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.
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Asit Goswami (D):
Occupation: Hospitalist Physician (Family Medicine trained)
Education: Family Medicine residency training at Creighton. MD from Marshall University in Huntington, WV. BS in Biological Physics from Washington and Jefferson University in Washington, PA. BA in Religious Studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL
Volunteer Experience: Gifford Park Neighborhood Association liaison to Gifford Park Elementary School. Vice President Joslyn Castle Neighborhood Association. OTOC Housing Action Team. Heartland Workers Center. Nebraska Academy of Family Physician Scientific Affairs Comm.
Chris Rodgers (D):
Occupation: Director of Community and Goverment Relations at Creighton University, Commissioner – Douglas County, Nebraska
Current Public Office, dates held: Douglas County Commissioner (2005 – Present)
Past Public Office, dates held: Member of Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors (1999 – 2004)
Education: Creighton University BA 92; MBA 99 and University of Nebraska at Omaha MPA 2002
Military Experience: None
Volunteer Experience: Salem Baptist Church, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
What element of the county’s government is most effective, and why?
Asit Goswami: All stakeholders must have a voice in wise planning for Douglas County residents. The voter approved 2016 Public Safety Bond issue is a terrific example The County board met for months, listened to the public, and put the issue to a vote of the people, which passed with overwhelming support. The project retrofitted an existing County building, upgraded the 911 Center to a state-of-the-art facility, consolidated County offices, saved money on leases, and created an energy efficient campus.
Chris Rodgers: The Health Department is one of our most effective elements. I think we see it now through our response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
What are some ways to provide property tax relief? Are there any services you think should be cut, and if so, why?
Asit Goswami: The County Board can lower the levy instead of raising it when property values go up. Even though the County has enjoyed a budget surplus for several years, they decided to raise the levy in 2019. Adjustments in the Homestead Exemption will provide disabled citizens and their caregivers property tax relief. With fresh eyes reviewing the budget, we will find efficiencies within existing departments. With a smart Master Plan incorporating zero based budgeting, services will have enhanced value.
Chris Rodgers: County Government runs very lean. Ending unfunded mandates from the state can help reduce property taxes.
What do you see as the three most compelling problems facing your office?
Asit Goswami: Coronavirus has disrupted our County, and we will need a transparent plan for a sustainable recovery for our entire community. We need tools like emergency push notifications from Douglas County Health Department. The board meets at inconvenient times for the working public, proposed twice to close public comment and makes community decisions behind closed doors. We demand transparency. Let’s reverse the trend of privatizing County government which decreases accountability for public services.
Chris Rodgers: Mentally Ill in adult corrections, reforming juvenile justice and preparing public health for its future in Douglas County.
What should the county do to address climate change issues?
Asit Goswami: Climate change begins with retrofitting buildings vs. demolishing and building anew. Building a new downtown jail for our youth with promise without a vote of the people for the largest real estate deal in the history of Douglas County that will increase property taxes is not a priority for our community. To decrease our Carbon footprint, let’s renovate the Douglas County Youth Center rather than build a downtown jail. Just like the 2016 Safety Bond which put climate change at the forefront.
Chris Rodgers: We should take opportunities to use renewable energy. I think this is the most immediate manner we can address climate change.