Most people would never admit they are happy when they lose something.
It goes against the way most people are hardwired.
But when 21-year-old Matt Bechtel ran for the Ward 4 Fremont City Council Seat in November 2014 – which he lost in heartbreaking fashion to John Anderson by 48 votes in the general election – once he had time to recover from the gut-punch, the then 19-year-old realized that losing was the best thing that could have happened to him.
“Losing taught me so much more than winning ever could have,” Bechtel said.
With nearly another two years of learning under his belt, Bechtel announced Tuesday afternoon that he will be running for the post, which is being held by Jennifer Bixby. Bixby recently announced that she is not seeking re-election.
Bechtel is the second person to announce candidacy following Rich Oliva’s announcement last week. Bechtel defeated Oliva in the 2014 primary by 133 votes, information released by the Dodge County Clerk’s office said.
Bechtel said his campaign platform is based off of four principles – the same principles he brought to the table the previous time he ran, he said.
The 2012 graduate of Fremont High School said that first and foremost, he wants to fight for his constituency. Standing up for the community and being an active voice for what a community wants and needs is of the utmost importance, he said.
Being a responsible steward of public money is also at the top of Bechtel’s list of priorities. With the new budget year looming just around the corner, he said that fiscal responsibility is one of his primary concerns.
He also pledges to not be persuaded by public interest groups. These organizations acquire too much power and make decisions that simply benefit their own operation, he said.
“I’m tired of seeing tough-talking politicians turn spineless in the face of public interest groups,” he said.
Perhaps most importantly, Bechtel wants to run a campaign focused on transparency. If his constituents have problems, these issues need to be addressed.
He remembers his last campaign when he responded to emails many times within five minutes of having them drop into his mailbox.
“I guarantee you that isn’t a service they (residents) will get from someone else,” he said.
Winning the Ward 4 city council seat would be one of the most gratifying things Bechtel has ever experienced, he said. Living in Ward 4 his entire life, he said that he has a vested interest in what is happening in his community.
Bechtel said that community support is what ultimately played the deciding factor in whether he would run or not.
“I just really want to thank everyone who tracked me down and asked me to run again,” he said. “If I would not have been stopped in grocery stores, restaurants and the library, I don’t think I ever would have known how big of an impact I made on people.”
Officially, candidates cannot file until Dec. 1. Incumbents have until Feb. 16 to file for re-election, and non-incumbents have until March 1 to file.
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