Brandon Kelliher, a top computer specialist at Great Plains Health, became the first candidate Tuesday to announce he is running for North Platte mayor.

Kelliher, 50, is a lifetime resident of the city. He made the announcement to about 30 supporters at the downtown Switchyard restaurant.

Kelliher’s platform has three major components: increasing jobs and wages, ensuring responsible spending and improving city infrastructure.

“We need to improve wages and add employers by making North Platte a business-friendly community,” he said.

He called for a prosperous community, with good jobs and good wages, which means attracting other businesses and making training avaialable to workers who want to change jobs. He said Union Pacific has traditionally provided good jobs, but UP’s business model is changing and they are cutting back on jobs.

Kelliher calls the platform “Vision 2020.” He also intends to make the condition of the city more visible, setting goals and reporting information publicly in a “report card-like” format that is easy-to-read and understandable.

For instance, the report card would include the amount of sales tax the city is collecting and the number of houses on the market, he said.

“Our community needs more jobs and a way to improve wages,” he said. “To achieve each, we have to make the practice of growing business simple. There should be a way for businesses to easily access information about our community.”

“Good streets are a sign of growing community,” he added. “This is another issue I want to focus on.”

“I’m running for mayor because I am concerned about North Platte,” he said. “The success and growth of our city is important to me. I want to help build a community where our children and grandchildren want to live.”

Kelliher is a graduate of North Platte High. After college, he returned to work full time at TC Engineering. In 1995, he started Netquest, the first Internet service provider in North Platte. The company grew into a coalition of internet providers in McCook, Benkelman, Hershey, Cozad, Ogallala and Valentine, he said.

For 20 years, he has worked at Great Plains Health, advancing in his information technology career from technologist to senior director and now Chief Information Officer.

Kelliher intends to spend the coming months engaging with community members, learning from their experiences and hearing their needs.

“Listening and engaging with the community is extremely important to me,” he said. “As an advocate for transparent government, I want to hear about the things that matter most to North Platte residents.”

His campaign website is bkmayor.com.

The election will be held in 2020.