Krystal Gabel, a marijuana legalization activist, has announced she is a candidate for Lincoln mayor.
In a news release, Gabel outlined a lengthy platform that includes legalizing cannabis possession in the city limits, working to become a zero-waste community, rezoning to allow tiny homes and providing free bus service citywide.
Gabel, 34, is registered as a nonpartisan. She said young adults need to step up and come up with new solutions to politics, and that political parties aren’t working.
“People in their 20s, 30s and 40s need to step up. We have families, houses and jobs. But we don’t make any of the laws that dictate our lives,” she said in a telephone interview.
“Lincoln needs fresh, nonpartisan leadership to build a smarter, greener economy that directly benefits the community and Nebraska’s future,” Gabel said in the news release.
Gabel ran unsuccessfully for Omaha City Council in 2017 and for the Nebraska governorship in the 2018 Republican primary. She said there is energy left from her previous campaigns and people expect her to continue.
She has a bachelor's degree in writing from Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, is a freelance editor and travel writer and is building a small urban farm business, according to the news release.
She chairs the third-party organization Legal Marijuana Now Nebraska, which is seeking to get marijuana legalization on the Nebraska ballot.
Gabel has officially filed as a candidate for the city election, which will take place in spring 2019.
City mayoral and council races are nonpartisan, so candidates are listed without party labels and parties do not select candidates in the primary. Instead, the top two candidates in the primary move on to the general election. Gabel said she ran in the Republican gubernatorial primary because state law makes it almost impossible for independent candidates to get on the ballot.
Mayor Chris Beutler, a Democrat, and Cyndi Lamm, a Republican and a member of the Lincoln City Council, have both announced they will run for mayor next year.
Gabel’s platform includes:
* Legalize cannabis possession in the city by removing city ordinances that prohibit marijuana possession. She would seek to allow residents to possess and grow plants for personal use, but not for sale. That would save thousands of dollars in marijuana enforcement that could be used for property tax relief, she said.
* Approach addiction as a community by adopting a “do no harm” approach that would allow residents seeking treatment to approach any city police officer for help without penalty or arrest.
* Embrace the e-commerce boom by promoting Lincoln as a distribution and fulfillment center for online sales.
* Work to become a zero-waste community by making recycling and composting easy and less expensive than landfill trash pickup.
* Support local electricity and electric vehicle use by increasing the number of charging stations and incentivizing residents for using electric vehicles.
* Start a citywide free bus service to stimulate job creation throughout the city, reduce parking and traffic congestion, make the community less dependent on petroleum and provide safe, equal access to all Lincoln opportunities.
* Rezone for tiny houses by changing city codes to allow tiny houses to be built behind a primary residence and allow tiny house pocket neighborhoods throughout Lincoln.
* Stop "pay-to-play" city contracts by prohibiting elected officials and candidates from accepting donations from individuals, unions and companies that have contracts with the city.
Information about Gabel's campaign is available at krystalgabel.com.