When Jenny Brekhus first ran for Reno City Council in 2012, she was worried the city was going to run out of funds.
“It doesn’t happen much, but the city would go into receivership and the city council people wouldn’t have their jobs; I was willing to take that challenge,” said Brekhus.
She decided to run in 2012 because she believed the debt the city was amassing was not representing the kinds of investments that serve a diverse range of families and communities.
Brekhus, 49, is hoping to be re-elected in this year’s bid for Reno City Council Ward 1. She won 2012’s election with 58 percent of the votes over her opponent Bernie Carter.
Brekhus has a background in city planning and public administration. Brekhus said her father had an influence in her career path as he served as the mayor of a small city in California during her youth.
Brekhus, originally from Marin County, California, received an undergraduate degree in classical languages from UC Berkeley and went on to get a dual Master’s degree in public administration and city planning from the University of New Mexico.
She began her career in government as an intern in Albuquerque, New Mexico and soon after worked in city planning in a small, rural town in the state. After a couple years there, in 1998, she and her husband decided to seek different opportunities in Reno.
“We picked Reno off a map,” Brekhus said. “It was close to my family in Northern California. It was the place where the mountains meet the desert.It was much like Albuquerque and much like his [husband] home city El Paso.”
The 2016 Reno City Council Race
Brekhus said affordable housing is among her priorities as well as building a good quality of life in Reno.
It’s the quality of life that we all love in our neighborhoods,” Brekhus said. “And I’m very passionate about making sure that all of neighborhoods can enjoy the good things.”
Contrary to Brekhus’ experience in the 2012 election, her opponent this year, Victor Salcido, has released a stream of negative campaign advertisements.
“It’s a hard line to cross in local races because you’re talking about real things people have knowledge of – our firefighters, our parks,” Brekhus said. “Choosing negativity is a big decision to cross that threshold and there are lines of grey, too. I think candidates for local office have to make decisions on how far and what lines they will cross and also to be prepared to receive it.”