Democrat Jane Raybould, 60, who is vice president of her family's grocery store chain, wants to continue to represent southwest Lincoln on the City Council. Her challenger is newcomer Colten Zamrzla. Reporter Nancy Hicks recently interviewed Raybould, the only incumbent on the May 7 ballot.
Campaign slogan: "To keep our city moving forward."
Growing up: Raybould loves how her mother describes her three children: Mike, the oldest, “was very colicky.”
Pat, the middle child, “was such a good baby,” and her face softens. And Jane, “you were always very active.”
“I think that is a nice way of saying I was always getting into everything.”
Raybould, whose family owns the Russ’s Market and Super Saver stores, grew up in the grocery business. Her father bought his first store when she was 6, and she remembers playing hide-and-seek with her older brothers in the back room, climbing up to the loft and pushing boxes down on them. She remembers the crick-crick-crick — cur-runch — of the adding machine coming from the room at the end of a long, dark hallway as her dad counted receipts.
Raybould started working, officially, at age 14, in the baking department. She was a doughnut fryer and filled the long johns and the eclairs with cream. Long johns are still her favorite item, by far.
Family: Raybould met her husband, Jose “Pepe” Herrero, while working on a master’s degree at Indiana University, where she was a residence assistant in the Russian House. Herrero is from Spain and has a law degree from the University of Madrid and master's in law from Indiana University and Georgetown University. He works for Comillas University in Madrid and is a certified court interpreter for the state of Nebraska.
The couple have two adult children.
Politics: Raybould, who studied international relations in college, was always interested in politics. “I thought perhaps I would be a diplomat or a spy.” Instead she worked for the Washington, D.C., Building Industry Association, a trade association, and helped with its community service projects, rehabbing a park building, or a soccer or baseball field in the toughest parts of the nation’s capital.
“If we saw rats in broad daylight, spent syringes strewn about all over, spent condoms, that’s the areas we knew needed our help ... where we could make a difference."
The neighborhood residents picked the project. One community wanted trees razed from a hillside because there was a covert drug market and prostitution there.
Another wanted more lights, so residents could catch who was stripping stolen cars at night.
In her job, Raybould worked with city council members, other elected officials and neighbors in creating a safer environment, which was “incredibly rewarding and very, very fulfilling.”
Partisan involvement: Raybould came back home to Nebraska after her youngest child went off to college, to work for her family’s grocery business. She got involved with community groups, such as Friends of the Ross, the Community Health Endowment and the Chamber of Commerce. Raybould eventually was drawn to partisan politics.
Campaigning: Raybould has been campaigning much of the past decade, first for Lancaster County commissioner, a race she won in 2010; then for lieutenant governor (lost in 2014), for City Council (won in 2015) and for U.S. Senate (lost in 2018).
The exposure has given Raybould exceptional name recognition. She hasn’t raised much money for this race, about $5,000 based on the pre-primary report. But she has purchased some new yard signs and has been knocking on doors on weekends.
The trouble is, she gets drawn into conversations along the way, including joining a book discussion group one Sunday, and she doesn’t get to all the houses on her list.
“The sick thing is, I love campaigning. I don’t get tired. I do so enjoy the interaction.”
Defining moment: “It’s becoming a mom, of course. Everything changes.” She and her husband were young professionals, but after having children, everything was focused around the kids and the family. "That is a defining moment, your life changes."
Of course “being a grandma is right up there,” says the relatively new grandma of 7-month-old Paloma Jane.
Role of government: “My philosophy has always been to serve ... to improve the lives of those we come into contact with ... to assist wherever we can.” Raybould likens it to the grocery business, where the customer is always No. 1. “I try to listen to complaints and find a way to resolve the problem.”
Why vote for her: “Because I will work hard. I have the experience and leadership to get the job done. I am a fair and open-minded person and can listen to all sides of the issue ... I am a proven, trusted leader in my community.”