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Omaha City Council sworn in; Stothert starts third term as mayor

Omaha City Council sworn in; Stothert starts third term as mayor

Councilmembers sworn in

Omaha City Council members are sworn into office Monday.

The Legislative Chambers in City Hall were packed Monday as a new Omaha City Council was sworn in and Jean Stothert took the oath for her third term as mayor.

Council members then selected returning incumbents for leadership positions.

Pete Festersen of District 1, which includes Dundee, Benson and Florence, will serve as council president after receiving four votes. Aimee Melton, who represents northwest Omaha, received three.

Vinny Palermo of District 4 in South Omaha will serve as vice president.

New council members Juanita Johnson, Danny Begley and Don Rowe took their seats in the legislative chamber alongside incumbents Festersen, Palermo, Melton and Brinker Harding. 

Jean Stothert was sworn in for her third term as Omaha mayor, with Rep. Don Bacon providing his fellow Republican's introduction.

"When you do polling, public safety is always No. 1, and the mayor's really done a great job. She's added 100 police to the police force, she added a new precinct in Elkhorn, and even after the tough time that we had a year ago ... Mayor Stothert took very proud and appropriate action."

For her third term, Stothert said her priorities include improving city streets, addressing the health and economic consequences of COVID-19, and focusing on public safety.

"(I will) continue to make Omaha a safer community and make a very good Police Department even better," she said. "Public safety is our most critical obligation, and I am confident in the progress that we will continue to make."

Festersen congratulated Stothert for being elected to her third term, "and under very difficult personal circumstances as well," he said, referring to the death of Stothert’s husband, Dr. Joe Stothert, who died by suicide outside the couple’s southwest Omaha home in early March.

Council members spoke on issues that came up throughout their campaigns, namely inclusivity, economic recovery, public health and public transit. 

Stothert also shared some advice to the council's new members.

"Public trust is critical to success," she said. "We can earn trust by being open, transparent and responsive. Trust is not given but earned, and without it, our jobs are very difficult.", 402-444-1067

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Jessica Wade covers breaking news, crime and the Omaha zoo. Follow her on Twitter @Jess_Wade_OWH. Phone: 402-444-1067

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