2021 Candidates

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Local Races

Omaha Mayor

R.J. Neary has always been someone who looks to create opportunities. From starting his own lawn service business in high school to serving as President at Investors Realty, he knows how to take on a challenge. RJ’s expertise is working on complex projects, and selling older, difficult, and complicated properties. His skill set lies in finding solutions for more challenging problems. RJ understands the importance of active listening and thinking outside the box to solve issues.  

Omaha City Council

Pete Festersen

Pete Festersen

District 1

Councilmember Pete Festersen was elected to the City Council in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013 and 2017. He served as President of the City Council from 2013 to 2015 and is Vice President of Strategy and Public Affairs for CHI Health, one of Omaha’s largest private employers.

Ben Gray

District 2

Ben Gray is seeking his fourth term on the Omaha City Council.  Ben is a Vietnam veteran as well as an award winning journalist.  In his time on the Council he introduced the Small and Emerging Business Ordinance to provide greater opportunities for minority and female contractor.  Ben introduced and got passed the Equal Employment Ordinance that provided protections for the LGBTQIA community in the work place as well as public accommodations.  In the next few years we have to address affordable housing, the increasing number of of those who are homeless and most important addressing head on racial issues through dialog and sometimes painful conversation.   


Juanita Johnson

District 2

Juanita Johnson is an accomplished Information Technology professional with over 20 years of business experience, including working for a Fortune 500 transportation company based in Omaha. Juanita earned a Bachelor of Science in business and is currently enrolled at Bellevue University seeking a Master of Business Administration. Juanita has over 10 years of entrepreneurial experience and knows what it takes to run a business.

Danny Begley

District 3

I’m Danny Begley and  I am running for the Omaha City Council in District 3. This district is the heart and soul of Omaha and it is where I was born and raised. Me and my family are fortunate to have been rewarded with the many blessings of growing up in the diverse, blue-collar neighborhoods that make up Omaha’s core

Vinny Palermo

District 4

Councilmember Palermo was elected to the Omaha City Council in 2017.  He was raised in South Omaha and graduated from Omaha South High.  After graduating, Vinny served as an Operations Specialist in the US Navy.  After fulfilling his active duty assignment, he attended University of Nebraska – Omaha. Throughout his career, Vinny has been a South Omaha small business operator and entrepreneur. Prior to serving on the City Council he was elected to the Omaha Public School Board. 

Patrick Leahy

District 5

Omaha needs steady leadership. My work as a healthcare architect gives me unique knowledge and skills to develop solutions. I support economic development. I am a working family man that understands local concerns and the impacts of decision on people, families and businesses. Now more than ever it is important to serve our front-line workers including our police, healthcare workers, and educators.

Naomi Hattaway is a candidate who believes City Hall must be proactive, responsive and communicative. Her platform centers public health and safety, equity and smart growth, and she is ready to bring both impactful and equitable solutions to the City Council. Naomi is a recognized thought leader in the realm of community building and housing as a human right, and has spent the last decade championing accessibility and progress through collaboration and successful public-private partnerships. She is focused on policies that protect our youth, our elders and our disabled community, and plans to address aging in place, accessibility to City Hall, and being responsible with our land use.

Sara Kohen

District 7

Sara Kohen is running for Omaha City Council for District 7, in northwest Omaha. She is also a mom, a wife, and an attorney who now works to engage families and build community as a school administrator. Sara is drawn to public service because she believes that we—as a nation, a state, and a city—have so much potential. Decisions made at the local level affect how we live our lives.