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Schuyler city council president runs for mayor

November 2, 2018 GMT

After spending 20 years serving the City of Schuyler, council president Jon Knutson wants to contribute more to his community by filling the mayoral shoes.

Because Knutson is running uncontested during the Nov. 6 general election, barring any shocking revelations he will be the city’s new mayor. The polls will open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

“I just would like to see Schuyler continually improve,” said Knutson, who is a retired teacher and sports coach.

Although he has yet to solidify his plans, Knutson said he aims to improve Schuyler by recruiting more businesses and promoting it as a safe and welcoming community.

One of Knutson biggest priorities is inclusion.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent statistics collected in 2017, roughly 72 percent of the Schuyler population consists of Hispanics and Latinos and close to 4 percent consists of Black or African American individuals.

Because of the area’s diverse population, Knutson said it’s important to continue bringing these groups together. He said the community has been relatively good at supporting one another.

Knutson said he also plans to continue improving the city’s infrastructure, which includes streets, intersections and buildings, within a tight budget. He also aims to support the different organizations working toward fulfilling local housing needs. He said he foresees major improvements in that area because of the individuals involved like Community Housing Specialist Brian Bywater, Economic Development Coordinator Jackie Farrell and recently appointed City Building Inspector Don Glodowski.

“He will do great,” said current Mayor David Reinecke, who decided to step down this year after 20 years of service.

Reinecke, who ran uncontested during two of his five terms serving as mayor, said he didn’t expect to hold office as long as he did. However, he said he has enjoyed his experience meeting new people and getting more acquainted with many people in town.

During his first year as mayor, Reinecke said he appointed Knutson to serve on the city council and that he is already well-versed in current city affairs. Because of that, Reinecke said he believes Knutson is the perfect fit for the position.

“(Mayor David Reinecke) has done a great job,” said Knutson, noting he plans to seek advice from Reinecke before starting his term.

Knutson is a man who wears many hats. He is currently a tax specialist at H&R Block, corn inspector at Pioneer Hi-Bred International in Doniphan and a substitute teacher, in addition to serving on local and state committees.

Despite that, Knutson plans to dedicate more time to his position as mayor. The South Dakota native considers Nebraska his home after spending 10 years of his adult life teaching in Walthill and 25 years in Schuyler.

“I’ve told myself and my family that if I ever wanted to do more, I needed to be retired,” the father of three said. “This will be a time in which I plan to devote more time than I’ve certainly done as a councilperson for the city. I will do what it takes.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.