Republican Taylor Wyatt, a 32-year-old real estate agent, is making his first run for public office with a bid for the District 1 City Council seat representing northeast Lincoln. Wyatt ran a close race in the primary against James Michael Bowers. Reporter Nancy Hicks interviewed Wyatt in advance of the May 7 general election.

Childhood: Wyatt went to Lutheran schools in Lincoln, including Lincoln Lutheran High School, a small school where you could be involved in just about everything.

And he was.

He played baseball and football, basketball and soccer.

He wasn’t all that good at basketball. “I got a jersey and I had a spot on the bench and I had fun with my friends.”

But football, “that was a fantastic sport." He was a linebacker and a center, but he loved playing linebacker the most. "I liked the X’s and O’s of it. I liked the contact. Not everyone likes that part of it.”

Wyatt was in the choir, in a school play, "the bully in the play.” And he was prom king. “That was cool.”

“At a smaller school you get to be involved in just about everything. And that is a good experience. It would be hard to play all those sports at a bigger school. You would have to be a pretty special athlete to do that. And that wasn’t me.”

At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Wyatt started out in broadcasting but switched to education.

He was a student manager for the football team and was doing some volunteer coaching when he decided to switch to education after talking with coaches.

"I loved being around the kids. I loved sports. I loved helping people doing those kinds of things."

Politics: “I’ve always been interested in politics. It affects your life. It affects your children. I had a really good civics teacher (Nathan Bassett) in high school and he did a good job of instilling the importance of it. With the best civics teachers you never know where they stand.” 

Wyatt looks at City Council as a service, something the community needs that he is capable of doing.

In general, Wyatt says he finds the Republican philosophy the more rational, more commonsense way of thinking.

Family: Wyatt is married to Brooke, who works in sales at a publishing company. The couple have a son, 2-year-old Wells, which is a grandmother's maiden name. And "Wells rolls with Wyatt." 

Defining moments: After several years of teaching in Waverly, where he helped start a baseball program, his job was cut. 

Wyatt really enjoyed teaching and coaching. As a coach, “I saw kids go through difficult times. Parents getting divorced ... people diagnosed with serious illness. That really puts things in perspective.”

“Kids are very important to me." Getting them involved, whether in choir or sports, is important. If he were a school administrator, Wyatt would want to see 100 percent of his students involved in some kind of extracurricular activities. "I want to be part of the solution of getting kids involved.”

Wyatt considered looking for teaching jobs in other communities after his Waverly job ended. But he wanted to stay in Lincoln.

He got promotional jobs with the Lincoln Saltdogs and the Lincoln Stars, but maintaining a crazy schedule was difficult after his son was born. 

He got his real estate license and he also officiates at high school football and lower-level basketball games. 

His faith is also very important. “I do believe in God. I won’t beat around the bush on that. Lots of times he has closed doors and pushed me through open windows. He is in control of what is happening.”

Campaign: Wyatt says his experience knocking on voters' doors may sound contradictory. He's been surprised at the number of people who simply aren't interested in local races, and he's been surprised by those who are really interested.

"The turnout for a local election is rather small. That surprises me."

But he's also "been surprised by the number of people who invite me in and want to have extensive conversations."

Role of government: Government should provide the baseline services, and safety and infrastructure are at the top of that list. Beyond that "it can get a little touchy." 

Beyond the basics, the role of government should be "more of facilitating conversation." 

Wyatt doesn't believe people's hard-earned money should be used for things people don't want.   

Why vote for me: "I believe we (he and Bowers) want similar things ... good streets, public safety. But I think our paths of getting there are different.

"I am very concerned about spending and government overreach. I believe the private market offers a lot of opportunity and the ability to balance costs.

"I am going to respect the taxpayer's money and fight for them."

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Nancy Hicks reports on Lincoln city government, but she’s been following the leaders of local and state government for more than 40 years.

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