State Sen. Brad Ashford on Tuesday officially launched his campaign for mayor, saying he wants to lead Omaha into a new era of collaboration and progress.
“My experience has proven that problems are solved only after ditching labels and working together toward a common solution,” said Ashford, a registered independent who has been a Republican and a Democrat.
The job of Omaha mayor is officially nonpartisan.
Ashford is one of four challengers running in the 2013 election against Mayor Jim Suttle, a Democrat who is seeking a second term after surviving last year's recall election. The other candidates are Republicans: Councilwoman Jean Stothert, former council President Dan Welch and businessman Dave Nabity, who helped lead the recall effort.
Ashford said public safety would be his top priority. He also wants to fix the city's pension system, spur economic development and merge the city and county governments.
Ashford said he has a solid track record of building trust and working with other officials to solve problems. In contrast, he said, the current atmosphere in city government is so discordant that the City Council took away Suttle's authority to negotiate a new fire contract.
“We're divided in Omaha,” he said. “I want to bring everybody back together again.”
Ashford's campaign kickoff event at the Happy Hollow Country Club drew donors from both parties.
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