Suttle will seek a second term

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June 12th, 2012

Omaha, NE – Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle announced Tuesday he will run for a second term next year.

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“Tonight I want to ask you to join me, to continue as part of the Suttle team, as we move forward to seek a second term in 2013.”

Mayor Suttle talks with supporters at a gathering downtown Tuesday night. Councilman Ben Gray, right, joined supporters. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Mayor Suttle addressed an enthusiastic crowd of supporters at the Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill, just blocks from many of the city’s newest highlights, including College World Series host TD Ameritrade Park and freshly-minted shops and restaurants in Omaha’s newest downtown neighborhood, NoDo. While those developments began under Suttle’s predecessor, Mike Fahey, Suttle emphasized his support of private sector growth and neighborhood revitalization, touting his own neighborhood successes in newly-hip Benson and accolade-gathering Dundee. But, he said, there’s still much work to be done.

“We still have created a lot of jobs in the private sector,” Suttle said. “This has given us one of the lowest, if not the lowest, unemployment rates in the nation. But we still have a sector of our city with 20% unemployment. And we are going to solve that problem and drive that statistic down where it should be at 3.9 like the rest of the state.”

Suttle was joined by fellow leading Democrats from the area, including Omaha City Councilman Ben Gray, State Senator Brenda Council and U.S. House candidate John Ewing. He emphasized his collaborative approach as leader of the city since 2009 and, using the example of the Missouri River flood last year, said much can be accomplished when a city pulls together.

Suttle announcing his candidacy, flanked by family members. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

“That flood could have easily forced thousands of people out of their homes,” Suttle said. “It could have shut down the College World Series. It could have shut down our airport, strangling our economy and our access to global markets. It could have shut down our Convention Center and parts of the downtown, including this building we’re standing in.”

“But it’s amazing, the team … worked hard, we saved our city,” he said. “We succeeded and we beat the 2011 historic flood.”

Suttle’s announcement party was a birthday celebration/ fundraiser. The Mayor turns 68 Wednesday, and he’ll likely forego birthday presents for cash. After an expensive and narrowly-survived recall election over tax hikes last year, Suttle is looking to replenish his campaign reserves for 2013.

He could face several candidates in the May election, including State Senator Brad Ashford of Omaha, who recently changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. Republican opponents could include Omaha City Councilmembers Jean Stothert and Franklin Thompson who have both been mentioned as possible candidates. No Democrats have announced they will challenge Suttle in the April primary.

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