Street commissioner candidates rate careers, Mayhew Cabin distress
Chaney, Curtis and Swanson participate in NCTC Candidates Forum
Tuesday, May 3, 2022, 1:28 p.m. CDT
NEBRASKA CITY — Two Nebraska City street commissioner candidates spoke about their professional careers at a recent NCTC-hosted forum and a third spoke about offering city resources to try to give the Mayhew cabin a future. .
Candidates Joe Chaney and Kurt Curtis both graduated from Nebraska City High School in 1990. Chaney served in the Army National Guard and has a 28-year career in internet technology.
Curtis served 28 years in the military and currently works for the Nebraska Department of Highways.
Candidate Graham Swanson graduated in 2013 from Nebraska City High School. He worked as a tour guide at Nelson House and currently works at Honeywell.
Chaney spoke about his community involvement and preparing for a role on city council.
Chaney: “You know, it really opened my eyes to how the city works, especially street service. How it’s funded is news to me. For those who don’t know, it’s mostly state funded, not really local taxes. …
Chaney: “I volunteer with youth sports. I volunteer at my church. I volunteer at my children’s school, which is Lourdes Central Catholic School, and I think it’s just important as citizens to go there and do what we can for the city of Nebraska.
Chaney currently works in the IT department at the Otoe County Courthouse and expressed interest in discussions about updating the city’s website.
Curtis retired from the military after a 28-year career, where he toured Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia.
Curtis: “I currently work for the Nebraska Department of Transportation here in Nebraska City full time and part time I work with the Nebraska City Fire and Rescue. I serve on the church board of First Presbyterian Church, and in my 28 years in the military, I have held many, many leadership roles throughout my career.
“I also assist the Otoe County Emergency Management Office during severe storms. After I retired, I sat down with my wife and told her that I wanted to come back to Nebraska City and retire because Nebraska City will always be and always has been my home away from home.
Swanson, who studied English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is a regular contributor to two short-fiction magazines, said street service workers deserve recognition for their work through disasters and the pandemic.
Swanson: “Before getting a job at Honeywell and reporting to this office, I was a tour guide at the Nelson House Museum and in my service there I learned that our greatest strength is history. I think there’s a big problem right now. I’m going to lean on our story.
“Mayhew Cabin is our only multicultural museum and it’s not open. It will not be open for Arbor Day as the 2019 flood overran the drain pipes. There was a spill. There was damage. They’ve already come after us. They’ve already sued Nebraska City. The judge rejected it. This cabin, this museum, they’re on their knees right now and they need help.
Swanson said the Nebraska City Street Department could offer its expertise to help find solutions for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.
Two of the candidates will advance to the general election.