Mayoral Candidate Heath Mello spoke at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Thursday to share his vision for, what he calls, the Omaha of the future with students.
Mello coined the phrase “Omaha of the future” to characterize the opportunity to build and develop a more unified and innovative city.
“We don’t have a very connected city,” Mello said. “We have to have a mayor who can unify people across the city to really start to solve that problem. It’s not going to be easy… we have to have someone whose got the ability to bring different opinions, even different political persuasions together.”
In addition to building the Omaha of the future, Mello’s children motivated him to run for mayor.
“I have a two-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son,” Mello said. “I want to help shape the city for the next 20 years.”
Mello currently represents District 5, South Omaha and Midtown in the Nebraska Leg-islature. He serves as the chairmen of the appropriations committee, which helps regulate government money, according to his website.
UNO students and Field Interns for the Mello Campaign Meghan Morse and Jonathan Rentería attended the event in support of their candidate.
“I think it (politics) is especially important at a local level,” Morse said, “because it affects us more directly.”
Across the country young people between 18 and 35, have the lowest voter turn out for local elections, according to the Knight Foundation.
Mello encouraged students to get involved in the democratic process by thinking about and working towards the type of city they want to build.
“Right now there is a 37-year-old mayoral candidate in front of you, asking you to consider this (Omaha) your next opportunity,” Mello said.
Rentería said that he is passionate about keeping talented and innovative individuals in the city and having a mayor that encourages people to stay in Omaha.
“If our public leaders don’t find a way to not only engage people, but truly give them a seat at the table to help make the change that they want to see, they can go somewhere else,” Mello said. “Other cities are competing every single day for you.”
For more information about Mello and his campaign, visit heathmello.com.