I'm Cassey Lottman, and I'm running for Lincoln City Council District 4. Lincoln needs a tech-savvy leader to help establish itself as a hub in the Silicon Prairie without attracting the problems of the Silicon Valley.
I'm that leader.
Community life was never a spectator sport for the Lottman family as Cassey grew up in the small town of Diller, Nebraska. Whether she was running the registration table at an annual event, helping with highway trash cleanup, or typing up new artifact labels for the village museum, Cassey has always been ready to do the work of building community. Since moving to Lincoln, Cassey has found that her small-town commitment to community translates very well to city life. When a safety improvement project near her house was threatened by outsiders, she helped mobilize more than 30 neighbors to testify in support of the project at city council. Thirteenth street is so much easier to cross and safer to drive on now, and Cassey helped make it happen. Cassey is running for city council to bring that same grassroots energy and ability to build coalitions to a wider scale.
Cassey graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in Computer Science. She's currently employed as a Community Health Engineer for Glitch, meaning she builds tools to encourage a healthy community on Glitch's social coding platform. She is ready to bring her background in the software startup ecosystem to encourage the development of the Silicon Prairie and to help retain talent for growing industries in town.
Recently, Cassey has been active in Renters Together as an advocate for affordable housing and renters' rights. Her volunteer efforts as a grassroots community organizer have involved advocating for projects such as the 13th St. Improvement Project and coordinating office visits to elected officials.
As a first time homeowner herself, Cassey knows how transformative homeownership can be for building roots to the community. However, as a millennial with many friends who still rent by choice or by necessity, she knows that any plan for affordable housing must also address the 40% of Lincoln residents who rent.
When it comes to affordable housing, Cassey doesn't just talk about it. She's testified at Lincoln City Council multiple times on the need for affordable housing for both renters and homeowners. As a member of Renters Together, a grassroots Lincoln organization focused on tenants' rights and affordable housing, and a member of the South of Downtown Community Development Organization's Housing Sub-Committee, she's already been doing outreach to people in need and discussing policy solutions with stakeholders including the city department of urban development, the South of Downtown CDO, state legislative offices, Renters Together, property owners, and city code enforcement.
Cassey is bringing concrete policy ideas to address the current and future needs for affordable housing in Lincoln. We need to address the long waitlist for Section 8 housing voucher recipients, and the inability of those who receive a voucher to actually find a place to live. To do so, we can look at higher incentives for landlords to accept Section 8, and a nondiscrimination ordinance prohibiting housing discrimination based on whether a person is paying with a voucher.
Too many streets in central and northwest Lincoln have been neglected by the city, for too long. Cassey believes firmly that reliable, safe infrastructure shouldn't just be reserved for high income neighborhoods- and she proved it with her advocacy for the 13th St. Safety Improvement Project.
Cassey also believes that as the city grows, its infrastructure for multi-modal transportation will need to grow, too. Being able to walk, bike, and take the bus anywhere in town will not just make it easier for the population to get around quickly, it will also help shift our economy towards forms of transportation that will enable us to thrive in the 21st century as we face the effects of climate change.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is one of our city's greatest assets. So many bright students full of potential pass through--and so many leave after graduation. As a recent graduate herself, Cassey knows that students at the university must be folded into Lincoln's community life, outside of school, if they are to stick around. We need these students, their talent, and their new ideas and entrepreneurial ventures to boost our economy. And though they might not know it yet, Lincoln has so much to offer them, too. One of Cassey's major priorities will be integrating the university community with the city at large, and ensuring that students stick around to experience all that Lincoln has to offer.
Cassey has helped make change already by showing up at city council meetings to testify, and by encouraging others to do the same. However, anyone who has tried lobbying the city council knows how difficult it can be to get regular folks to show up at meetings held during the work day. We should make our city government more accessible by moving all city council meetings to evening hours when most working people can still contribute. If anyone is inconvenienced by the timing of meetings, it should be elected officials and city staff, not those who want to participate in the political process as ordinary citizens.