Christy Armendariz did not respond to our invitation for an interview.
Michael Young describes himself as “crazy and passionate.” He was born and raised in Nebraska, and had many experiences with the state welfare system. He wants to advocate for education, food and housing security, and programs that “would have helped his family growing up.” He states the issues he faced in his childhood were rooted in public policy, and he wants to fix the system. He served on the board of the Transit Authority in Omaha for two terms and on the Metro Community College Board. He states that having a tough skin is important to him.
The public services Michael has used most frequently have included programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and SNAP, all of which benefited his family as a child. He has also been through the Nebraska public school and University systems, and has been deeply involved in public transit and bargaining with public transit employees. He would like to see DHHS expanded, as well as SNAP benefits and lunch programs. Moreover, he wants to improve the corrections system, including reducing overcrowding and providing reeducation and rehabilitation programs.
Michael states that he will work to ensure that public services and programs are fully funded. He states that the State of Nebraska tries to appear fiscally responsible, but there have not been any tangible outcomes; he wants to see data-driven decision-making in the legislature.
When asked how federal infrastructure funding should be allocated, he states that technology and broadband should be a priority, especially in rural areas. Moreover, he states that aging roads need to be repaired and replaced, and that the State should invest in broadband across the state.
Michael states that he opposes the privatization and outsourcing of public services. He also states that public/private partnerships are sensible in some situations, but should be driven by public input and community need. He cites the Omaha Public Library as an example of not using public input.
Michael supports the right of Nebraska State Employees to unionize, and acknowledged our upcoming negotiations. He also supports ensuring state employee wages are tied to inflation, and paid parental leave.
To fill vacancies and end staff turnover, Michael states that wages must be competitive. He states that there must be a “true living wage” that matches the cost of living and inflation, as well as opportunities to advance in the workplace. He also proposes reaching out to high schools and universities to advertise public service and “invest on the front end.” Moreover, he states that bringing technology across the state “into the 21st century” would help with efficiency and reduce burnout.
Michael supports the election of committee chairs through secret ballot and the current filibuster rules.
When asked what sets him apart as a candidate, Michael states, “I’m here.” He also cites his endorsement by the AFL-CIO, his involvement in public service, his experience within state programs, and his vested interest in the Omaha community. He further states his passion for education, and his intent to further fund it. He states that he is a hard worker, and can tell you everything about his district. He also states that he wants voters to “form their own opinion.”