Brennan to Join Omaha City Council


Colleen Brennan was selected on a 5-2 vote to serve out the remainder of Rich Pahls’ term on the Omaha City Council. (Colleen Brennan for Omaha)
By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

The Omaha City Council bid its farewell to Rich Pahls as he prepares to rejoin the Nebraska Legislature early next month.

Pahls will be sworn in as a state senator on Jan. 6, and the council will inaugurate his replacement to fill out the rest of his term – which runs through June 6 – at its Jan. 12 meeting.

The City Council voted 5-2 last week to select Colleen M. Brennan to fill the vacancy. Seventeen people applied for the council’s consideration. Brennan said she’s lived in District 5 for the past 19 years and is a lifelong Omaha resident.

“In these difficult times, I want my children and my community to see that government leadership does not have to be angry or partisan to be effective,” Brennan said in a letter applying to fill the vacancy. “As a mother of seven, I want to be an example of integrity, public service and putting the needs of others before my own.”

Brennan said she advocated for a proposal in 2012 that eventually became Legislative Bill 254, the Nebraska Insurance Reform Bill, enacted in 2015. The law provides coverage to families with profoundly disabled children, and Brennan received the National Parent Advocate of the Year Award from Autism Speaks.

“I learned that passion is only a spark and without hard work there is no fuel to accomplish anything,” Brennan said in her letter. “I learned that sometimes amazing possibilities can be created out of nothing but the right question at the right time.”

Brennan is a marketing manager for Ritter Insurance Marketing in Omaha. She’s formerly worked as an agent and customer care analyst for Mutual of Omaha and as an agent for American Senior Benefits. She has been a volunteer for Autism Speaks, Special Olympics and St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church.

Brennan is a candidate for the council in the upcoming municipal elections. On her campaign website, she says her priority issues are economic development, support for the police department and addressing COVID-19. She also has written blog posts on a number of issues, including the pandemic, media and race.

“We live in a time when it’s easy to say anything you want while hidden behind a video keyboard, but those who have the genuine courage of their conviction remain largely silent,” she wrote in a post last week. “More are paying attention now and soon enough will get involved to rein-in our crazy media and systemic corruption, and then begin to solve our real problems.”

Pahls is a retired administrator for the Millard Public Schools. He previously served in the Legislature, including as chairman of the Banking, Commerce and Insurance Committee and as a member of the Executive Board. Pahls was elected to the City Council in 2013 and reelected in 2017, and he was chair of the council’s Law Committee. He will represent District 31 in the Unicameral.

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