Christa Yoakum was appointed to the Lancaster County Board on Tuesday by a special committee consisting of the county attorney, clerk and treasurer.
Yoakum, coordinator of the "Nebraska is Home" program at Nebraska Appleseed, said she had planned to run for the seat in 2016 before Jennifer Brinkman declared her candidacy for it. Yoakum lost a narrow race in November for a seat on the Nebraska Public Service Commission.
As a county commissioner, Yoakum said she plans to work with county department leaders to accomplish their strategic goals.
She also said she wants to represent the people's best interests.
Jim Ballard, Cristy Joy, Shane Jensen and Tami Soper also were finalists for the District 2 seat vacated when Brinkman resigned to become the chief of staff for newly elected Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.
"There was a great pool of applicants," Yoakum said. "A lot of talent in the room."
That may have been why all three members of the committee wanted different people to fill the seat. County Clerk Dan Nolte nominated Jensen, but the nomination failed to get a second.
County Attorney Pat Condon nominated Joy, but her nomination also failed to get a second.
Condon seconded County Treasurer Rachel Garver's motion to appoint Yoakum, though he ultimately wound up voting against the appointment.
Garver said Yoakum, "understands and gets what's going on in the community."
She said Yoakum is actively involved in the community, and also praised her answers to questions during candidate interviews.
Nolte joined Garver in voting for Yoakum.
Condon, the only Republican on the committee, said his first choice was Ballard, mainly because he had run for County Board and lost a narrow race.
However, Condon said he nominated Joy when it became clear that Ballard would not get any support from the committee. Before casting his vote against Yoakum, Condon said he hoped the board can remain nonpartisan "as much as possible."
"I think that's all what we want," he said.
The district covers northwest Lancaster County and generally extends from downtown Lincoln and west to Emerald and the county line.
The term runs until Jan. 7, 2021, and the seat will be on the ballot in 2020.
It will be Yoakum's first stint in elected office.
"I'm really honored to have been chosen," she said.