Lincoln City Councilman Carl Eskridge has announced he will not be seeking re-election to a third term.
Eskridge, who represents District 4, which is central and northwest Lincoln, said he hopes to become the next state ombudsman next year after veteran Ombudsman Marshall Lux retires after 37 years.
Eskridge has worked for the ombudsman office for more than 20 years and is the deputy state ombudsman. He will become the acting state ombudsman when Lux retires and hopes to be appointed to the position permanently by the Legislature.
"For eight years I have been honored to serve the city and to represent the interests of the people of District 4 on the City Council," he said in a news release announcing his decision not to seek re-election.
The Democrat has twice served as chairman of the council and has represented the council on the West Haymarket Joint Public Agency, which built and is paying off the bonds for Pinnacle Bank Arena and related developments.
He has also chaired the City Council's internal liquor committee, which monitors city alcohol issues, including downtown and West Haymarket bars.
The committee, a mix of council members, bar owners and university representatives, monitored the new 2 a.m. last call at local bars and the entertainment district rules applied to the Railyard in the West Haymarket during his tenure.
Eskridge, who works as a mediator, said he has tried to act as a mediator on the council, working in a way that "promotes respecting each other and when we disagree to do so in a respectful manner."
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He introduced the city's fairness ordinance, which did not pass, and the successful recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day (2016) and Anti-Hate Resolution (2017).
He also worked on a number of issues in northwest Lincoln, including a new Fire Station 11 and improved parks facilities. That included keeping the Highlands Golf Course.
Eskridge has also worked with the South of Downtown group, many neighborhoods in Lincoln’s core and Neighborworks Lincoln to help address housing needs.
"Working side-by-side with Mayor (Chris) Beutler and my council colleagues, neighborhood leaders, businesses, community organizations, an army of dedicated nonprofits, public servants and countless caring citizens, we have not only seen dramatic new development and growth in our city, we have maintained positive relationships even during challenging circumstances," Eskridge said in the news release.
Eskridge's decision means there will be no incumbent in the District 4 race, giving others with less name recognition a better chance. An open race often draws more candidates.
James Herrold, a registered Libertarian, announced two months ago he plans to run in District 4.
Voters will select council members to represent the four geographic districts in the 2019 city election.
The other three council members represent the entire city. Those seats will be part of the 2021 city election.