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Jensen discusses decision to not seek another term as Grand Island mayor

Jeremy Jensen says he'll miss being mayor of Grand Island, but says his biggest regret would be staying in office and missing moments with his kids, whose faces appear on a photo in his office (NTV News)

Grand Island's mayor will leave with regrets, but says his greater regret would be missing time with his kids, as Jeremy Jensen announces he will not seek another term.

Four years ago, Jensen made a last minute decision to run for office, filing at 4:00 p.m. on the last day.

“I put my car in drive and started heading this way and thought I can turn right or left at any intersection,” he said. “Before you know it, what the heck, here we are.”

Now he charts a new course, as the youngest mayor in at least 75 years is choosing to leave office when his term ends in 2018.

“It's a family decision, not just one person's decision,” he said.

With his oldest daughter planning for college, Jensen says he and his wife made a decision they knew they'd regret.

“It's tough to walk away from something that in my mind is such a prestigious honor,” he said.

He's making the announcement early in the election cycle, saying he'd like to encourage fresh faces to run.

He said, “If not me, who? I'm really protective of this office and things we have accomplished.”

Like turning around the negativity about the decision to move the Grand Island Veterans Home.

“That was the 1000-pound gorilla,” he said.

And pushing the city south to the interstate, including a new hospital.

“That's going to be a catalyst project.”

He also says he’s built a good team, saying he brought lessons learned as a Husker walk-on.

“Coach Osborne used to tell us all the time surround yourself with good people, work hard, and good things will happen,” he said.

And while Jensen says he leaves the city in good shape for the next mayor, there are challenges, especially with the budget.

He said, “The cost and growth of the expenses is always going to exceed growth of revenue. You can't keep taxing people to death and make more revenue sources come.”

Jensen will have one more shot at the budget in 2018 before his term ends. And while he says he'll miss being part of city government after that, he says the greater regret would be missing out on key years with his kids.

“I hope all moms and dads stop and think about this too,” he said. “Think maybe I should step back and spend more time with my kids.”

He hopes he’s been part of leading a community his kids will want to return to, as he did.

He said, “It's one of the most incredible honors that I could've had, being able to lead my hometown.”

The filing deadline is March First. Jensen said he was planning to make his decision around Christmas, but moved it up, so others may step up and run.

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