Omaha state senator Heath Mello announced he wants to challenge current Omaha mayor Jean Stothert as she tries to go for a second term.
Mello said he wants a vision for the city because he says there isn’t one right now.
“Right now, the city needs pro-active leadership,” said Mello.
Mello said he wants to create more high-paying jobs, fix Omaha roads, develop a better riverfront and re-engaging the community.
“We really are at a crossroads in regards of becoming a national leader in biomedical research, we have opportunities with our riverfront, we know we have crumb ling infrastructure that needs big solutions to be solved,” said Mello.
Mello is a husband and dad of two young children. At 37-year-old Mello says it matters to him what the future of Omaha looks like years down the road for future generations.
He says his years representing South Omaha in his 8-years in the legislature helped the entire city.
“Prison reform, public safety, public infrastructure, bringing in companies like Uber and Lyft to be able to operate in Omaha and Lincoln, working through those tough negations to help solve those problems and that's what Omaha needs right now,” said Mello.
Stressing the importance of the city’s youth, Mello said a main focus needs to be on them.
“Our number one export as a city right now is our young people and our talent, we've got to have a mayor that's is focusing every single day of trying to keep our young people, our young adults,” said Mello.
He hit mayor Stothert hard on one of her campaign promises getting rid of the restaurant tax-bringing in millions of dollars to the city.
“We've seen empty promises made three-and-a-half years ago to get rid of taxes full well knowing that the city could never do that in this current economic climate-so I’m not going to do that and make those kind of empty promises around any issue,” said Mello.
While the race for mayor is technically non-partisan Mello is a Democrat, whereas Stothert is a Republican.
Mayor Jean Stothert released the following statement after Mello announced he is running against her:
“I do intend to run for re-election next year. we expect to kick things off this fall, at which time I will discuss our goals for the future and our successful first term, in which we have reduced crime, decreased property taxes and made new investments to repair our streets. Right now, we are focused on Tuesday’s city council budget vote to make sure we have the best possible 2017 budget and another property tax rate reduction for Omaha taxpayers."