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Open Coffee with Senator Tony Vargas

  • No More Empty Cups 1502 South 10th Street Ste #100 Omaha, NE, 68108 United States (map)

Open Coffees are an opportunity to sit down with one our city's most impacting and influencial people. You'll hear their personal story and perhaps ask that key question that might inspire a new idea for you! All events are free and open to the public.


More about Tony:

Senator Tony Vargas has devoted his career to public service and advocacy and is currently serving in the Nebraska Legislature as the Senator from District 7, representing South and Downtown Omaha. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, State-Tribal Relations Committee, and Vice Chair of the Legislature's Planning Committee, Tony has worked to balance the state’s budget while also protecting vital state services and acting as a voice for the underprivileged. In his first legislative session, Tony introduced LB 427, which sought to remove barriers to education faced by pregnant and parenting students. In his brief time in the Unicameral, Tony has emerged as a thoughtful and compassionate leader, capable of working across party lines to improve the lives of all Nebraskans.

Prior to his time in the Legislature, Tony served as a member of the Omaha Public Schools Board, where he represented the communities of downtown and South Omaha, and served more than 52,000 students and 86 schools across the city. In this role, he was a tireless advocate for closing the achievement gap, addressing systemic inequities, and for increasing parent and community engagement.

Tony is the son of Peruvian immigrants who worked in manufacturing -- his father, Antonio, a machinist, and his mother, Lidia, an assembly line worker in a factory. Living paycheck-to-paycheck as a young Latino family in New York City shaped his perspectives on jobs, education, and opportunity. Because of these experiences, Tony has always stood up for working families and fought to protect the American Dream.

Tony learned the values of community, hard work, and perseverance from his parents, who, despite their humble beginnings, sacrificed everything to provide their children with an opportunity for a brighter future. His two older brothers also played a key role in his life, paving the way for what was possible. His oldest brother, Gene, proudly served our country in the United States Navy, and his middle brother, Charles, works in a public school as a bilingual math teacher. As strong community leaders, both brothers mentor, coach, and advocate for underserved youth and their families.

Tony began his career as a public school teacher in New York City with Teach for America. He received the award of “Most Outstanding Teacher” in 2008 from the New York City Council and also received the “Teacher of the Year” award from the local Lions Club. His next role was as an instructional and leadership development coach, where he worked with teachers and school leaders across the highest-need public schools in the New York City Department of Education. As a result of his work, he was appointed to serve on the New York State Board of Education Professional Teacher Standards and Practices Board, where he advised state leaders on education policy impacting teacher support and development. Since then, he has worked in the non-profit and education sectors, striving to improve the quality of education of thousands of children across the United States.

For his work, Tony has been awarded the “Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development” Fellowship (BILLD), the Nebraska ACLU “Defender of the Bill of Rights” Award, the Omaha Jaycees “Ten Outstanding Young Omahans” (TOYO) Award, and the Junior Chamber International (JCI) “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” (TOYA) Award.

Tony is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications at Omaha Health Kids Alliance and is also proud to serve as a founding board member for the New Leaders Council-Omaha, is a board member of the South Omaha Business Association, and is a member of Metro Young Latino/a Professional Associaiton (MYLPA). Tony is a proud first generation college student, Tony earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at University of Rochester and a Master's in Education at Pace University. He and his wife, Lauren Micek Vargas, live in the Little Italy neighborhood of South Omaha and are proud Catholic parishioners of St. Frances Cabrini Church.
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What is "Open Coffee"?
It's about creating juxtaposing collisions of inspiring people - a catalyst to think outside the box and expose us to new connections. Every Tuesday leaders, entrepreneurs, activists, philanthropists and anyone invested in creating a better community gather for a casual coffee together. More info at Open Coffee Omaha Fb page
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Who would you like to see present at "Open Coffee with"?
Send us a message & let us know!
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Earlier Event: January 1
The Art of the Brick
Later Event: January 4
I Am Not Your Negro