League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha

2020 Primary Voters’ Guide: Papio-Missouri River NRD, Subdistrict 9

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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

Tyler Berzina (D):

Website: www.tylerberzina.com
Occupation: Physics Teacher.
Education: Millard South High School (1993); University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bachelors (1998) and Masters (2004) in Secondary Science Education; UNL Assessment Endorsement (2006); UNL Graduate Science Courses (2008+).
Volunteer experience: American Legion Post 216; Assistance League of Omaha.

Patrick Bonnett (R):

Website: www.patbonnettfornrd.com
Occupation: Tax Accountant and Insurance Agent.
Current Public Office, dates held: I do not currently serve in public office.  However, I am the current Vice-President for the Walnut Grove Condominium Association Regime 1 formerly an S.I.D.
Past Public Office, dates held: I have previously served on the Papio-Missouri Natural Resource District Board in Millard from 2012 – 2016.  My main priority was getting Dam site 15A done which is now Fr. Flannigan Lake.
Education: I attended the Univ. of Nebraska and graduated with a BGSGA – Real Estate Finance & Land Use Economics.  My Minors were in Sociology and Military Science. I hold multiple professional licenses and have several post-graduate professional designations.
Military experience: I served as a Multiple Rocket and Deep Attack Missile Systems Specialist in the US Army Field Artillery from 1993 to 1996. Then as a Unit Legal NCO in the US Army Reserve from 1996 to 2003.
Volunteer experience: I volunteer from time to time for the Red Cross, for my Catholic church St. John Vianney, and for youth sports programs. I have also served on the Millard Business Assoc Board, Future Omaha’s Board and co-founded the Millard Alumni Association.

James Houlihan (R):

Website: www.Votehoulihan.com
Occupation: Accountant
Education: Bachelors degree from UNO BSBA emphasis in Accounting.

Candidate Responses

What steps will you take to prepare for changes in climate trends that affect natural resource district management?

Tyler Berzina: We must prepare for a new normal with an ever-changing climate. Prevention is much cheaper and prudent than cleanup and rebuilding, and we still have far to go from our current vulnerable position. As a NRD board member, I will support the building of flood mitigation measures which will create robust protections against climate change as long as each best course of action is supported by evidence and is fiscally responsible within our limited taxpayer resources.

Patrick Bonnett: To prepare for potential changes in climate and specifically drought, I would investigate opportunities for Water Banking in Nebraska where needed and where it might make sense.  Certain climate trends also appear to have impact on our Nebraska managed pollinator colonies and I would advocate for the restoration of the Honey Bee population which has seen a 50% decline in recent years.  I also support the President’s advocacy to plant 1 Trillion trees and intend to expand the NRD’s tree program.

James Houlihan: In order to be the best steward of our financial resources. I will vote to protect our lives, natural property and personal property. Following scientific data will help determine if our part of Nebraska will have future flooding issues or future droughts. Using these best estimates. I will vote to ensure our safety and our children’s future.

How do you address the concerns of citizens and developers who want access to NRD projects?

Tyler Berzina: As a forward-thinking physics teacher, I encourage, listen to, and support my students to be creative, objective, and innovative while making decisions based on evidence. I want to bring this same spirit to the NRD table when listening to the concerns of citizens and developers as they pertain to NRD projects. I look forward to hearing the pros and cons for specific projects, how developers can enhance project development, and am open to innovative efficiencies which can save taxpayer dollars.

Patrick Bonnett:  I support the practice of allowing all NRD projects to be generally open to the public unless there is a potential health hazard as may be the case with certain marsh or water quality basins.  Developers or other Municipalities sometimes target the acquisition of adjacent land and in those cases there may be certain opportunities for the taxpayer to realize a much greater return on their tax dollar.  I would seek out those opportunities.  I also intend to audit all Inter-Local Agreements.

James Houlihan: I want our citizens to have access to our natural resources. I want to help our younger generations have natural settings and stay here. Family is important. Creating natural settings will help to keep our children close to home.

If elected, what would be your first-year priorities?

Tyler Berzina:  Our community is in need of rebuilding damaged levees, enhancing and expanding flood control measures that were strategized many decades ago and have yet to be developed. Furthermore, urbanization, costs increased by waiting, current flood risks, and our need for recreation all necessitate completion of these projects sooner than later. I look forward to supporting flood mitigation and other needed projects that support the goals of the NRD, as these are well spent investments in our community.

Patrick Bonnett:  Once elected, I will focus my efforts on the following 7 priorities:  Flood Control; Air & Water Quality; Reduction of Soil Erosion and Stream-bed Sedimentation; Storm Water Runoff Control; Provide for High Quality Rural Water Supply; Improve Forrest, Fish & Wildlife Habitat; Provide Outdoor Recreation Facilities and Participation in Solid Waste Management and Recycling Efforts to help extend the Lifespan of our County Landfills which are an expensive burden to taxpayers.

James Houlihan:  Priorities. 1) Ensure levees are repaired and recertified. 2) Identify

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The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN: 47-6025006). Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha does not endorse the contents of any web pages linked here.

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