NORFOLK, Neb. -- Jim McKenzie announced that he is running for Mayor in the City of Norfolk. 

McKenzie is a long-time resident of Norfolk and has almost 35 years of city government experience through his work at the City of Norfolk as the Information Technology Manager and from operating a software and consulting company he owned prior to his employment at the city. 

McKenzie believes Norfolk needs growth in well-paying jobs, greater transparency, and better prioritization of city spending. 

"I pledge to work tirelessly to grow Norfolk in a financially responsible way," McKenzie said. "At the same time, I will respect the value of each tax dollar that the city collects and remember someone worked hard to earn the dollars that are entrusted to the city. Government should be run with openness, honesty, and integrity."

McKenzie said that Norfolk is fortunate to have successful and supportive industries including multiple divisions - NUCOR Steel, Norfolk Iron and Metal, Associated Wholesale Grocers, Continental, Cardinal Health, Wis-Pak, the new Norfolk Crush, and more.

"We have fantastic health care providers, a great community college, wonderful public and parochial schools, and many strong small and medium sized businesses."

McKenzie said he would like to see Norfolk build on this base with additional well-paying jobs in complementary industries and diverse new industries.

He said he believes there needs to be proactive recruiting for large and small businesses based on the small-town quality of life and Midwest work ethic. 

"In terms of greater transparency, there is a lot of work and discussion that happens in city subcommittee meetings that are not open to the public,"McKenzie said.

He said he will work to change this so that the majority of the closed non-public subcommittee meetings are replaced with open work sessions of the full city council that are welcoming to the public and the news media. 

"This will result in a more informed public, better policy making that is inclusive of more diverse set of ideas, and greater community unity," McKenzie said. 

McKenzie said that property taxes and city debt levels have increased dramatically over the past several years. 

"We cannot continue to burden our citizens and our community with higher and higher taxes and more debt," McKenzie said.

He said he will look deeply into the city budget to find areas to be more efficient and reduce spending - focusing on prioritizing expenditures on the most pressing needs. 

McKenzie said he feels the public's safety is critical, and he will work to develop a comprehensive street repair plan. 

Additionally, participatory budgeting will be explored as a way to have city expenditures be more aligned with citizens expectations. 

McKenzie said he will work to benchmark Norfolk against other cities in Nebraska to determine areas in which we can improve, and to learn best practices and successful strategies from other communities. An example McKenzie gave, is Albion, Nebraska has been mentioned as a shining example of a city investing in itself by raising millions of dollars from private donations for a variety of community projects. 

"Many people have asked me to run for Mayor," McKenzie said. "They want fiscal responsibility and for their voices to be heard in city government."

McKenzie said he will listen to everyone and represent each citizen equally. 

"Norfolk has much to offer and I want everyone to have input," McKenzie said. "I want to build a stronger and more unified community in which everyone has a voice."

McKenzie is a graduate of Northeast Community College and earned the Nebraska Community College Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2021. 

One of his recent hobbies was to purchase and renovate the boyhood home of Johnny Carson, which he still owns. 

He is a member of St. John's Lutheran Church where he has served on church council and various boards.