Longtime Lincoln resident Andy Ringsmuth has announced he will run for Lincoln mayor in the spring election.
"In an environment of increasing political disagreements and outright hostility," Ringsmuth said his registration as nonpartisan will be an asset. He said he has been registered as nonpartisan, or no party, for more than 10 years.
"The division in our county, city and state are just getting worse and worse. Someone who doesn’t have ties either way could hopefully bring people together," he said.
“I am beholden to no one, and to no party ideology,” he said. “We all have ideas from across the political spectrum. Those ideas, and all people who hold them, should be respected and not denigrated.”
Without support from any political party, Ringsmuth acknowledges it will be a "challenging campaign."
Though the mayor's office is officially nonpartisan and the ballot does not list party affiliation, the two major parties help recruit and finance candidates.
If elected, Ringsmuth said he will focus on the city’s budget, with an aim toward balancing needs with tax relief.
"Taxes are high, that is true. It is a balancing act. By going through the budget very carefully, I think savings could be found."
Ringsmuth said that is what he does in his job — finding efficiencies or maintaining the status quo but spending less.
“I will examine every single line in the budget,” he said. “Whether it’s a $5 item or a $500,000 item, every line must be examined and thoughtfully considered with adjustments if that benefits our taxpayers.
"If elected, I pledge to every citizen that no tax or fee will increase under my watch and in no case will I ever sue anyone to raise taxes."
Thomas Jefferson is typically credited with saying “Government is best which governs least.” But Ringsmuth remembers his father saying, with a smile, “Government was invented because people didn’t like what their neighbor was doing.”
“My goal as mayor will be to balance those philosophies,” he said.
Ringsmuth said the tax-increment finance process needs more examination and reining in.
"Certainly everyone wants new growth and new businesses. But I'm not comfortable with TIF being doled out so quickly and so easily," especially since it keeps the higher value of the property off the tax rolls for some time.
Ringsmuth has twice run unsuccessfully for elected office. He ran for the Lincoln Board of Education in 2009 and was a candidate for Congress in 2004.
Ringsmuth said he decided to run for mayor after voters approved the term-limits amendment last week, precluding Mayor Chris Beutler from running for re-election.
"It would have been pointless to run against an incumbent," he said.
Ringsmuth, a husband and father of two, has been employed more than 20 years as manager of facilities, technology and travel for News Link, a Lincoln-based publishing company.
Four people have announced they plan to run for mayor next year.
Two current Lincoln City Council members, Cyndi Lamm, a Republican, and Leirion Gaylor Baird, a Democrat, have said they will run. Krystal Gabel, an independent, has also filed to run.