A community leader and former educator who now works in the finance industry is running as a Democrat for the District 1 Bartholomew County Council seat held by Republican Chris Ogle, who is not seeking re-election.
Unopposed in the May primary, Hanna Omar, 36, will challenge either Republicans Scott Bonnell or Marcus Speer in the November general election.
A Bartholomew County resident since 2011, Omar works for JP Morgan Chase Bank.
Holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Fordham University in New York, Omar received her master’s of business administration from IUPUC, where she served as an adjunct professor of Arabic and political science from 2012 to 2016.
Omar stated she is committed to effective and efficient government, and has concerns about a lack of strategic planning by the county council.
“Everything has been on a whim,” Omar said. “Businesses and nonprofits don’t run that way.”
She is advocating that the county council examine multiple avenues of identifying funds for much-needed infrastructure improvements at the Bartholomew County Courthouse and county highway garage.
“People are beginning to understand that the county needs more leaders with financial backgrounds,” Omar said.
One year after moving to Columbus, Omar was appointed to serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals in Columbus.
A year later, she and her husband, Nebil Omar, co-chaired the Uncommon Cause gala for the Columbus Area Arts Council.
Also in 2013, Omar was named one of the “20 Under 40” upcoming young leaders by the Columbus Young Professionals group.
Last year, Omar received the Benjamin “Mickey” King award for her efforts to make Columbus and Bartholomew a more welcoming community from the Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization.
The most recent Democrat to hold an elected countywide office was Stephen Heimann, who retired as Bartholomew Circuit Court judge at the end of 2016.
But elections to office should not be about party any more than they should be about gender or cultural/religious background, she said.
“It’s about effectiveness,” Omar said. “It’s about having a smarter and well-run government.