|Member of the Nebraska Legislature
from the 11th district
|Preceded by||Ernie Chambers|
|Succeeded by||Ernie Chambers|
|Spouse(s)||Otha Kenneth Council|
|Residence||North Omaha, Nebraska|
|Alma mater||University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Creighton University|
Brenda J. Council was a labor lawyer in North Omaha, Nebraska. She represented the 11th District in the Nebraska State Legislature from 2009 to 2013, serving as the successor of long-time state senator Ernie Chambers who was term-limited. Council lost her re-election bid in 2012 to Chambers, who was able to run for the seat again after sitting out one term.
Council has served on the Omaha School Board and the Omaha City Council, and ran for mayor in 1994 and 1997, losing both elections by slim margins. She was formerly western regional president of the National Caucus of Black School Board Members. She was featured three times in Ebony Magazine due to her prominence as an Omaha leader and she is a permanent roundtable member of the Omaha KETV television Sunday morning talk show, Kaleidoscope
In February 2008, Council filed to run for the seat in the Nebraska State Legislature being vacated by Senator Ernie Chambers, who had been a state senator for 38 years but was barred from seeking re-election due to a new term limits law. In November 2008, she was elected to the Nebraska Legislature. Council ran for re-election in 2012 but lost to Chambers, who was able to run for the legislature again after sitting out one four-year term.
Council was born in Omaha, attended Omaha Central High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (class of 1974). She received a law degree from Creighton University Law School in 1977. She is married to Otha Kenneth Council.
Council's work and leadership has garnered widespread attention. She has earned numerous awards and honors including the Urban League of Nebraska's National Prominence Award, selection as the Nebraska Outstanding Young Woman, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Teachers College Alumni Award of Excellence, the African American award of the Durham Western Heritage Museum and installation as the 62nd Face on the Floor of the Omaha Press Club.
Campaign fund violations
On September 12, 2012, Council agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor charges stemming from allegations that she misused campaign cash at casinos and filed false reports concealing that. She withdrew $63,000 at casinos over the last several years and deposited $36,000 in cash. In December, 2013 she was sentenced to probation and given a relatively modest fine of $500 for felony wire fraud. She was subsequently charged in federal court with wire fraud and pleaded guilty, receiving a sentence of three years' probation along with fines and assesments of $600.
On September 12, 2014, the Nebraska Supreme Court disbarred Council, based on misuse of campaign funds. A referee had recommended a one-year suspension followed by two years of probation, but the Court held that harsher discipline was called for. The Court noted that since the 1990s, it had disbarred all but two attorneys in cases of conversion. It found that those two cases were distinguishable from Council's case. In both of those cases, the attorney had self-reported the misconduct, a factor which was not present in Council's case. The high court held that the conversion of campaign funds is equally serious to converting client funds and warranted disbarment.
- Brenda Council. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
- She received 43% of the vote in 1994 and lost by 735 votes in 1997, see Husker Alumni Achievement Award Biography