Omaha Mayoral Candidate Neary, Stothert Debate

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Omaha’s mayoral candidates officially opened the election season with the first mayoral debate between challenger RJ Neary and incumbent Jean Stothert.

Stothert and Neary earned their spots on the ballot after finishing first and second in the primaries earlier this month. Before you cast your vote on Tuesday, May 11th, hear what the contestants have to say on topics that matter to Omaha.

The hour-long debate on Thursday afternoon at the Omaha Press Club spanned many areas, from affordable housing to public safety.

The political freshman said he learned a lot by being an Omaha businessman for 40 years. The incumbent’s experience with the city budget is critical to running this city.

Stothert aims to be the longest-serving mayor in modern Omaha history.

“Omaha is a great city and I would never say that it is the status quo,” she said. “If you look at the successes and dynamics of the past eight years, it is remarkable. We have a plan – we’re going to develop the strategies to keep things going. Elections are about the future. “

But Neary believes it is time for change, that eight years is enough for a mayor to serve.

“Omaha is ready for change and it needs change and that’s why I’m running,” he said. “We need new leadership that does not allow companies to leave the city center. that repairs roads and repairs them properly; and the world’s best medical center will hear that when we have a pandemic. “

Medical marijuana

6 News asked candidates to respond to something Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said last month. As the debate neared Nebraska about a bill to approve medical marijuana, the governor said, “If you legalize marijuana, you will kill your children. This is shown by the data across the country. “

None of the candidates supported the statement.

“No, I don’t agree with that. And I would support medical marijuana, ”said Stothert. “I do not support legalization for recreational use. I am a nurse. I recognize that there are many medicinal benefits to medical marijuana use. I would support that. The governor and I are allies, but that doesn’t mean I agree with every position he takes. “

Neary said, “I’ve seen mothers ask state lawmakers for medical marijuana for their children. It’s heartbreaking to see how calloused the governor is to say that. People need cancer treatments. “

Improving the streets of Omaha

There has been a lot of give and take in the city of Omaha on one hot topic: streets.

“I have a street in my neighborhood that was in the process of being replaced and they came back four times and pulled and replaced panels,” Neary said. “Something is wrong with our streets. I don’t want to test, but we had eight years to fix these issues – voters had no choice but to vote. You were pushed into a corner. “

Stothert defended the voting standard.

“The voters have spoken. You are not forced to do anything. That’s a democratic system, ”she said. “Mister. Neary said he publicly supports what we have done. We asked, ‘Do you support the bond?” And’ Do you support the tax that goes with i? ‘ And it passed overwhelmingly. “

Brain drain

Both candidates also spoke about how to keep the best and brightest here in Omaha

“I want to be optimistic and positive, but I think I deserve a touch of skepticism to make sure this happens,” said Neary. “As I knocked on doors, I heard people say they want the road to be repaired. “I don’t want to put all that money in a park.” ”

But Stothert said the city is on the right track, especially with the riverside private-public partnership.

“This riverside redevelopment will transform the city center,” she said. “If an investor put in $ 50 million and got $ 350 million back, that would be a hell of a good investment.”


Neary said this was his very first debate, but he wanted voters to know he wasn’t lacking in experience.

“For 40 years I’ve been solving problems and creating opportunities across the city of Omaha,” he said. “I will do that – with new leadership – in 19 days. You can go with the status quo or with a new leadership. “

Stothert stood by her file.

“The pandemic has presented us with challenges that we never thought we would have. We handled it well and did better than many cities across the country. We ended the year in surplus when we had such a drop in sales, ”she said.

Look at the debate on Thursday

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