Omaha Councilman Begley talks transition to public office, plans for Dist. 3
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Three months into representing Omaha’s third district, Danny Begley calls it a dream job.
The Omaha native jokes that civic engagement was ingrained in him at an early age, and he never really had a choice in the matter.
“My mom and dad watched the city council meetings in the ′80s when I wanted to watch the ball game after I got home from school,” he laughed, adding “They really played the chess game long term on my life when they said our kids will be public servants.”
Begley lost both his parents before they could see him win the third district seat, but said he feels like they’re with him every day and agrees the missed ballgames paid off.
If you watch the Omaha City Council meetings, or attend his community meet and greets, you’ll have direct access to Begley. But if he’s not on camera, he says, he doesn’t want anyone to assume he’s not working, because it’s the opposite.
Since May, he’s been learning the ropes so he can tackle the problems Omaha residents have expressed are important, he said.
“As much as I would love to snap my fingers and solve all the problems, they take time. You gotta get all the valid information. You gotta educate people. I need to be educated on it and I’m going through that,” Begley said.
He outlined one of his biggest priorities right now is supporting families hit hard by the pandemic through the $112 million dollars awarded to the city by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The funds have to be used to respond to the economic and public health impacts of COVI-19.
About half of that is earmarked specifically for social services organizations and humanitarian resources.
”I think that it’s a once in a lifetime deal here to spend that money on infrastructure, jobs, the roads...” said Begley.
He agrees two heads are better than one, which is why he explained he’s also advocating for a chunk of that money to support non profits that really address the whole picture and can help people en masse like ”Together Inc and 211 United Way of the Midlands. They have programs that help people get food security, job training, help paying their bills.”
Begley now wears many hats: Full-time OPPD Claims representative, family man, and now a council member, but he says despite packed schedule he doesn’t plan to leave anyone behind.
Recently, he’s been meeting with constituents and the Mayor, along with the finance director to figure out the best ways to distribute the federal grant money.
But he tells 6-News his residents shouldn’t worry, he’s not ignoring other issues.
“Trash, garbage, public safety, libraries, parks, bike trails...I love this job because those things touch people every day. It all matters and even when residents don’t agree with all of my decisions, I’ll still do my best to address their concerns,” said Begley.
Councilman Begley via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 402-444-5525.
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