Mike Kennedy has pulled out of the race for a seat on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, saying Thursday he can do more good in his current roles.
His announcement came as a surprise to psychologist Jack Stark, against whom Kennedy was expected to run in the Nov. 3 general election.
Kennedy, 49, is on the Millard Public Schools board, an elected role, and is an appointee on the Omaha Public Library Board. He said that with the coronavirus pandemic still troubling the area and the nation, he should keep working for those entities.
He won the primary in a tight race over Stark, with Viv Ewing close behind both of them. Kennedy’s decision leaves Stark as the sole candidate.
Ewing said Thursday evening that she would consider her options, such as running as a write-in candidate, but that sounded unlikely.
“Jack Stark is a great candidate,” Ewing said. “And I just think he’ll do a great job.”
Kennedy said “we weren’t in a pandemic” when he decided to run for the Board of Regents, an elected, six-year position. Regent Howard Hawks, who has served three terms representing much of Sarpy County and part of Douglas County (District 2), chose not to seek reelection.
Stark, 73, is perhaps best known as a team psychologist with Husker football when the program was dominant in the 1990s. He said Thursday evening that Kennedy had informed him late Thursday afternoon.
“I was kind of taken aback by it,” Stark said. “I wish him all the best in all of his endeavors.”
Kennedy, an attorney, said he attended three Millard high school graduations Thursday, including one for son Ian. He said he was at ease with his decision.
“What’s more important?” Kennedy said. “Right now I’m needed to get these schools open and to get the libraries open. … You have to put the community before politics.”
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