2020 Primary Voters’ Guide: Nebraska Unicameral, District 11

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.

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Candidates

Fred Conley (D):
Occupation: Self-Employed
Current Public Office, dates held: 1999-Present Papio NRD Board
Past Public Office, dates held: 1988: Interim Mayor – Omaha 1981-1993: Omaha City Council Member 2005-2016 Metropolitan Community College Board Education: 1966 High School – Omaha North High 1976 B.S. Psychology & Sociology 1980 J.D. Creighton Law School
Military Experience: 1967-1970 Air Force – Sergeant
Volunteer Experience: Served as a member of the Sierra Club, a board member of the Charles Drew Health Center, President of the North Omaha Foundation and was a founding member of the 100 Black Men of Omaha.

Gwen Easter (NP):  No response received

Terrell McKinney (D):
Website: www.peopleforterrellmckinney.com
Occupation: Career Specialist
Education: Creighton University School of Law, 1L Masters of Business Administration, Midland University Bachelors of Science, Sport Business Management, Maryville University St Louis
Volunteer Experience: Black Men United – 2016 – Present At Large Board Member. Ready RP Nationals Wrestling Team, 2016 – Present. Assistant wrestling coach. Policy Research & Innovation, 2019 – Present Board Member

Teela A. Mickles (D):
Website: www.compassioninactionnc.com
Occupation: Founder and CEO of compassion in action Inc
Current Public Office, dates held: n/a
Past Public Office, dates held: n/a
Education: Associate’s degree in chemical dependency counseling
Military Experience: n/a
Volunteer Experience: 36 + years in the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services

John Sciara (R):  No response received.

Cornelius F. Williams (D): No response received.

Dennis J. Womack (D):
Website: www.dennisjwomack.com
Occupation: Retired (2019) from U.S Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job Title Economic Assistant
Current Public Office, dates held: N/A
Past Public Office, dates held: Appointed as Chief Deputy Election Commissioner, by Governor Mike Johanns
Education: attended, Metropolitan Community College and University of Nebraska at Omaha
Military Experience: N/A
Volunteer Experience: N/A

Candidate Responses

Does Nebraska need to change its method of redistricting? Why or why not?

Fred Conley: Prior to my election to City Council in the 1980s, I fought for district level elections in Omaha and Nebraska as a community activist. The creation of fair districts is an issue I am passionate about and it directly impacts my district. I support an independent commission for redistricting after the 2020 Census. I will support any legislation that guarantees a nonpartisan approach.

Terrell McKinney: Yes, its needed to ensure districts aren’t slighted in one parties favor and to also make sure Nebraskans are actually represented by members of their community. This is also needed to make sure communities like North Omaha aren’t neglected economically. District 11 is a minority majority and its important that we keep it that way. Lines have been drawn in the past to get individuals elected and to also limit change in our state. The good life is needed for all Nebraskans not just a few.

Teela A. Mickles: Yes I believe it should just to make the boundaries more clear and realistic and also considering how the city has grown and the growi.get diversity of the populations.

Dennis J. Womack: Yes, It requires an Independent Group who has no interest, but to assure that it is done fairly.

How should the problem of prison overcrowding be handled?

Fred Conley: Criminal justice reform is long overdue in Nebraska. We do not need to build more prisons; we need to find solutions to reduce the number of prisoners. One avenue is to prevent non-violent offenders from going to prison and instead focus on rehabilitation to reduce recidivism.

Terrell McKinney: Prison overcrowding should be addressed by taking a hard look at the system itself there is a need for change inside and outside of our local jails and prisons. We first have to look at the root causes poverty, unemployment, mental health, housing, and the over policing of North and South Omaha. Our state must begin to rethink sentencing guidelines, ending cash bail, making probation and parole less punitive, programming inside prisons, re-entry, and police accountability.

Teela A. Mickles: The community especially District 11 needs to be aware educated and actively involved intervention pre-release, reentry, transition incommunity re-establishment for our prison population. District 11 is heavily represented in the correctional facilities and under-represented in voter registration and Progressive activity for the resolution. Community involvement in Partnerships for prevention, interventions, reentry and transition are necessary to reduce the population of confined individuals.

Dennis J. Womack: Currently we have a mix violent and non- violent criminals in the same facilities I believe that some have minor or less violent offenses that could lead to house arrest this will lead to reducing the population in the facilities. However it would create what may be viewed as more work for probation officers and prison staff, they will need to become more active as they conduct home visits and checking monitoring devices.

Do you feel there is a need for voter ID, if so why and how should it be implemented?

Fred Conley: No – we should remove any and every barrier to voting.

Terrell McKinney: No, there is no need for voter ID.

Teela A. Mickles: Unfortunately I am not educated enough in this area to determine the best methodology regarding voter ID

Dennis J. Womack: No I am opposed to any additional Voter ID laws, when You register to vote you have to have your Nebraska Drivers License or State issued ID available.

Should there be increased restrictions on money in politics? Why or why not and what specific restrictions would you support?

Fred Conley: Yes, there should be increased restrictions on money in politics. Currently, we have no transparency in the system. Whatever restrictions were appropriate prior to the Citizens United decision are a good starting point.

Terrell McKinney: I think we have to look at money in politics and how its being used to stifle change in our state and country. We have to ensure that candidates are committed to their respective communities once elected and not making decisions based on who contributed to their campaigns. We need to either limit the impact super pacs can have on politics or provide resources to candidates especially candidates of color that lack resources/connections.

Teela A. Mickles: In my opinion sending should be to the point of easy access for any individual who is willing to run for public office regardless of their economic status. The political field should be based on a person’s commitment qualifications to serve rather than the size of their bank account. I believe without certain restrictions qualified committed individuals may be forced out of the campaign to run for political offices

Dennis J. Womack: I feel that Campaign financing laws need to be revised. I believe there should be restrictions on candidates financing their own campaigns to the tune of Billions of dollars.

Does Nebraska need a paid family medical leave program? Why or why not?

Fred Conley: Yes, there should be a paid family medical leave program. Many people are currently left without access to sick leave. This puts working-class families in a vulnerable position when someone becomes ill or injured. A reasonable duration of leave (12+ weeks) is appropriate and legislation ought to protect workers so they can use their leave when needed without risk to their employment. There are examples in place and it protects families during times of uncertainty.

Terrell McKinney: Yes, its needed so families can have a security blanket in times of need and also as a tool to attract business and talent to our state.

Teela A. Mickles: absolutely for obvious reasons especially now during the current crisis with a Coronavirus

Dennis J. Womack: Yes the State of Nebraska needs a paid family medical leave program, since medicine is not an exact science there unforeseen circumstances that can occur during any procedure.

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