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Virtual academy encourages racial, ethnic minorities to run for office

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — As part of a new mission, the Greater Omaha Chamber is re-directing its annual Candidate Academy to focus on racial and ethnic minorities to run for office.

The free, six-hour virtual academy will break down campaign financing, filing correct paperwork, building support staff and fielding voters. The idea is not only to have persons of color in those seats, but also motivate those in office to better serve Omaha’s community. You can register for the event here.

Erik Servellon represents the Nebraska Unity Pac, a partner in the academy, that recruits Nebraska minorities into elected positions.

“The local elections matter the most to your everyday life,” said Servellon.

As the population continues to diversify should the groups that create and carry out policy, said Greater Omaha Chamber director of diversity and inclusion Bianca Harley.

“We’d love to see Omaha become the most inclusive community in our nation,” said Harley. “If we’re going to be able to do that then we’re definitely going to have to reinvest and reinvite our different areas of our community.”

Servellon got his name on the ballot for the Omaha Public Schools Board in 2020 but was unsuccessful. He said he was hit by the reality most people face running for office.

“Especially in Omaha politics, where you have to be around for a very long time or maybe come with big name attached to you or a big person behind you or one that you have already, to be able to run for office,” said Servellon.

But, Servellon hopes to change that perspective.

“The ‘average Joe’ or ‘average Jane’ has the ability to be an elected official,” said Servellon. “You don’t need to have any special sauce. You don’t need any secret ingredients. Anybody who is willing to put in the work and serve and serve the entire community is more than capable of being an elected official.”

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