Not running again

I ran for the Hastings Board of Education because of one main goal — implement a healthy school lunch program. Our kids can now eat as many fruits and vegetables every day as they want.

Schools are incorporating local food into the menu and dedicated staff members are incorporating suggestions from kids and parents making our meals delicious. While changes are still needed, especially around sourcing meat from Nebraska ranchers, we are on a great path.

My time on the board confirmed that it is still possible for citizens from all political backgrounds to come together for a common goal — make our schools as strong and safe as possible for kids and teachers.

I will not be running for re-election this November. I believe if you run for office and accomplish your goal, it’s time to step aside for new ideas and new energy. I wish all political leaders had this same philosophy rather than looking at an elected position as a career. We see what happens to politics when someone is too comfortable for too long in a position.

The school board and our community face big challenges ahead. Our elementary schools need modern classrooms and facilities, which happens to be on the ballot this May.

The board has managed the budget shortfalls from the state, but a new funding formula must be passed in order for us to have the proper resources for our schools. Instead of facing these challenges as a school board member, I will face them alongside all of you as a citizen and a mom.

While I was an elected official, I was also an advocate. Remaining an advocate was critical to my success as a board member but also to who I am when it comes to politics. I plan on running for office again in the future because there are clear areas I believe I can help make positive change.

We need more citizen politicians running and serving at all levels of our government, especially women. Whether it’s pipeline regulations, mental health centers, revitalizing main streets or shifting away from a primary coal energy portfolio to one that is more balanced and clean, there are lots of opportunities to make our state a strong, safe and fun place to raise our families.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the school board. I was proud that I earned your vote and trust four years ago. I look forward to supporting the citizens who decide to throw their hat in the ring for the board and continue to make our town proud.

Deciding to put your name on the ballot is a brave choice, and I hope to see moms, dads and young people take that next step in a time-honored tradition of our democracy.

Jane Kleeb

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