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Former city attorney announces bid for Lincoln City Council
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Former city attorney announces bid for Lincoln City Council

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A former Lincoln city attorney Wednesday declared his candidacy for Lincoln City Council this spring, with plans to campaign on reining in city spending and focusing on basic services.

Bill Austin served 20 years as city attorney after then-Mayor Helen Boosalis appointed him in 1979.

Since 1999, Austin has worked in private practice, but he believes his experience seeing city government's inner workings suits him well to serve the residents of Lincoln, where he's lived for 53 years. 

Bill Austin

Bill Austin. 

“I want to focus on Lincoln being a ‘city for the citizens’ as opposed to being a city with lots of extra bells and whistles," Austin said in a news release. "We now need to return our focus to the basics, shore up our foundation and put taxpayer dollars toward basic services without raising taxes."

He would prioritize protecting funding for police and fire services, roads and other basic  services instead of high-profile projects, the release said. 

Austin is the seventh person to formally announce his candidacy for one of three at-large seats on the City Council. 

At-large Councilwoman Sändra Washington and Councilman Bennie Shobe have declared their candidacies, and Councilman Roy Christensen is also expected to announce for the 2021 elections. 

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Austin is the second registered Republican to run for City Council, an officially nonpartisan body, joining issues advocate Mary Hilton.

A McCook High School graduate, Austin attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then the University of Nebraska College of Law before becoming a prosecutor in the city Law Department and later serving as a chief assistant prosecutor before being tapped for the top job. 

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Austin and his wife of 45 years, Lynda, have two daughters and four grandchildren. 

The other declared candidates are Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commissioner Tom Beckius, businessman Aurang Zeb and activist Dominique Liu-Sang.

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

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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