(Red Oak) -- KMA News continues its "Meet the Candidates" series, featuring the candidates running in key races in the November general elections. Today's report features the challenger in the Red Oak mayor's race, Shawnna Silvius.
A western Nebraska native, Silvius earned an associate's degree from McCook Community College in 1990, and a bachelor's degree in business administration/marketing from the University of Nebraska-Kearney six years later. She later received a master's degree in organization management with an emphasis in economic development and entrepreneurship from Peru State College in 2012. With 17 years' experience in economic development, Silvius served three years as the Montgomery County Development Corporation's director. She resigned last year to become economic development planner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, serving six counties around the Omaha-Council Bluffs area. Silvius says she's running for mayor in order to bring unity to the community, and to capitalize on the progress the city has made in development efforts over the past few years.
"We've got some great leadership in great positions," said Silvius, "with Steve Adams in the economic development role, with a new school administrator, and some other folks, and new folks coming on board running for city council. So, it seems like a really great time to build a strong, solid team, and make progress happen."
If elected, Silvius says she'll continue efforts to bring high-speed internet access to the community. While saying fiber-delivered broadband services are the best--and most expensive--form of internet services, she adds the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of installing improved broadband services.
"Accessibility, affordability and high bandwidth capacity are key," she said. "And, what we learned during the pandemic which just accelerated this that up and download speed is the key. So, when we say 'redundant,' it means the same upload speed and the same download speed."
Silvius says the city should review a study conducted of Red Oak's housing needs to develop an aggressive strategy to improve its housing stock.
"We had a housing committee that had proposed to the city a housing study to look at the types of housing that we offer, and find out where the gaps are," said Silvius. "That's the first think I would look at in working with our local real estate agents, and looking at where are gaps, whether it be condos, townhouses, apartments, upper story living, single family homes, or what. So, looking at what is our stock, where are we falling short."
You can hear the full interview with Shawnna Silvius here: