Omaha, NE.—News Channel Nebraska has learned that State Sen. Ernie Chambers, who has long said he would never run for local office, is considering a bid for the Douglas County Board.
Chambers, who is term limited at the end of 2020, tells NCN he has not made any “hard and fast decision” to run, adding it hinges largely on the future of a new juvenile justice center, which Chambers opposes and calls a “youth jail.”
Chambers, an independent, would likely be running against District 3 Commissioner Chris Rodgers, a Democrat.
Rodgers, who was first elected to the board in 2004, is a staunch backer of the new youth center which is part of a $120 million dollar downtown courthouse expansion. The new juvenile center would replace the current Douglas County Youth Center at 42nd and Pacific and cut the number of beds from 96 to 64.
Chambers says fewer beds will find many youngsters being sent to other counties and states.
Rodgers says that won’t happen because the county is already working on state ordered plans to keep kids in Douglas County. He adds shipping kids out of state isn’t even up to the county, but is up to the state.
Can Rodgers beat Chambers?
Rodgers says that’s up to the voters, but he’s “not afraid of any man.”
Chambers has served in the Legislature for 44 years. In a few months he will be 82-years-old.
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