Two dozen Lincoln residents of all political stripes have applied to fill the open at-large seat on the City Council.

Their backgrounds range from photography to podiatry, and most are newcomers on the city's political scene. 

All are vying to succeed Leirion Gaylor Baird, who vacated her seat May 20 when she was sworn in as mayor.

Though the council is nonpartisan, members have said they intend to replace Gaylor Baird with another Democrat in keeping with past tradition. 

The seat is up for election in 2021. The seven council members earn $24,000 a year for what is considered a part-time job.

Two candidates sit on the same powerful advisory board that helped propel Gaylor Baird onto the City Council in 2013. 

Tom Beckius and Sandra Washington, both Democrats, are serving six-year terms on the City-County Planning Commission. 

Beckius works as a real estate broker and is a managing member for a tax lien investment company and commercial real estate development firm, according to his resume. 

Washington retired from the National Park Service in 2014.

Two women who have sought City Council seats in recent years applied for the open seat as expected. 

Public school teacher Megan Stock lost the District 2 council race in southeast Lincoln to Richard Meginnis, who won by 540 votes earlier this month. 

Stock, a Democrat, drew praise from her party after garnering more than 11,000 votes in the district that had elected Republican Jon Camp to five terms. 

Democrat Megan Mikolajczyk, who has run twice for a council seat, also applied. The deputy director at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland ran unsuccessfully for the District 1 seat against Cyndi Lamm in 2015, and she lost a bid for an at-large seat in 2013.

Gaylor Baird, Roy Christensen and Trent Fellers won the at-large seats that year.

Aurang Zeb, a Democrat who owns a painting company and lost his race for a Lincoln Airport Authority seat this spring to incumbent Nick Cusick, also applied.

Democratic applicant Ken Winston, who has lobbied for environmental groups, also served on the Lincoln Board of Education in the 1990s. 

Applicant Genelle Moore, a Democrat who works in human resources as a background investigator for Lincoln Public Schools, had served as a captain in the Lincoln Police Department before retiring in 2017.

Moore became the department's first black female officer in 1982. 

YMCA Fallbrook executive director Aaron Farber, legislative aide Margaret Buck, University of Nebraska-Lincoln computer sciences and engineering professor Steve Reichenbach, photographer Michael E. Reinmiller, Center for Palliative Care senior policy manager Stacie Sinclair, Century Automotive and Towing owner Leonard Hernoud II, Isabel Salas of the South of Downtown Community Development Organization and Tyler Goodrich also applied. 

All of them are registered Democrats.

The registered independents who applied were El Centro De Las Americas executive director Romeo Guerra, Violet Spader Kirk, who is sales and marketing manager for the Nebraska Press Advertising Service, Adam Downs, a registered independent who worked for Kaplan University, and Marcy Ganow.

When former Chief Assistant City Attorney Rick Peo informed the council of his interest in a letter May 14, the Republican asked council members to look beyond party affiliation.

In his letter, Peo expressed concern that council members were violating the nonpartisan spirit of the body by focusing on choosing a Democrat for the seat.

"The absence of a party label is intended to empower the elected council member to pursue policy in the public interest rather than his or her party's interest," Peo wrote.

He was one of at least three Republicans who applied. 

Jeffrey Wienke, a podiatrist and surgeon, and Chris Zabel are also registered Republicans who threw their names into the hat.

The party affiliation information for Cathy Maestas Graham wasn't available Tuesday night.

Maestas Graham works as an assistant manager at the LPS Employees Federal Credit Union, according to its website.

Holly Woolsey was the only registered Libertarian among the applicants. 

The candidates will be scrutinized to ensure they're registered voters who have lived in the city for at least the last three months, council Chair Jane Raybould said in a news release.

Later this week, current council members will interview and select finalists ahead of a scheduled vote set for Monday. 

If none of the nominees receives four votes, the council will reschedule the matter for a later date.

Absent from the list of candidates was Lincoln Board of Education Member Don Mayhew, who had told the Journal Star earlier this month he wanted to be considered for the seat.

Christa Yoakum, who narrowly lost a bid for the Nebraska Public Service Commission last fall, did not apply for the City Council opening. She has said she is also interested in the vacancy on the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners, which is seeking to replace Jennifer Brinkman, who resigned to become Gaylor Baird's chief of staff.

The deadline for applicants for the vacant County Board seat is Friday. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.



Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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