Greater Oklahoma City Chamber - Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Election Guide

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Election Guide

Oklahoma City Council and Oklahoma City Public Schools Board will hold elections on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Read on for an overview of the candidates’ priorities based on their feedback to a recent Chamber survey.

City Council Ward 1

City Council Ward 3

City Council Ward 4

City Council Ward 7

School Board Chairperson

School Board District 1

School Board District 2

OKLAHOMA CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS - Wards 1, 3, 4 and 7

A total of 13 candidates filed to run for Oklahoma City Council elections, including incumbents James Greiner (Ward 1), Larry McAtee (Ward 3) and John Pettis (Ward 7). In Ward 4, incumbent Pete White is retiring and did not file for re-election.

The Chamber surveyed the candidates on a variety of issues including each candidate’s priorities, the use of public funds for a convention center hotel, the use of the City’s Economic Development Trust to recruit companies to Oklahoma City and support for tax increment financing districts.

Of the 13 candidates who received the survey, 11 responded. Read their full responses.

 

Ward 1:

James Greiner (incumbent)
Senior graphic designer at Hobby Lobby

Background: Greiner was first elected to City Council in 2013. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University.

In his own words: “Specifically, my priorities are: Improving streets, improving public safety (specifically hiring more police officers), conservative financial management, strengthening Ward 1 neighborhoods and fighting and preventing blight.”

Jonathan Clour
Radio show host for Oklahoma Voice on KTLV 1220 AM

Background: Clour ran for State House District 43 in 2014. He lost in a run-off election to Rep. John Paul Jordan.

In his own words: “If elected to the City Council, a main priority would be to continue the push to assist in the development of Oklahoma City. We must have a livable city in order to continue growth.”

Chris Gordon
Adjunct instructor at OSU-OKC

Background: Gordon is a U.S. Navy veteran and formerly worked for SandRidge Energy. He graduated from Southern Nazarene University and is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City Class XI.

In his own words: “I see this as an opportunity to bridge the downtown and suburban divides that have/are being created by current members of the council and their destructive rhetoric.”

 

Chamber

Greiner (i)

Clour

Gordon

Do you support the City of OKC participating in a public/private partnership (in which public funds would be used) to build a convention center hotel for OKC's new convention center that was approved by voters as a MAPS 3 project?

YES

No

Yes

Yes

Do you support allowing voters to decide whether to tax themselves to build a Regional Transit/Commuter Rail System in central Oklahoma (to connect, for example, Norman, Edmond, OKC and Tinker AFB)?

YES

Maybe

Yes

Yes

Do you support the continued use of the City's Economic Development Trust to recruit companies to locate in OKC?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

With regard to future MAPS elections, do you believe funds, if approved by voters, should be used only to construct Transformational Projects/Development as in the past?

YES

No

Yes

Yes

Do you support the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to support economic development in OKC?

YES

Yes, but only if the area needs it

Yes

Yes

Do you support the use of eminent domain to acquire private property to facilitate the implementation of future MAPS projects?

YES

Maybe

Yes

Yes

Do you support the state's Historical Building Tax credit which has been used by the City to renovate buildings such as the Skirvin Hotel?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you believe the Inter-model Hub for OKC's bus, Amtrak and commuter rail service (if approved by voters) should be located at the Santa Fe Station in downtown OKC?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ward 3:

Larry McAtee (incumbent)
Consultant, Author with Ironsharpeners, Inc.

Background: McAtee was first elected to City Council in 2001 and is a graduate of Princeton University and New York University.

In his own words: “My priorities will be roads, public safety, economic development (including the Innovation District), completing MAPS 3 as promised, planning for GO bonds in 2017 and continuing into MAPS 4 (to include a convention hotel and a component for strengthening neighborhoods).”

Joe “Sarge” Nelson
Retired general contractor

Background: Nelson is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He ran for mayor of Oklahoma City four times, most recently in 2014.

Nelson did not respond to the Chamber survey.

Matthew Olsen
Director of Big Truck Tacos

Background: Olsen is a self-described progressive who is an advocate for open government.

In his own words: “The issues I'd like to address are improvements to roads & infrastructure, education, renovations & revitalization, and taking care of police and firefighters. Furthermore what I would love to do is push some of the upcoming bond finances to help make some progress for the west side of OKC.”

 

Chamber

McAtee (i)

Nelson

Olsen

Do you support the City of OKC participating in a public/private partnership (in which public funds would be used) to build a convention center hotel for OKC's new convention center that was approved by voters as a MAPS 3 project?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

Do you support allowing voters to decide whether to tax themselves to build a Regional Transit/Commuter Rail System in central Oklahoma (to connect, for example, Norman, Edmond, OKC and Tinker AFB)?

YES

Yes

N/A

Yes

Do you support the continued use of the City's Economic Development Trust to recruit companies to locate in OKC?

YES

Yes

N/A

Don't know

With regard to future MAPS elections, do you believe funds, if approved by voters, should be used only to construct Transformational Projects/Development as in the past?

YES

No

N/A

Yes

Do you support the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to support economic development in OKC?

YES

Yes

N/A

Yes

Do you support the use of eminent domain to acquire private property to facilitate the implementation of future MAPS projects?

YES

Yes

N/A

Don't know

Do you support the state's Historical Building Tax credit which has been used by the City to renovate buildings such as the Skirvin Hotel?

YES

Yes

N/A

Yes

Do you believe the Inter-model Hub for OKC's bus, Amtrak and commuter rail service (if approved by voters) should be located at the Santa Fe Station in downtown OKC?

YES

Yes

N/A

Yes

Ward 4:

Doris Mangiaracina Benbrook, Ph.D.
Professor and cancer research at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Background: Benbrook is an internationally-recognized leader in anti-cancer drug development, a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and a consultant for Procter & Gamble. Benbrook received her doctorate from Loyola University Medical Center.

In her own words: “I respect the accomplishments of the Oklahoma City Council, especially with regard to MAPS projects, and believe that I could be an effective and integral member of this team. Economic development would be my first priority because it is the fundamental key to maintaining and improving Oklahoma City.”

Walter Kula
Air Force Junior ROTC aerospace science instructor at Choctaw High School

Background: Kula is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and the current chairman of the City’s Traffic and Transportation Commission. He’s vocal in the anti-Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike movement.

In his own words: “The City Council has to ensure that we oversee the running of our city (the now and short term)… I am a firm believer in Management by Objectives. We must have a strong strategic plan with specific tactical implementation plans.”

Richard Morrissette
Attorney

Background: Morrissette is a 12-year Democratic member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, representing House District 92. He was term-limited in 2016.

In his own words: “Our City has achieved incredible progress over the last two decades. Working together, we can, and must, continue this momentum.”

Todd Stone
President and CEO of Dub Stone Construction

Background: Stone is a homebuilder and developer. He has received strong support from State Rep. Chris Kannady (R-Oklahoma City). His son is State Rep. Shane Stone (D-Oklahoma City).

In his own words: “The investment in the heart of the city has been great and needs to continue, but investment also has to be spread to the different areas or we will run a risk of losing the level of support that we currently enjoy.”

 

Chamber

Benbrook

Kula

Morrissette

Stone

Do you support the City of OKC participating in a public/private partnership (in which public funds would be used) to build a convention center hotel for OKC's new convention center that was approved by voters as a MAPS 3 project?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support allowing voters to decide whether to tax themselves to build a Regional Transit/Commuter Rail System in central Oklahoma (to connect, for example, Norman, Edmond, OKC and Tinker AFB)?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support the continued use of the City's Economic Development Trust to recruit companies to locate in OKC?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

With regard to future MAPS elections, do you believe funds, if approved by voters, should be used only to construct Transformational Projects/Development as in the past?

YES

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to support economic development in OKC?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support the use of eminent domain to acquire private property to facilitate the implementation of future MAPS projects?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Don't know

Do you support the state's Historical Building Tax credit which has been used by the City to renovate buildings such as the Skirvin Hotel?

YES

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you believe the Inter-model Hub for OKC's bus, Amtrak and commuter rail service (if approved by voters) should be located at the Santa Fe Station in downtown OKC?

YES

Don't know

Yes

Yes

Yes

Ward 7:

John Pettis (incumbent)
Workforce development consultant with PHA Consulting

Background: Pettis was first elected to City Council in 2013. His professional experience also includes work with the national service organization AmeriCorps.

In his own words: “When I am re-elected on February 14, my priorities will be the following: To continue to support the overall growth of our great city; to continue to be an advocate for better infrastructure in our city; and to continue to lead the NE Renaissance TIF District...”

T. Sheri Dickerson
Minister and executive director of Black Lives Matter-Oklahoma

Background: Dickerson has organized Black Lives Matter protests and the recent Women’s March on Oklahoma.

Dickerson did not complete the Chamber survey.

Marina Mangiaracina
Manages the “Welcome to Loud City” Thunder blog

Background: Mangiaracina ran as an Independent in the Nov. 8 General Election against Rep. George Young (D-Oklahoma City) for House District 99. According to her website, one of her main missions in campaigning for office is to make Oklahoma a better place for LGBT people to live. She is the daughter and campaign manager of Ward 4 candidate Doris Mangiaracina Benbrook.

In her own words: Her priorities include “ending the environmental and noise violations in Ward 7, such as the Schaumberg recycling plant and various oil wells next to houses; re-focusing city revenues to not exploit the poor and bringing economic development to all areas of the city, not just downtown.”

 

Chamber

Pettis (i)

Dickerson

Mangiaracina

Do you support the City of OKC participating in a public/private partnership (in which public funds would be used) to build a convention center hotel for OKC's new convention center that was approved by voters as a MAPS 3 project?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

Do you support allowing voters to decide whether to tax themselves to build a Regional Transit/Commuter Rail System in central Oklahoma (to connect, for example, Norman, Edmond, OKC and Tinker AFB)?

YES

Yes

N/A

Yes

Do you support the continued use of the City's Economic Development Trust to recruit companies to locate in OKC?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

With regard to future MAPS elections, do you believe funds, if approved by voters, should be used only to construct Transformational Projects/Development as in the past?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

Do you support the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts to support economic development in OKC?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

Do you support the use of eminent domain to acquire private property to facilitate the implementation of future MAPS projects?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

Do you support the state's Historical Building Tax credit which has been used by the City to renovate buildings such as the Skirvin Hotel?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

Do you believe the Inter-model Hub for OKC's bus, Amtrak and commuter rail service (if approved by voters) should be located at the Santa Fe Station in downtown OKC?

YES

Yes

N/A

No

 

OKLAHOMA CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD ELECTIONS

Three seats on the OKCPS school board are up for election, including chairperson, District 1 and District 2. A total of 11 candidates filed for the seats.

The Chamber surveyed the candidates on issues that are important to the future of the district, including the availability of Pre-K and Kindergarten programs, the continuation and development of charter schools and creating TIF districts to support economic development. Nine of the 11 candidates responded to the Chamber survey. Read their full responses.

Chairperson:

Stanley Hupfeld
Senior consultant for INTEGRIS Health

Background: Hupfeld served as the president and CEO of INTEGRIS from 1995-2010, and he founded the Stanley Hupfeld Academy at Western Village. He is also past chair of the Chamber.   

In his own words: “The district is two things. First it is a big business with thousands of employees, millions of dollars in payroll and over a billion dollars in assets. Secondly it is a social service. We’ll never achieve the magic unless we do the business of the district professionally.”

Paula Lewis
Owner and founder of Oklahoma Therapy Institute

Background: Lewis is a current OKCPS board member for District 4. She has two sons, ages 15 and 5, and is a native of Lawton.

In her own words: “I will foster a culture of collaboration, transparency and accountability. Stability in the superintendent will improve trust and belief in OKCPS by district staff, teachers and community.”

Wilfredo Santos Rivera
Independent consultant

Background: Rivera is a former OKCPS board member, serving from 2006-2010. He was defeated in a State House race in 2016.

In his own words: Rivera’s priorities include “reducing administration, increasing teacher pay and convincing the legislature to increase funding.”

Bianca Rose
Statewide professional development coordinator for the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center

Background: Rose worked in human resources with teacher recruitment and as a elementary team leader for OKCPS.

Rose did not respond to the Chamber survey.

Gregory Wyatt
No information readily available.

Wyatt did not respond to the Chamber survey.

 

Chamber

Hupfeld

Lewis

Rivera

Rose

Wyatt

Should OKC Public Schools make Pre-K and Kindergarten available for all children that want to attend?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

NR

NR

Do you support continuation of existing charter schools within the OKC Public Schools service area?

Yes

Yes

Maybe

No

NR

NR

Do you support development of new charter schools within the OKC Public Schools?

Yes

Maybe

Maybe

No

NR

NR

Do you believe Oklahoma City Public schools should support creation and utilization of Tax Increment Financing to support economic development?

Yes

Yes

Maybe

No

NR

NR

District 1:

Charles Henry
Managing attorney of Henry Law Firm

Background: Henry served in the Oklahoma County Public Defender’s office from 1996 until 2004. He has three children, ages 3, 11 and 13.

In his own words: His priorities include “adopting early intervention and remediation programs” and “allotting resources to our schools based on need, not on the number of students and the school.”

Cheryl Poole
Retired OKCPS teacher

Background: Poole had a 36-year teaching career and was named the OKCPS Teacher of the Year in 2001. She is supported by OKC-AFT.

In her own words: “Another challenge facing OKCPS is the matter of trust. With so many superintendents, employees have lost that feeling of someone supporting them.”

Nathan Shirley
CFO of Cemplex Group

Background: Shirley moved back to Oklahoma in 2013 after working internationally for the management consulting firm Accenture. He has two children, a junior and a fifth grader.

In his own words: “My number one priority will be working to establish an expectation that we will have great schools every day, at every position, at every level in every community.”

 

Chamber

Henry

Poole

Shirley

Should OKC Public Schools make Pre-K and Kindergarten available for all children that want to attend?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support continuation of existing charter schools within the OKC Public Schools service area?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support development of new charter schools within the OKC Public Schools?

Yes

Yes

Maybe

Yes

Do you believe Oklahoma City Public schools should support creation and utilization of Tax Increment Financing to support economic development?

Yes

Yes

Maybe

Yes

District 2:

Justin Ellis (incumbent)
Owner of Harris Ellis Equipment Company

Background: Ellis was elected to the OKCPS school board in 2013 and serves as chair of the district operations committee. He has three children, ages 2, 6 and 11.

In his own words: “As chairman of the Operations Committee, we have made great strides on improving the processes and procedures of the district… our No. 1 challenge is lack of money.”

Rebecca Budd
Community activist and volunteer

Background: Budd’s employment history includes a background in pharmaceutical sales. She received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Methodist University and her MBA from Northwestern University.

In her own words:

“Previously, the Board of Education hired a superintendent and delegated the responsibility of setting the long-term vision of OKCPS to him/her. It's time for the Board to determine where OKCPS is going.”

Nick Singer
Legislative and political organizer for Oklahoma Education Association

Background: Singer ran for House District 87 in 2012 but lost in the general election. He is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class IX.

In his own words: “We need to meet parents and students where they are at. Every family is different and has different challenges and opportunities.”

 

Chamber

Ellis (i)

Budd

Singer

Should OKC Public Schools make Pre-K and Kindergarten available for all children that want to attend?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support continuation of existing charter schools within the OKC Public Schools service area?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Do you support development of new charter schools within the OKC Public Schools?

Yes

Yes

Maybe

Maybe

Do you believe Oklahoma City Public schools should support creation and utilization of Tax Increment Financing to support economic development?

Yes

Yes

Maybe

Maybe

 

Visit www.ok.gov/elections to confirm your voter registration, find your polling place and view sample ballots. If no candidate receives the majority of the votes cast, a runoff election will be held on April 4.