These are my thoughts on some of the issues that I will face as your city councilor. I’ve included specific policy proposals, but I also know I will be learning on the job about many of the issues and solutions in progress that our city council must deal with, just like any other councilor who is new to this position. In those areas where I don’t have specific plans, I’ve tried to share the values that will guide me in representing you and our city.

The Short and Sweet Version

Responsive Government

It should be much easier for constituents to know what’s happening in their government and to be heard by their representatives.

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Lifelong Health

I am passionate in supporting health over entire lifetimes, from early childhood to elder care. I want every Tulsan to be able to live their golden years with dignity and love.

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Education For All Ages

Oklahoma desperately needs more education funding from the state and a commitment to keep great teachers in the classroom.

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Safe Communities

I support well-funded first responders, community engagement, and training that makes policing safer for officers and the public. Public safety includes the need for safer car, bike, bus, and pedestrian infrastructure and strong disaster preparation and resiliency.

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The Detailed Version

My top priority as a District 4 City Councilor will be improving the quality of life for all Tulsans. To do that, I won’t sit back and wait for constituents to come to me with problems. In addition to studying credible data to understand what is happening in our district, I will eagerly reach out to individuals, businesses, organizations, and thought leaders who interact with District 4 Tulsans every day.

I will connect residents to the city resources they need and the tools to advocate for themselves. I want to build on the progress Tulsa has made to become more fair, equitable, transparent, and accountable to citizens who invest via taxes and benefit from the way we budget our resources and revenue.

You, your family and friends – your community – have important perspectives on what is happening, so I want to hear from you. Please fill out this brief survey to let me know what matters to you, your family, your work, play, and community here in Tulsa.

Through my work informing voters and advocating for statewide policies, I have seen firsthand how many of our fellow Tulsans are disenfranchised, and I’d like that to change. I will support citywide efforts by government, non-profits, and enthusiastic individuals to make voting and elections more accessible. I will support policies like making election day a city holiday so that all workers have full opportunity to fulfill their right and responsibility to make an informed vote.

As your city councilor, I will do all I can to invest in and strengthen learning opportunities for Tulsans. One of the keys to greater prosperity for all Tulsans is access to high quality education from the day we are born until we pass on from this life. We are very fortunate to have programs that support parents and caregivers, pre-schools, public schools, private schools, vo-tech, workforce development, libraries, museums, nonprofits, and businesses that offer opportunities to enlighten our minds.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma has made deep, statewide cuts to education funding for years, and these cuts are inflicting serious damage on our communities and economy. Through my work on state-level policies, I’ve seen firsthand how this problem came to be. I know there is more that we can do at the local level to invest in teacher pay for Tulsa, keep great teachers in the classroom, and advocate for our kids to state lawmakers. Where the state legislature stands in our way, I’ll explore innovative ways to help provide the resources Tulsa’s children need.

As your city councilor, I will support well-funded police and fire services as well as active community engagement with our first responders to make sure they are protecting and serving all Tulsans. I will support the community policing and law enforcement training reforms that make policing safer for both officers and for the public.

Being safe and feeling safe are not always the same, but I want Tulsans to have both! To be safe we need effective and just systems to prevent dangers in advance, deal with them when they arise, and assess our ability to prevent and respond so we can keep doing better. I will keep public safety in mind in everything I work on as a city councilor, from developing safe auto, cycling, and pedestrian transportation infrastructure to ensuring strong disaster preparation and resiliency.

Health of mind, body, spirit, and society are crucial aspects of good communities, but it is not always easy to attain all four. There is much already being done to improve health in the most underserved parts of Tulsa. Efforts at closing the life expectancy gap between the healthiest and unhealthiest zip codes in Tulsa are showing success, and the Health Department’s Community Health Needs Assessment has laid out a useful roadmap for us to continue this progress.

I am passionate in supporting health over entire lifetimes, from early childhood to elder care. When visiting my ninety-year old grandparents in a Tulsa nursing home over the last two years, I was broken-hearted to see how many people who have worked their whole lives in our community end up left, sometimes for decades, in a meager and lonely existence.

Even my own grandparents, who had at least one family member visiting them daily, spent most of their time isolated. Their neighbors often had no visitors at all. The staff was doing their absolute best, but it was more than they could do to care for the basic bodily needs of the elders and also cheer their spirits and give them opportunities to interact with young people. I don’t know about you, but I am not at all okay with that!

I want every Tulsan to be able to live their golden years with dignity and love, and I want younger Tulsans to have more opportunities to learn from the wisdom and experiences of elders. We can do better than this. I believe that Tulsa can become a beacon of hope and inspiration for our country when it comes to living well throughout a full life.

 

As your city councilor, I will work to ensure a strong business climate in Tulsa by intentionally supporting good jobs, workforce development, and worker protections. Businesses depend on skilled and dependable workers. So, too, do workers depend on being adequately compensated while being allowed the work-life balance to support a family.

Ensuring a strong quality of life to attract high tech jobs, providing the funding and infrastructure to support Tulsa-based startups, and making sure that all kinds of work are valued — including the work of those who prepare and serve our food, take care of our children and elders, and build our homes — can put Tulsa at the forefront of economic growth.

Getting to a good job also requires accessible transportation systems. While Tulsa has made strides toward improved access to roads, sidewalks, bike paths, and public transportation, there are many more paths we need to shape. Too many Tulsans are still unable to access the food, work, family, entertainment, health care, civic opportunities, and safe passage they need. Fortunately, there are brilliant innovations and collaborative solutions that can make Tulsa transportation work for all.

 

The history of race in our beloved city has left gaping unhealed wounds among our people even to this day. As your city councilor, I will use my platform to advance this conversation and contribute to building a fairer, more united future for all of us. How do we understand how we got here, who benefitted, who was hurt, and what we can do to make amends?

When it comes to race, Tulsa has historical and continuing injustices with which we must come to grips, but we also have good reason for hope. In recent years Tulsans have had open conversations about the past, present, and future of our communities in ways that our ancestors could not have believed. This growing recognition of our past is an opportunity for Tulsa to be a leader in remedying those injustices.

 

When my great-grandmother crossed the plains in a covered wagon — at the age of 16, already a widow with two small children in tow — she did not know what Oklahoma had in store for her. She only knew that she wanted a better life, and she found one, remarried, raised a family, and built a legacy for me and our home.

Her example stirs in me the desire to ensure that any new Oklahomans who come here — whether from Pocatello, Idaho, Amiens, France, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Utsunomiya, Japan, or elsewhere — understand what it means to be a Tulsan and find  ways to support our society and themselves. We aim to be one of the most beautiful and healthy cities in the world, and immigrants like my great-grandma can help us get there. Let’s figure out how together.

 

As your city councilor, I will be a proud supporter of District 4’s role as the center of entertainment and play for our city. Our district has sports, museums, movies, fairs, bike races, river walks, music venues, and so much more! These opportunities for entertainment and play are not frivolous. They are integral to the quality of human lives. They are also an essential part of attracting new businesses to the area, and tourism too.

We have enormously creative people in Tulsa. That creativity sets us apart from other cities, because in the act of creating fun and entertainment, we are crafting things that are special and uniquely ours.