Kara Eastman, the president and CEO of Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance, announced Monday she will be a candidate for metropolitan Omaha's House seat and champion protection of health care programs and public education.

Eastman, a Democrat, will seek the 2nd District post now held by Republican Rep. Don Bacon, who defeated former Democratic Rep. Brad Ashford in 2016.

"I'm running because our community needs someone to stop the assault on public education, cuts to health care, rollbacks of health-protecting regulations and the elimination of EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) programs that protect kids from lead poisoning," Eastman said.

"I cannot stand by and watch our children's health suffer in the hands of an administration that is not putting their needs first," she said.

Eastman, vice chair of the board of governors of Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, said health care, the economy and education will be the focus of her campaign.

For more than 20 years, she said, she has led nonprofits that solve problems in education, homelessness, domestic violence, health care and housing needs.

The 2nd District is viewed as a battleground congressional district that elected a Democrat in 2014 and a Republican in 2016.  

Bacon is on course to seek re-election to a second term in 2018. 

Ashford has acknowledged he is considering a bid to recapture the House seat. 

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Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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