City Councilwoman Cyndi Lamm says she has not yet decided whether to run for mayor, even though videos of Lamm giving her reasons for wanting to be mayor were posted to the internet.
In one video Lamm says she is running for mayor because she “wants to serve the people in the city of my dreams. This is where my dreams came true,” says Lamm, who finished her high school degree as an adult, and went on to earn her undergraduate and law degrees.
“This is where my dreams continue to come true, as I have children and grandchildren here in town,” she said in the video.
“And I believe I can do a great job, and bring true transparency and proper priority-setting to the city.”
The campaign staff for Mayor Chris Beutler, a Democrat who is running for a fourth term, sent a link to that video on Thursday as part of a news release.
Lamm, a Republican, said she made the video several months ago when she was considering a bid for the mayor’s office.
But Lamm said she decided not to make a final decision or make any announcement about the mayor’s race until after the city budget process wraps up this summer.
Lamm said she did not want to make the budget decisions “a political football.”
And Lamm said she is disappointed that the mayor has done just that by sending a news release and linking to the videos.
In that news release from Beutler’s campaign office, the mayor defended his budget plan and pointed to Lamm’s videos indicating she will be a candidate for mayor.
“Real leadership also demands transparency. A simple Google search reveals videos with Ms. Lamm stating she is running for mayor.”
“If in fact she is, she needs to be straight-forward about her intentions and motivations,” the mayor says in the news release.
Lamm, who was elected to the council in 2015, has taken several leadership positions on recent issues, leading to speculation that she was seriously considering becoming the candidate with Republican backing in the mayor’s race.
She held a news conference opposing creation of a joint public agency to pay for additional school resource officers, fund after-school programs and provide additional mental health services to public school students. That led to a compromise funding solution in the form of an interlocal agreement.
Lamm is also the lead voice for the three Republicans on the council in presenting proposed changes to Beutler’s budget plan, giving her a chance to get greater name recognition in news media reports on budget issues.
Lamm, who represents northeast Lincoln on the council, has sidestepped questions as to whether she will run for mayor in recent weeks and Thursday said she has not yet decided.
The mayor’s race will be decided next year, with an April primary followed by the general election in May.
In the news release Beutler said there are “different visions” for the city in the budget plans.
Lamm and the other Republicans are suggesting the city cut its property tax rate by a half-cent. That would mean cutting growth in some city programs, Beutler said.
The mayor said investments during his tenure in public safety, streets, technology and neighborhoods have led to a low crime rate, a national reputation for a strong business climate, a high quality of life and recognition that Lincoln is a cutting-edge city of the future.
“Ms. Lamm’s vision would unfortunately lead us in the wrong direction. I am concerned her plan would reduce investments, cut services, threaten growth, and negatively impact the high quality of life Lincoln residents deserve,” Beutler said.
In a news release on the Republican plan, Lamm said the city could continue to provide services with a lower tax rate because of increased valuations of homes and businesses over the past two years.
In that news release, Lamm said city spending at a rate greater than the city’s population growth, as envisioned in the Beutler budget plan, is not sustainable or fiscally responsible.
The videos about Lamm and the mayor’s race that were available online included several with Lamm providing her views on topics and several endorsements from others in the community.
Those videos, apparently produced by Jason Petersen, CEO of GenR8 Marketing, were removed from public view late Thursday.
Beutler’s campaign manager, Brandon Bayer, said he searched “mayor” and “Cyndi Lamm” on the internet and easily found the videos earlier in the week.
The mayor is elected on a nonpartisan basis, with no party labels on the ballot. But the two parties play an important part in finding and funding candidates for mayor, and the party label has become more important with voters in recent years.