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About Crystal

About Crystal

Crystal Rhoades is a lifelong resident of Omaha. Her professional experience has reached into public, private, and non-profit sectors. She is a dedicated public servant with a proven track record of improving efficiency and strong community advocacy. She has dedicated her career to being an advocate for the community, helping and empowering Omaha residents.

Crystal graduated from Omaha’s Central High School. She was named a Goodrich Scholar and obtained her degrees from the University of Nebraska at Omaha where she studied psychology, political science and public administration.

Crystal is highly involved in the community and has served on the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance and the Midtown Neighborhood Alliance. After college she worked at the Neighborhood Center where she led the effort to empower neighborhood leaders to find solutions to crime, safety, housing, and health issues by working with their elected officials to advocate for their neighborhoods. She has organized hundreds of volunteers to help maintain and enhance neighborhoods.

In 2006, Crystal was elected to the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors and has served as treasurer, secretary, and chairwoman of the board. She is a trained mediator who has used her skills to bridge partisan and urban-rural conflicts to find solutions that work for everyone.

As the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiatives (JDAI) Coordinator for Douglas County she has been part of a nationwide effort by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to improve outcomes for children who enter the juvenile justice system by working to provide alternatives to incarceration that protect public safety, save taxpayer dollars, and produce better outcomes for children in the juvenile justice system.

Crystal has been honored with a number of awards recognizing her efforts both at Metropolitan Community College and the Neighborhood Center. She was named one of the Omaha Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Omahans and received the League of Women Voter’s Making Democracy Work Award, Nebraska Democratic Party – John F. Kennedy Award, and the Nebraska’s First Lady’s Outstanding Community Service Award. She is also a graduate of the Omaha Chamber’s Leadership Omaha class 33.





Kent Bellows Studio




One of the many issues Crystal worked on while at the Neighborhood Center related to graffiti laws, ordinances, abatement and prevention. Graffiti cost the city of Omaha more than $250,000.00 annually to remove. The Neighborhood Center worked with policy makers and community leaders to develop strategies to address the problem including organizing clean ups, raising money to provide free graffiti kits through the Omaha Public Libraries, security cameras and signage, and the Keystone Trail project.

Crystal saw an opportunity to engage young people through graffiti and use their creativity for something productive instead of destructive. She approached the Kent Bellows Studio about using their urban arts program to create murals along the bike trail system.  The murals reduced unsanctioned graffiti, engage youth in a supervised after school activity, and left behind some impressive public art.


Dorothy Patach Natural Environmental Area




The Dorothy Patach Natural Environmental Area was named after a long time South Omaha neighborhood advocate.  The seven acre lot across the street from her old home was named after her by the city in recognition for her long standing commitment to South Omaha.   Crystal thought more could be done to recognize this dedicated volunteer and that the empty lot could be put to better use so she asked the leadership team of the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance to help convert the empty lot into a park to benefit the South Omaha community.  Hundreds of volunteers have planted and maintained more than 50 fruit trees that have been added to the lot.  The project has been adopted by a group called the DPNE Supporters and they continue to develop the once vacant lot into a source of local, organic, free food source for the neighborhood.


Metropolitan Community College

Crystal has a proven track record of fiscally responsible policies. As an elected official on the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors she has refused to support unnecessary tuition increases, fought for an equitable distribution of state funding for education, and has worked with administrators to reduce costs and budgets and be wise stewards of taxpayer’s money.

Under Crystal’s leadership MCC has experienced record enrollment growth while keeping tuition and taxes among the lowest in the state and providing cutting edge programming and state of the art facilities.

Crystal has worked to keep tuition stable and voted against unnecessary increases because she understands the challenges of paying for higher education. Crystal ran for the MCC board because she was once a young single mother and understands how difficult it can be for young people to pay for college. She ran for the board because while she was lucky to have strong support from her family, she understands not everyone is as fortunate as she was and wanted to try to make it easier for people in a similar circumstance to be able to obtain the education they need to be successful and care for their families. She has remembered those experiences and considers the needs of students carefully when making decisions about tuition increases.

She continues to work with our state legislators and the MCC administration to ensure that local taxpayers are getting an equitable distribution in state education funding and that our schools are getting the support they need to prepare our students for the workforce. Crystal understands how important it is that we are able to provide a quality affordable education to our community and has worked hard to ensure that we are able to do this without skyrocketing taxes or out of control tuition increases. Under her leadership the Nebraska Community College system was able to settle a long battle over state aid and able to find an equitable solution that bridged the partisan and urban/rural divide.

Crystal has worked to improve the efficiency of our college by making sure that our buildings are as green and efficient as they can be which reduces the overhead of the college. She has also supported efforts to position Metro to be a leader in green education by incorporating sustainability curriculum into many of MCC’s programs. Under her leadership Metropolitan Community College has included sustainability in more than 50 classes and the received more than 1.7 million dollars in grant funding to support the sustainability department. There is an annual savings of $78,000.00 for tax payers resulting from the reduction in energy consumption at the college.


Commitment to Our Community

Crystal has had the opportunity and privilege to work in the neighborhoods of this district on improving crime, housing, safety and health issues for many years. Crystal has worked to create, fund, and implement initiatives that will improve and preserve our community for generations. During her tenure as the Assistant Executive Director at the Neighborhood Center she had the opportunity to work with neighborhood organizations to improve their neighborhoods through initiatives like Neighborhood Scan, Address It Now!, graffiti programming, code enforcement, energy efficiency, as well as support services such as newsletters, leadership training, organizing volunteers, grant writing, and advocacy. Crystal’s work also included exciting things like reviewing city council agendas and local ordinances so to determine how the policies would impact average citizens. She spent many hours in neighborhood meetings, town hall meetings, and acting as serving as a go between for neighborhood advocates and policy makers helping them to craft quality public policy that met the needs of our community.

Crystal also coordinated hundreds of volunteer hours while at the Neighborhood Center. She organized volunteers to abate graffiti, work in Omaha Parks, clean up litter, assist flood victims, plant trees, sell fireworks, renovate a dog park, remove snow, visit nursing homes, neighborhood clean ups…you get the idea, she really likes to help people.

When asked about her work at the Neighborhood Center Crystal said, “I have assisted committed neighborhood leaders in their efforts, to not only to identify and target problems in their neighborhoods, but to find solutions, often producing amazing results with little or no financial resources to support their work.” The experience she has gained from these neighborhood leaders is that throwing money at a problem isn’t necessarily the best way to solve it. Sometimes you just need to use a proactive, not a reactive, model for addressing problems. Crystal believes if you listen carefully to the needs of the people you work for, they will help you identify the issues and tell you the best way to solve them. She believes that the best public servants are the ones who are accessible to the voters and responsive to their needs.

Crystal has also been a champion of sustainability and the environment.  Under her leadership the Neighborhood Center administered the Energy Saving Program. Residents were given free energy audits and comprehensive reports on how to reduce energy consumption, decrease utility costs, and improve comfort in their homes while helping to protect the environment. In addition to the free audits and workshops demonstrating how to make these improvements, discounts were offered by several local neighborhood businesses for residents wishing to make energy saving improvements. The initiative saved residents money, improved the environment, reduced energy consumption, and it supported local small businesses.

Crystal has also provided training and general support to neighborhood organizations that enabled them to communicate effectively within their neighborhood but also with businesses, policy makers, and other neighborhood organizations. She also assisted them with finding grant and fundraising opportunities and assisted them in securing resources for the improvement of their neighborhoods.




“Crystal Rhoades is a dynamic, hard working, dedicated elected official. I know because I have worked with her. She is thoughtful, does her home work, and above all, stands up to do the right thing. I strongly support Crystal Rhoades and urge you to vote for her as the next Omaha representative on the Nebraska Public Service Commissioner.”

— Anne Boyle, Chair, Nebraska Public Service Commissioner

“I have had the opportunity to work with Crystal Rhoades as an Omaha City Councilman and as a private citizen for many years. Throughout that time I know that Crystal has always had the taxpayer’s best interest at heart as evidenced by her leadership and work as a member of the Metropolitan Community College Board of Governors. Among her other qualifications that would make her an excellent representative for District 2 on the Public Service Commission is that she researches issues extensively, is a good organizer, an excellent communicator and problem solver. These are among the qualities we need on the Public Service Commission and Crystal has my endorsement and full support.”

— Councilmember, Garry Gernandt

“Commitment, dedication, follow-through and passion are just a few of the words I would use to describe Crystal. I worked professionally with her during her time at the Neighborhood Center and I saw first-hand how dedicated she was to the betterment of our entire community. It didn’t matter where you came from or what challenge you were facing, Crystal sat down to listen and ask questions to better understand a person’s concerns. Once she understood the concerns, she was actively pursuing lasting solutions with positive impacts both at the personal and policy levels. 

 Crystal is a dedicated, smart, and energetic servant leader, perfect for serving on the Nebraska Public Service Commission. I see this as a fantastic opportunity for her to channel her passion for creating strong and healthy Nebraska communities. She has my full support.”
- Daniel Lawse, Principal and Co-owner, Verdis Group


“Crystal Rhoades is a dynamic young woman committed to community service and so focused on results.”

-Carol Casey, Democratic Party Activist

“Crystal cares more about good results than who gets credit. She’s not a public servant out there looking for headlines, but instead just looking for the ways public policy and the right regulations can help improve people’s lives. She has the concerns of the average Nebraska family in her heart and on her mind at all times.

-Patrick Leahy, NRD Board Member

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Crystal over the years on several levels. Through my service on the Neighborhood Center board of directors, I regularly witnessed Crystal flourish as a nonprofit executive who brought a high level of leadership to the neighborhood associations and alliances in our community. As a classmate in Leadership Omaha, I was privy to the thoughtful insights Crystal held regarding the complex inner-workings of our great city. And as a nonprofit worker committed to the development of under-resourced neighborhoods, I can testify to both Crystal’s competency in dealing with the array of challenging issues facing our community, as well as her heart for seeing all people in our community live healthy and productive lives.”
 -Christian Gray, Executive Director InCommon Community Development

“While I was attending school at Metro Community College, I ran into some issues with the financial aid department. I made a phone call to Crystal and the issue was resolved by the end of the day. After speaking with her I found out that other students had similar problems.  Consequently she came up with a new system that eliminated the headache of having to wait weeks for a paper check to be issued for refunds. My daughter now attends Metro Community College and I feel secure knowing that if she has any issues we’ve got somebody on our side working for us. Crystal always goes out of her way to follow up and make sure issues are resolved. I feel confident that Crystal will make an exceptional representative for the Public Service Commission.”

-Krissy Brunt MCC Graduate

“I had the opportunity to work with Crystal Rhoades for 7 years at the Neighborhood Center. Crystal is a passionate community advocate, hardworking and committed to the betterment of our community. I believe as a member of the Public Service Commission, Crystal will bring that same passion to the job and truly be a strong advocate for consumers in her district and our state. I can think of no one more experienced and qualified to hold this important office.”

— Ronald Abdouch

“In working with Crystal in my capacity as a neighborhood leader she has shown time and time again the tenacity and knowledge that will serve the citizens of Nebraska well on the Public Service Commission. Her ability to navigate and advocate for sound policy and her years of experience are her greatest asset.”

— Mike Battershell, South Omaha Neighborhood Leader

“I have had the opportunity to work with Crystal on a number of initiatives to help protect children in our city by creating safer, greener and healthier homes and neighborhoods. Crystal is a go-getter with a passion for Omaha and for Nebraska as a whole. On several occasions, I have called on Crystal to help me when I know that the journey will be tough. She is a community builder who is willing to put the greater good ahead of herself. She is forward thinking, bold and smart.”

— Kara Henner Eastman, President and CEO, Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance

“Crystal sees the big picture and was always able to provide alternative points of view when assisting with neighborhood issues.  Her ideas, contacts, and broad knowledge of local and state issues was a great asset when seeking ways to solve problems arising in our neighborhood.  Additionally, her outgoing personality and enthusiasm encouraged and supported the Neighborhood Center and the many neighborhoods she served.”

— Carol Haas, Leavenworth Neighborhood Leader

“I have known and worked professionally with Crystal Rhoades for over 15 years. She has always been devoted to our community by improving it. Crystal is organized, articulate, informed, involved and dedicated. She would be a great Public Service Commissioner. She has my full support.”

— Council Member, Don Preister

“There are not words grand enough to express how much I enjoyed working with Crystal through the Neighborhood Center. Her strong desire to make a positive difference in the Omaha community was both obvious and contagious. Crystal is a woman of principles, and in everything she does, she works hard to forward her vision of what is equitable and practical for the community.”

— Ali Maloy, CPA, Maloy Accounting

“Crystal Rhoades is a dedicated elected official and hard-working resident of Omaha. When I ran into a problem with an unfriendly food vendor, a business with nationally known discriminatory policies, at Metropolitan Community College, Crystal Rhoades was there to handle the situation. She made one phone call and the issue was handled, on a Sunday evening, no less. I have never seen this food vendor on the MCC Campus since she stepped in, and now all MCC students can feel safe. Crystal Rhoades will not hesitate to do what needs to be done when an issue comes before the PSC. I know she will act with the same dedication on the PSC as she did with my problem while on the MCC Board of Governors.”

— Ken Riter, Douglas County Party Central Committee LD 9

“I am generally cynical about political candidates but you are somebody that makes me feel good about the process we have in place. You are the type of person I want representing me!”

— Mrs. Joseph (Deborah) Neary, Non-Profit Leader

“Working with Crystal while she was with the Neighborhood Center was a real pleasure. I could always count on her to follow through with our requests whether small or large where she was demonstrated her passion for neighborhoods and her ability to get things done. Crystal has repeatedly demonstrated through her many community service roles her ability  to represent Omaha’s citizens as our next Nebraska Public Service Commissioner.”

— Craig Howell, Non-Profit Leader

“I had the pleasure of working with Crystal in capacity building our neighborhood associations. I know she is who we need representing all of our interest in the Public Service Commission. Crystal Rhoades will not forget the interest of those who work hard to make ends meet and will have a strong backbone to stick to what is right. Simply put we need to elect Crystal Rhoades.”

— Eileen Slane, Aksarben/Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association

“My name is Steve Simpson and I am the Business Representative for the Elevator Constructors Local 28 in Nebraska. My office is located in Omaha. I have had the opportunity to work with Crystal Rhoades in her capacity as a member of the Metro Community College Board of Governors. Crystal has worked with  me and other Labor organizations in trying to insure that work that needed to be done at any of the Metro campuses would be done to the benefit of the working class. She has an open ear to any and all conversations that I have had with her, and has worked with her colleagues on the Metro Board for the middle class and working families. I consider Crystal a true friend of Labor and she would bring her efforts for the middle class to the Public Service Commission. She would also bring, as anyone who knows her a lot of energy and enthusiasm to that office as well.”

— Steven A. Simpson, Business Representative IUEC Local 28

“I have worked with Crystal for over 10 years.  It is her work at the Neighborhood Center that  provided us with the advise, directions and contacts for many of the projects we attempted.  She is a hands on person that doesn’t rest until the job is done.  She  is definitely the right person to be elected to the Public Service Commission.”

— Duane Brooks, Past President South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance

“Crystal Rhoades will continue to make positive impacts in our community through the Nebraska Public Service Commission. As evidenced by her career and volunteering, she has a true passion for improving the lives of Omaha citizens. In particular, her efforts for through the South Omaha Neighborhood Alliance and Neighborhood Center, have made dramatic differences to families and individuals, empowering them to enrich their neighborhood and increase the health and safety of their loved ones. As Commissioner, Crystal will be able to continue her good work and make a fine successor to Anne Boyle.”

— Robert Patterson, Non-Profit Leader

“As Business Manager for The Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Local #538, I can tell you that “Labor” has more than it’s share of complex issues to deal with. Crystal has always made herself available to sit down and discuss these issues with myself as well as other labor leaders whenever asked. I can count on Crystal to give us her thoughts on how best to address a given issue and while we might not always agree I know I am getting honest and thoughtful feedback. That is something we value. Here at Local #538 we consider Crystal a trusted friend and we look forward to continuing to work with her into the future.”

— Gregg D Rhoades/Business Manager OP&CMIA Local #538/Nebraska/USA

What is PSC?

What is PSC?

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is a state constitutional office charged with consumer safety and advocacy.  The Commission makes sure that the best interests of Nebraskans are protected.  The PSC regulates telecommunications carriers, natural gas jurisdictional utilities, railroad safety, household goods movers and passenger carriers, grain warehouses and dealers, construction of manufactured and modular homes and recreational vehicles, high voltage electric transmission lines, and private water company rates. The Commission also oversees and administers several statutorily created funds with specific legislative purposes and goals including the Nebraska Universal Service Fund, the Enhanced Wireless 911 Fund, and the Nebraska Telecommunications Relay System Fund.  There are many things that fall under the umbrella of the Public Service Commission, but the most important thing is to act as a consumer advocacy body that protects the interests of the people of Nebraska.

Nebraska Telecommunications Infrastructure and Public Safety

The Nebraska Telecommunications Infrastructure and Public Safety (NTIPS) Department administers the Nebraska Universal Service Fund (NUSF), the Wireless Enhanced 911 Fund, and the Nebraska Telephone Assistance Program (NTAP). The NUSF administers programs to ensure that all Nebraskans have access to quality telecommunications and information services at affordable and comparable rates. The Enhanced Wireless 911 Fund provides funding to implement and maintain enhanced wireless 911 service, which provides the wireless caller’s location information to the 9-1-1 center. NTAP assists qualifying low-income individuals with keeping telephone services by lowering monthly service rates.

For more information on this topic visit: www.psc.state.ne.us


The Nebraska Public Service Commission implements key provisions of the 1996 Telecommunications Act that facilitate competition while maintaining quality and affordable service.

 For more information about this topic visit: www.psc.state.ne.us

Natural Gas

The Natural Gas Department regulates rates and service quality of investor-owned natural gas public utilities, pursuant to the State Natural Gas Regulation Act (Neb. Rev. Stat. sec. 66-1801 et seq.), passed by the Nebraska Legislature in 2003.

For more information about this topic visit: www.psc.state.ne.us


The Motor Transportation Department regulates the intrastate transportation by motor carriers of passengers and household goods on the public highways of the State of Nebraska.

The PSC regulates transportation safety for a wide range of industry including passenger transit, moving companies, and train tracks. The PSC makes sure companies are licensed, insured, and keeping cars, trucks, buses, and rail lines safe.  Nebraska has 3,461 miles of train track carrying food, coal, chemicals, building supplies, and much more.  The PSC makes sure it’s done safely. If you want someone with a track record of improving safety in our community please vote for me May 13.

For more information about this topic visit: www.psc.state.ne.us

Grain Department

The Grain Department is responsible for the licensing and enforcement of the Grain Warehouse Act, the Grain Dealer Act, the Grain Moisture Meter and Mechanical Probe Inspection Program, as well as conducting soy bean audits for the Nebraska Soy Bean Board.

If you like to eat, you care about the PSC and grain elevators. If a grain elevator isn’t run properly, it could cause the economy of Nebraska to collapse because they function like banks in rural communities. There is a temptation for city people to say so what, but agriculture accounts for 24 billion annually in Nebraska, and if the infrastructure collapses we have a problem. Food prices will rise, there could be food shortages and that will have a ripple effect on our economy. If you like eating and want a candidate who understands how food gets from dirt to dinner plate, please vote for me May 13.

For more information about this topic visit: www.psc.state.ne.us

Housing and Recreational Vehicle Department

The Housing and Recreational Vehicle Department’s programs are designed to protect the health and safety of occupants in manufactured homes, modular homes, and recreational vehicles.

For more information on this topic visit: www.psc.state.ne.us

Brief History of the Commission

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (Commission) is a constitutionally created executive body established under Article IV, Section 20 of the Nebraska Constitution. The Commission is comprised of five elected Commissioners serving six-year terms. The Commission was initially created by the Legislature in 1885 to regulate railroads, but was not firmly established until the passage of a constitutional amendment in 1906 creating a three member elected Railway Commission. Membership was increased to five Commissioners in 1964 and the state was divided into five districts, each to elect a commissioner. The name was changed to the Public Service Commission by a general election vote in 1972.

Today the Commission regulates telecommunications carriers, natural gas jurisdictional utilities, major oil pipelines, railroad safety, household goods movers and passenger carriers, grain warehouses and dealers, construction of manufactured and modular homes and recreational vehicles, high voltage electric transmission lines, and private water company rates. The Commission also oversees and administers several statutorily created funds with specific legislative purposes and goals including the Nebraska Universal Service Fund, the Enhanced Wireless 911 Fund, and the Nebraska Telecommunications Relay System Fund.

The Commission is active on local, state, and national levels and contributes on all levels to determine policy regarding the future of communications and universal service. Many Commissioners, past and present, have served on boards, committees, and advisory groups to recommend and give insight on policy matters to both state and federal agencies and legislative bodies.


Campaign News

May 7, 2014
Rhoades a good choice to replace Boyle
January 10, 2014
Crystal Rhoades background verified by Ballotpedia

September 04, 2013

Anne Boyle to retire from PSC

After serving 17 years on the Nebraska Public Service Commission, Anne Boyle said Wednesday she plans to retire when her term ends in January 2015…Boyle has endorsed Crystal Rhoades, a member of the board of governors at Metropolitan Community College, to follow her on the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

Read Article via Journalstar.com


September 04, 2013

Boyle not only announced her retirement Wednesday, but she also announced an endorsement.

She said she will be supporting Crystal Rhoades, a neighborhood community activist in Omaha who also has been elected twice to the board of governors of the Metropolitan Community College.

“I am gratified Crystal Rhoades has decided to run for the Omaha seat,” Boyle said. “Crystal is a dynamic public servant. She has proven to be a hard worker who is willing to make difficult decisions.”

Read Article via Omaha.com



Have a Question?

Feel free to contact Crystal directly.


© 2013 Paid for by Friends for Crystal Rhoades PSC, 4565 Shirley St., Omaha NE 68106