2020 Primary Voters’ Guide: Douglas County Commissioner, District 1

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha contacts candidates during each election cycle and invites them to participate in the print and online editions of the Voters’ Guide. Candidates provide their biographical information and their positions on selected issues. Candidates are aware in advance that the biographies and answers will be printed exactly as submitted without edits for content, spelling, punctuation or grammar.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political party or candidate for office.

PDF of 2020 Primary Douglas County Voters’ Guide | Find voter information specific to your ballot at vote411.org.

The primary election is May 12. Find out more about voting by mail: Extensive guide | Quick video guide

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Candidates

Mike Boyle (D):
Website: www.mikeboyle.org
Occupation: Lawyer.
Current Public Office, dates held: County Commissioner
Past Public Office, dates held: Mayor of Omaha
Education: St. Cecilia’s Cathedral High School U.N.O.1963 -1964 Creighton University 1962 – 1973 Creighton University Law School 1974 – 1977
Military Experience: Sole Surviving Son, Gold Star Brother
Volunteer Experience: American Red Cross, Combined Health Agency Drive, Urban League 1963,Holy Name Housing Board 1980 – 2006, Citizens for Educational Freedom, Co-Founder, Omaha 100

Roger Garcia (D):

Website: www.garcia2020.com
Occupation: Nonprofit Executive Director
Current Public Office, dates held: Metro Community College, Board of Governors, 2 terms, 2013 – 2016 and 2017 – 2020
Education: Bachelors in Psychology and Latino/Latin American Studies at UNO – Masters in Public Administration at Bellevue University – Masters in Theological Studies at Iliff School of Theology – Doctorate in Ministry at Willamette University (in Progress)
Volunteer Experience: Co-coordinator for the Nonprofit Executive Institute – Former board member of the Immigrant Legal Center – Former board member of the Women’s Center for Advancement – Former Big Brother/Big Sisters mentor (5 years) – Open Door Mission dinner server

Tonya Ward (D): No response received.

Candidate Responses

What element of the county’s government is most effective, and why?

Mike Boyle: There are many effective operations of County Government. The Douglas County Health Department under the leadership of Adi Pour,Ph.d stands out.. She and her staff are performing, so well. They are disseminating solid, accurate information and coordinating their work with all branches of our Government. Elected Officials, and Department leaders are serving us well, Our dedicated employees make us proud, We serve the Citizens of Douglas County. We are proud to serve.

Roger Garcia:  The Treasurer’s office in recent years has been operating within their budget, has added online and additional payment options for local residents, and successfully passed a bond through a public vote.  Specifically, a few years back, the Treasurer’s office did not accept debit or credit cards and now they do.  This is an example of a County office listening to local residents and adding options that made things easier for taxpayers. County Treasurer John Ewing has been transparent & accessible.

What are some ways to provide property tax relief? Are there any services you think should be cut, and if so, why?

Mike Boyle: No smoke and mirrors to this answer. WE NEED GAMBLING! Let’s start with Sports Gaming. I heard Iowa pulled in $76,000,000,000,00 the first month of Sports Betting. Gambling is legal in almost every State near Nebraska. I serve as co-chair of the Budget Committee with Commissioner P.J. Morgan, Douglas County Finance Director, Joe Lorenz, helps us look for spending cuts wherever possible. But, County Government is an arm of the State. We need to add GAMBLING REVENUE so we can cut property taxes

Roger Garcia: The County Board can stop raising our taxes like they did in 2019.  Considering property valuations have gone up substantially within the last several years, the County is already receiving more tax revenue from those increased tax valuations. As a Commissioner I would cut the new effort to build an approximately 30 million juvenile justice center that is being paid for by bonds that were not approved by voters and none of these funds go toward prevention nor mental health services for youth.

What do you see as the three most compelling problems facing your office?

Mike Boyle: Prison crowding, Mental Health treatment and saving our young people from lives of crime are several important problems facing us. (High property taxes are a BIG PROBLEM, too). We need to enact fair bail relief so persons charged with misdemeanors can get back to work and back to their families. Mental Health care needs to be available to so many suffering neighbors and friends. The terrible crimes our young people are committing is alarming! We must let young people know they matter.

Roger Garcia: We need to engage all stakeholders in juvenile justice and build a strong consensus toward providing evidence-based prevention, intervention, and mental health services for our youth instead of building a new youth detention center that does not allocate funding toward youth programming.  Best practices tell us to focus on the front-end of juvenile justice not the latter end of detention. We also need to address the adult County Jail overcrowding & have a better functioning County Board.

What should the county do to address climate change issues?

Mike Boyle: Our Director of Environmental Services is a leader in his Field. Douglas County has adopted a Model, Low Impact Development Plan that conserves water and is cost effective. It calls for an end for dams that DO NOT stop flooding. DAMS FAIL. OPPD is offering options such as solar and wind generation. These renewable sources are needed. Thank you, OPPD Directors! I represented Douglas County in a Resilient Counties program sponsored by the National Association of Counties. Important lessions.

Roger Garcia:  The County needs to ensure that all new buildings and renovations implement the latest and best practices in environmental sustainability, such as natural and solar lighting. At MCC I sponsored a board policy that made it a priority for all of our buildings and practices to take environmental sustainability into mind and ensure that there is coordination across all of our buildings to ensure system wide efforts in this area. The County should ensure the same across all of its many buildings.

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