Grand Island mayoral candidates differentiate themselves

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Updated: Fri, 06 Jun 2014 10:51:48 CST

In November, Grand Island residents will cast their vote for the next city mayor. And, so far the race seems to be dead even. Financial Planner and Grand Island Senior High Soccer Coach Jeremy Jensen led the race for the May Primary Elections with a mere 38 votes over City Council President Chuck Haase.

So what are the differences between the two? One is Jensen's lack of political experience, which he doesn't view as a weakness, but as a strength, while Haase has been in the game for years.

"If I'm in a leadership role at City Hall I want to make sure that I'm viewed as a coach and not a boss at city hall and that really comes back to what I do at the high school too. I really enjoy that part of my life and I think that Chuck has labeled himself as a technician and I think I want to be more of what I would consider a big picture thinker."
 
"I'm gonna be retired and I'm offering to spend the first four years of my retirement working for the citizens of Grand Island and I think that a big difference as well I think it takes time you know it's not a Monday through Friday 8-5 but it is definitely a 7 day a week job and this is where I'm willing to make the commitment."

It's expected to be a tight race between Jensen and Haase. The two defeated current Mayor Jay Vavricek in the May primary.
 
Jensen was victorious by only 38 votes. He received a total of 3,092 votes and Haase had 3,054. The voter precinct split was close as well. Jensen won in 10 of Grand Island's 19 precincts and Haase won in 9. Mayor Vavricek received more than 1,200 votes in May. Both Haase and Jensen say those votes could decide the November election.

"I also think there's another 5000 votes that's going to vote in the general election that didn't vote in the primary I'm just going to talk about my experience and what I can provide citizens and it's up to them to decide whether they want me."
 
"I need to make sure that over the next 5 months I prove to people that I'm competent that I understand the issues that they can trust me in a leadership role so I'm not really going to change anything that I'm doing when it comes to campaign all I'm going to do is continue to get in the community when I can, invitations to go speak to groups those types of things and make sure people understand who I am."

One of the biggest issues in the race continues to the Veteran's Home. Back in July Governor Heineman voted to move the Grand Island Veteran's Home to Kearney.

Ever since then the Grand Island community has been fighting a losing battle to keep the home in the same place it's been for over 100 years.

Jensen thinks with the mounting scandal surrounding the veterans association, there are more important things than keeping the home in Grand Island. But for Haase it remains at the top of his list.
 
"I think the vets saw have more priorities than deterring whether or not they're going to relocate the home you've got a national crisis going on with the Veterans Administration you've got veterans that are dying because they're sitting on waiting lists and suddenly I think the quality of care is going to become really important to the VA."
 
"There is no more important priority than veterans it is always about taking care of veterans and I am a veteran so it could be my home."