Candidate Profile:Jim Suttle
OMAHA(KPTM)--Jim Suttle has been Omaha's mayor for nearly four years.
"I tell you it is so rewarding, I campaigned to be the people's mayor." he said. "We may stop in a mall or whatever just to have coffee and interact with people as they go by. This is the most rewarding part of being mayor."
Getting out from behind the desk is something he started back when he served as Omaha's Public Works Director.
"I even had a mayor criticize me 'you're never in his office' well, no I'm not in my office. I'm seeing what's going on in the streets, seeing what's going on with the crews, seeing what's going on with the operations of public works to see what's going on to make things better," Suttle said.
He said that's a technique he's used during his time in City Hall, both while on the City Council and as Omaha's Mayor.
In 2011, Suttle survived a midterm recall election and one of the worst floods the city's ever seen. But he says none of that slowed him down.
"We've certainly brought the city back from financial chaos. My legacy is establishing the financial strength of the city and saving the city from this 104 day flood," he said.
Now he said the city can focus on other tasks.
He wants to make doing business with the city easier for people by putting more processes online.
Adding jobs and lowering crimes are still top priorities.
He says his administration is working on several big projects that should bring jobs to the metro.
The Crossroads mall, the UNMC cancer center and working on the Civic Center are some of them.
He said his number one economic priority is working on the Ames/Locust Industrial Park with the Chamber of Commerce.
Suttle said he adding jobs is part of his plan to combat crime.
He said he also wants to focus on public libraries which offer free tutoring and computers for the public.
He also has long term plans for getting Omaha's public transportation updated.
One of the biggest things his opponents have hammered him on are the taxes, like the 2% restaurant tax, added during his term.
But he said Omaha is not heavily taxed.
"Great cities invest in themselves, we fixed the financials of the city so the city can be a good partner," he said. "Good partners bring investment dollars to the table and share the risk with the partners on the other side."
Omaha has received a number of glowing recommendations during the mayor's term including being name the number one place to raise children and being the top city to weather the recession. His campaign said those commendations stretch for pages.
But he said, now the city needs a way to market that to attract businesses and more jobs. Suttle said he has plenty of ideas on how to do that going forward.
Suttle said his favorite part of working in public office continues to be Omaha's people.
"The people have a high degree of work ethic, they have a high degree of caring about themselves and their families. Our community is a giving community," he said.
And he's asking the community for one thing:
"The job. I'm going to ask for four more years and a second term as your mayor," he said.