I was born and raised in Fremont, Nebraska, and come from a family of three older brothers and one older sister. Due to the dedication and determination of my parents, I had a childhood filled with rich experiences, from which I learned many valuable lessons.
As a child, I learned the importance of having a strong relationship with God. I believe in the leadership principles set forth in the bible, especially the emphasis on servant-based leadership. To me, servant-based leadership entails the following: knowing where you come from and who got you there; staying close to the people; staying humble; and being transparent.
At the age of six, I began Mixed Martial Arts training at Rosenbach Warrior Training Branch in Fremont, under the direction of Mr. James Rosenbach. Through training many times each week, for several years, I learned the importance of humility, determination, self-control and patience. Further, I began to understand the importance of leading by example. My hard work paid off in 2007 when I received my Black Belt.
After entering high school, I developed my leadership skills outside of class through my involvement with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). At this time, I also served as the Youth Group Vice President for First United Methodist Church. While still in high school at the age of 16, I entered the Cedar Bluffs Volunteer Fire Department Cadet Program. I still serve as a volunteer firefighter and have been blessed with many great experiences in this role. Although the work is at times stressful, and involves life and death situations, the benefits by far outweigh the costs. I always walk away from emergency situations knowing that I made a true difference for someone in need.
My involvement in local politics started near the end of my high school career. I would often attend Fremont City Council meetings in an effort to fully understand local issues. By the age of 19, I had already received feedback from various community members who asked me to run for City Council. Although I was at first hesitant to do so, after much research, conversations with former council members, and other political contacts, I realized I could handle the job, and do it well. This led me to enter the race for the 4th Ward City Council seat in 2014.
After announcing my candidacy, I began going door-to-door, in an effort to speak with as many of the Ward 4 constituents as possible, and understand the issues that mattered the most to them. Many of these individuals were taken aback by the fact that I’m relatively young; however, I was able to earn their respect after speaking with them.
The results of the 2014 May 13th primary election were as follows: Rich Oliva - 243 votes, John Anderson - 681 votes, and myself with 376 votes. By receiving more votes than Rich Oliva, John Anderson and I advanced to the general election. At this time, I knew I had my work cut out for me. Even if I would have received all of the votes Oliva got, I still wouldn’t have enough to win. However, I pressed forward with the perseverance and dedication that I had been raised to embrace.
After months of building relationships with members of the community, going door-to-door with my campaign team, and participating in a forum debate, it was time for the general election on November 4th, 2014. That night, I was on edge after I heard the first results: Anderson – 503 and Bechtel – 500. I knew that anything could happen at that point as I anxiously waited for the final votes to come in. Finally, the results were announced: John Anderson earned 893 votes and I had earned 845. All in all, it was a great, close race that I lost by only 48 votes. However, I don’t regret running. The race gave me the opportunity to meet many great people and build countless relationships, while learning a great deal about the Fremont community and myself along the way.
After the ’14 election, I made an effort to stay close to the issues that impact the community I care about. I continued to attend City Council meetings and stayed in contact with people I met during my campaign. Towards the end of 2015, I was ready to run again. After speaking with several current and former Fremont City Council members, the Mayor of Fremont, and other community members, I realized I needed to enter the race for the Ward 4 Fremont City Council seat.
My campaign is based on four promises:
1. I will be easy to contact and communicate with.
2. I will be a responsible steward of public funds.
3. I will be transparent and trustworthy.
4. I will not be swayed by special interests groups.
These promises are extremely important to me. Although they are simple, when someone cannot live up to these goals, it can have a tremendously negative impact. The process of earning the public’s trust is not a destination; it is a constant journey. It’s easy to find a politician that claims to embody the values of honesty and integrity. However, it’s much more difficult to find a politician whose actions are governed by these values, both inside and outside of the public eye.
I think one of the best indicators of how someone will behave in office is their past actions. When things have gotten tough, I have historically ran my campaign with a positive attitude. After my ’14 campaign loss, I focused on the positive experiences and lessons learned during the race, and I have adhered to my same fundamental values and dedication to the community.
I believe that the people of Fremont need a common sense leader who isn’t afraid to voice the opinions of the people and who understands that their duty is to SERVE. Too many politicians are self-serving and forget how they got into office in the first place. I am a person who is not afraid to ask difficult questions and will uphold my duty to my constituents above all other interests, including my own.
Finally after months of campaigning, going to 1,000 doors, participating in another radio forum, and having multiple meetings and interviews, election day had arrived. November 8th was an exciting day watching the results come in. I spent the night with family and finally at the end of the night it was announced, I was going to be the next councilman for Ward 4!
At the age of 15, I got my first job working as a lifeguard at the local waterpark in Fremont. Next, I began working at a local restaurant, where I stayed until I graduated from Fremont High School in 2012. Following graduation, I began my career at Cox Communications, an organization from which my father recently retired after thirty-two years. After spending time with Cox and developing my professional skills, I was presented with an opportunity to return to work in my hometown of Fremont. I gladly accepted this offer and began working at D&T Shirtified, a local screen-printing business. At D&T, offer custom design and apparel printing solutions to individuals and businesses in the Fremont area.