Maverick pursues Omaha city council seat

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Cassie Wade
NEWS EDITOR

University of Nebraska at Omaha junior Grant Sturek aims to jumpstart his political career while still in college by running for district one of the Omaha City Council.

Sturek, who is a democrat, has had a life-long interest in politics, which has led to his decision to double major in political science and economics in order to become a successful politician.

“I think political science is important because it’s important that someone working in politics understands the way political systems work, understands … how power works and how it applies to the democratic process,” Sturek said.

“An elected official should have a background in economics so that they understand the impact their actions will have on the people they represent.”

Though Sturek has not participated in UNO’s student government, he has gained real-world political experience by working on two congressional campaigns, including Brad Ashford’s.

Sturek said he doesn’t think his lack of student government experience will adversely affect his campaign.

“I’ve never really felt drawn to student government,” Sturek said. “I’m of the opinion that those positions exist mostly for the title and they have very little actual influence. I’m more concerned with running for an office where I can make a positive difference.”

If elected, Sturek plans to implement several new ideas in order to bring about positive changes to the Omaha community, including attempts to draw more people into the city.

“Just about everyone in Omaha who is college educated has a job; they have no problem finding a job,” Sturek said. “That might sound like a good thing, but it is actually inhibiting our growth.”

Sturek plans to partner with local businesses to create career fairs that draw college graduates from other Midwestern universities into Omaha in order to strengthen the city’s economy.

One of the biggest issues he aims to reform if elected is how political campaigns are financed.

“We have hardly any campaign finance laws in Nebraska or the city of Omaha,” Sturek said. “I
think that we have no business having a ton of money being spent on the local elections in the community.”

If elected, Sturek plans to create a city ordinance limiting the amount of campaign contributions a candidate can receive from a contributor.

“By doing that, we can make sure candidates who’re receiving donations are receiving contributions from people they’ve actually convinced to support them, not from these vested interests who they’ve arranged some sort of backroom deal with to advance that person’s interest.”

Sturek said campaigning for city council has enabled him to enhance his communication skills.

“Campaigning, like so many other things, is really about how well you’re able to communicate with other people,” Sturek said. “I think its really important to be able to articulate more goals for the city in a way that the average voter can understand and identify with.”

Sturek acknowledges the fact that many voters may find it “ridiculous” for a college student to run for city council. He, however, believes there is no time like the present to accomplish his goals.

“No matter who you are, no matter what your age is, there will always be a reason you choose not to run,” Sturek said. “Once I remove the regular reasons anyone has to not run for office, I realize that I have really no reason to not at least give it a try.”

Spencer Witte, Sturek’s friend from high school, described Sturek as “mellow” and said no one from their graduating class would be surprised he decided to run for office.

“He’s just a bright representation of the millennial generation and what we have to offer,” Witte
said.

Sturek’s ultimate goal is to “go as high up in politics” as he possible can over the course of his
career.

More information about Sturek and his campaign can be found on his Facebook page, Grant Sturek for City Council.

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