; board member Galaway Creek Golf Course

Q: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for Henderson City Council?

A: I am not sure I am necessarily the best candidate but I would like to think I have a common sense approach that would be helpful in making decisions for our city.

Q: What particular challenges do you feel are faced by the City of Henderson at this time? In the future?

A: Maintaining city amenities such as the golf course, swimming pool, parks, recreation etc., by using our resources wisely.

Q: Do you feel the city’s finances are being properly spent?

A: Any spending decisions should be carefully reviewed and evaluated before taxpayer money is spent.

Q: How do you feel about the quality of the city’s streets? Do you feel more maintenance or investment is needed?

A: Some streets in Henderson are in excellent condition, while others need attention. Yearly maintenance needs to continue to be a priority.

Q: Do you feel enough is being done to promote economic development in Henderson? In addition, if there were more to be done, what would the city council’s role be in that capacity?

A: Having a vision, values and aspirations for the city of Henderson are important when looking at economic development. When exploring a vision, listening to the citizens’ concerns, wants and needs are uppermost.

Q: Many towns are embarking on main street programs to enhance their core business districts. Do you feel enough has been done and is being done in that arena in Henderson? In addition, what projects would be good fits for your town?

A: Henderson’s main street improvements over the last several years have been a wonderful contribution to the overall appearance of the city, creating a pleasing hometown feel.

Q: How do you feel about the housing situation in Henderson? Many communities in Nebraska are facing housing shortages, particularly in the area of rentals (apartment buildings, transitional housing, etc.). Do you feel Henderson has adequate housing? If more is needed, what types of housing projects should be pursued? In addition, should a city incentive program be used to promote development and construction?

A: I am aware that rental properties are in demand.

Q: Why are you running for Henderson City Council? Do you have specific objectives you would like to accomplish?

A: Henderson has been a home to me my entire life. I would like to be part of nurturing its growth and addressing its future needs. I believe my common sense approach will benefit our city. I would like to see the hospital and nursing home continue to grow. They are both a source of jobs for many and provide excellent healthcare to Henderson and surrounding communities.

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