OMAHA, Neb. — A former Nebraska lawmaker and Omaha mayoral candidate has taken a job with two prominent child advocacy groups.

The Holland Children’s Institute and Holland Children’s Movement announced Tuesday that they have hired former state Sen. Heath Mello as their new chief operating officer.

Andy Holland, the president of both groups, says she hopes to expand their roles in research and public policy.

Mello served in the Legislature from 2009 to 2017 and spent his final term as chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee. Mello, a Democrat, ran for Omaha mayor but lost to incumbent Republican Mayor Jean Stothert in the May 10 election.

The late Omaha philanthropist Richard D. Holland founded the groups as sister organizations in 2013.