Paula Lamanna is the latest to announce her bid for Douglas County Commissioner in District 2.

The District 2 race is swelling rapidly. Lamanna is one of five candidates to have stepped up in hopes of succeeding Kyle Steinburg, the embattled Republican incumbent. Steinburg, who was first elected in 2016, announced recently that he will not stand for reelection.

Lamanna's background indicates a multi-faceted candidate. She is employed as a therapeutic exercise specialist, working primarily with seniors and those beset by neurological problems. But she studied agriculture at Washington State. (More recently Lamanna earned a BBA - Bachelor of Business Administration - in sustainable enterprise management.)

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One could argue that Douglas County's much-publicized growth spurt has come at a cost to small and mid-sized farmers. Lamanna hears from them frequently and says she'll take their concerns into account.

"Today this guy came up to me and he's like, "'I used to have acres of orchard up by Wal-Mart. Now we're just planting houses. We don't plant trees anymore.'"

Lamanna is noteworthy for her party affiliation - or lack thereof - and humanistic rhetoric. A self-described independent, her household growing up was starkly divided along party lines. She says this affords her an unusually even-handed perspective.

"I was raised with a mother that's Republican and a father that's Democrat," Lamanna says. "I agree with both and there are things where I'm like, 'Oh, that's interesting!'"

"It's about the person, not the party. I love people."

In her personal life, Lamanna is a former foster parent with seven years' experience. Here, too, her nonpartisanship was helpful, she says. She was reliant on people - often complete strangers - whose views differed from her own.

Click here to learn about one of Lamanna's opponents in the District 2 race.

2024 Farmers’ Almanac Spring Weather Forecast

Gallery Credit: Mary K