Meet Jean Stothert, Omaha’s first elected woman mayor

Voters in Omaha, Neb. elected Republican Jean Stothert to be their next mayor on Tuesday, elevating a woman to the city's top job for the first time ever and a Republican for the first time in 16 years.

Expect to hear more about Stothert in the coming months and years. If she is popular, serving as mayor of the state's biggest city will likely thrust her into future conversations about higher office, like governor, or a spot in Congress. Here's her introductory campaign ad:

So, just who is Stothert?

The 59-year-old is a native of Wood River, Ill., who moved to Omaha in 1992 with her family, according to a recent profile in the Omaha World-Herald. She's tall, intense, and wonky, the World-Herald notes:

Stothert is easy to spot in any crowd. She is 6 feet tall, and when she wears high heels — as she frequently does — she towers over most people in a room. She's a talker who likes to get down in the weeds when discussing policy issues. And she can be intense, working hard to try to persuade her audiences to see things from her point of view.

Stothert earned her bachelor's degree from Seattle Pacific University. She embarked on a nursing career, including a stint as department head of cardiovascular surgery at St. Louis University.

Her earliest experience with elected office came at the school board level. Stothert was appointed to the Millard School Board in 1997 and re-elected for three terms, according to her campaign biography. She won a seat on the Omaha City Council in 2009.

Stothert easily defeated incumbent Jim Suttle Tuesday, an embattled Democrat who narrowly survived a recall election in 2011 and was politically hamstrung by a tax increase he signed.

In the campaign, Stothert pledged to slash the mayor's salary and office budget by 10 percent and refused a taxpayer funded car.

With her husband of 32 years, physician Joe Stothert, the mayor-elect has two children, a 26-year-old daughter and a 24-year-old son.

Stothert will be sworn in on June 10.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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