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Vanessa Ward, a community activist in North Omaha, announced Friday that she may be a Democratic candidate for governor.

Ward said she is forming an exploratory committee and expects to make a formal announcement after the holidays.

Ward, 64, was presented a Key to the City of Omaha by Mayor Jean Stothert in 2014 for her community-building efforts in the Central Park Neighborhood Association in North Omaha.

"Vanessa is the most authentic Democrat I've ever known," said Colleen Brennan of Millard, who will chair her committee. "She's battled poverty and violence her entire life.

"She's worked with Republicans; she's worked with businesses, churches and her neighbors to reclaim her neighborhood streets."

"Vanessa got (a) street named after her by going to peace in a conflict that pitted her against some of the worst poverty and gang violence in the United States at the time," according to a news release that accompanied her announcement.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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