Stothert has vision for city of Omaha
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 08:02
Jean Stothert could make history in the city of Omaha this May.
If elected, Stothert would be the city’s first female mayor. While she said that’s an honor, she won’t run on her gender.
“I do believe I bring a different temperament and perspective because of my gender that will be very helpful as mayor,” Stothert said. “I can bring people together for a common purpose.”
Stothert wants to work together with constituents and colleagues. She values input and opinions.
“I’m the kind of person in my elected office that I want to work with people, not against them,” Stothert said. “I think [it] would be a refreshing change in Omaha to have someone in the mayor’s office who is really interested in making people’s lives and their neighborhoods better and do that by working with them.”
What separates Stothert from the other mayoral candidates, she said, is experience. She brings years of both business and elected experience to the table.
She served on the Millard School Board for 11 years, three of those as president.
Before public service, Stothert spent 12 years as a critical care nurse and nursing manager. This included serving as a department head, where she was in charge of interviewing, organizing salaries and payroll, and budgeting. That was on top of managing eight surgeons and 40 nurses.
“I think I have the background and the experience to hit the ground running on the first day in the mayor’s office,” Stothert said.
Stothert currently serves on the City Council representing southwest Omaha in District 5. She said current City Council experience will help her in the mayoral race.
“I don’t think there’s any substitution for current knowledge,” Stothert said. “Other candidates that are challenging the mayor have been observers. There’s no substitute for being down at City Hall every day going through every agenda item.”
In her time on the City Council, Stothert has served as chairwoman of the labor negotiations committee. The City Council took negotiating duties away from the mayor and assumed the role in 2011.
Stothert led negotiations for the fire management contract, civilian contract and fire union contract.
“We’ve made great strides,” Stothert said. “We’ve saved the taxpayers millions of dollars immediately. I think the City Council and the negotiating team has done an excellent job.”
If elected, the power would still be with the City Council. Councilmembers could decide to keep the negotiating authority or give it back to the mayor.
Stothert said be fine either way, taking back the power or leaving it with the City Council.
Voting in city elections is important and every vote counts, Stothert said.
“These are really important elections if we want our city to go forward and prosper,” she said. “It’s really important to get the right leadership in there.”
Stothert has a vision for the city. She wants to start by lowering the tax base, which would require fixing union contracts.
“I want to build a more vibrant Omaha,” Stothert said. “I want it to be a place where families and youth and retirees want to call home and where businesses can prosper.”
In addition to lowering taxes, fixing contracts and making the city more vibrant, Stothert wants to modernize city government, making it more efficient and customer friendly.
Most importantly, she wants to restore trust in the mayor’s office.
“I think people need openness and honesty and transparency,” Stothert said. “That’s what I’d like to bring to the mayor’s office.”
Stothert feels well organized in her campaigning. So far, she’s personally knocked on over 4,500 doors, and her campaign team has made over 24,000 live phone calls. Reaching out personally is important, she said.
“It’s all about voter contact,” Stothert said. “We’ve got to get back to what government is about and that’s serving the people.”