Three incumbents, one new director to serve on Lower Elkhorn NRD board
After Tuesday’s election, three incumbents retained their seats on the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District’s board of directors — but not by many votes.
In addition, the board will feature a new member as Scott Clausen of Norfolk defeated incumbent Jill Barr for the subdistrict 2 board seat. Clausen received 2,268 votes, or 63 percent, compared to Barr’s 1,340, or 37 percent.
The races in subdistricts 4 and 6, as well as the at-large race, were much closer. In fact, two of those races ended up being, statistically, a 50-50 split.
In the subdistrict 6 race, incumbent Dennis Schultz defeated Tom Feller by just 25 votes — 2,055 to 2,030. Both men are from Wisner.
In the at-large race, incumbent Joel Hansen of Wayne defeated challenger Greg Owens of Wayne by a margin of 11,961 to 11,669, which is also considered a 50-50 split.
The subdistrict 4 race was tight, too. Incumbent Bob Noonan of Humphrey defeated Kendra Buss of Norfolk by a margin of 1,809 to 1,461, or 55 percent to 45 percent.
Joel Hansen, who has served on the NRD board for 12 years, said it was almost 12:45 a.m. Wednesday when the final numbers were in and he realized he had been re-elected.
The Wayne resident said he ran again because he wants to “continue the good work the organization has done.”
But there is still more work to do, he said.
“The natural resources districts are important ... and do good things for farmers. It’s important that we are strong,” he added.
Among the topics that needs to be addressed is water quality and the issue of nitrates in water supplies.
“We need to make sure there is something there for future generations,” he said.
Hansen lives on a farm northwest of Wayne. He has worked for the City of Wayne for 24 years and is the street and planning director.
Greg Owens said that although he was disappointed about losing the election, he was grateful to the people who voted for him. Owens said he felt the close margin indicates that many people are unhappy with the way the NRD is being run.
“A lot of money is being spent unwisely,” he said.
Owens said he might run for an NRD board seat in the future, but that “depends on if things change of not.”
Scott Clausen said he got little sleep overnight given the news of his election victory, and he just wanted to thank all of the people who voted for him. Clausen said he will strive to do a good job representing his subdistrict.
Clausen is the general manager at Cornhusker International Trucks and also manages two irrigated quarters of land for a family trust.
Bob Noonan of Humphrey farms southwest of Cornlea, where he raises seed corn, corn and soybeans. He has been representing subdistrict 4 of the NRD for three years.
Even though she wasn’t re-elected, Kendra Buss said she is appreciative of everyone who went to the polls and voted.
Buss said she was glad her children got to see her take part in this vital part of our government. If there is another opening in the next few years she will definitely run again, she added.
Dennis Schultz said he was not surprised that the election in his subdistrict was so close, and he, too, is thankful to the people who voted for him.
The Wisner crop and livestock producer said he’s anxious to move forward with issues at hand, especially the need to reduce nitrates in groundwater.
The key, he said, is education. “We’re making progress,” he said. “But it’s not an easy fix.”
Schultz also is an owner agent of Schultz Crop Insure and a Realtor and auctioneer.
Jill Barr, Bob Noonan and Tom Feller declined or were unavailable for comment.