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Omaha mayoral candidates talk solutions for the city

Posted at 10:17 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 23:21:19-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Early voting has already begun for Omaha’s primary election, but candidates running for the mayoral seat are still hoping to sway those undecided voters.

On Wednesday the Heartland Workers Center, One Omaha and Spark CDI hosted a forum for those eyeing Omaha’s most public seat.

Mayor Jean Stothert, who is hoping to secure a third term, was invited to the forum, but was unable to participate according to her campaign team.

While all the candidates have varying ideas of how to run the city, they all agreed there are a number of issues they could be inheriting, should they win.

Kimara Snipes said the issue of homelessness needs to be addressed by working with established agencies, not through criminalization like Omaha’s current ban on panhandling on medians.

“We have to get the right people together," Snipes said. "We cannot arrest our way out of this issue. We have to address income. We have to address housing.”

Going hand-in-hand with that was the need for safe and affordable housing, which Jasmine Harris said should be in all parts of the city.

“We need to start making a strategic plan, where we are addressing how we are talking about quality, affordable housing," Harris said. "Holding landlords to those safety and health standards. We have room for everyone.”

Mark Gudgel said Omaha is in need of better transportation and better budgeting.

“We already can’t afford to maintain the roads we have, which is why we also need to stop annexing everything we can get our hands on," Gudgel said. "It’s more roads, it’s more sewers. We can’t pay the bills we have, and we just took on far more.”

And all the candidates said there has to be a better way for the community to reach out to its leaders.

RJ Neary says citizens are tossed from person to person when using the Mayor’s hotline.

“There’s technology we can do to help citizens be more engaged to City Hall," Neary said. "And I’m going to have community connections, where we’re going to meet every couple of months and talk about things that are going on in our communities in all parts of town.”

Voters will have their final say on who they believe has the best solutions to these issues on April 6.

Over the coming weeks, 3 News Now is looking to talk with every person who wants to lead the city as Omaha's next mayor.

WATCH THE FULL FORUM:

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