It is my great pleasure to announce my candidacy to, once again, serve as your mayor. Four years ago, I ran for the office of mayor because our children were leaving in search of opportunities, and I wanted that to change. With your help, we began that work. I am asking once again for your vote of confidence to continue this work that I truly love.
We have made many investments in parks, streets, drainage, and the appearance of our city. To attract industry and business, a city must appear vibrant, growing and going forward. We have been proactively addressing this with more than 50 condemned, deteriorated, unsafe and unhealthy structures that have been removed and dozens of inoperable cars removed. This has created opportunity for new facilities and uses of those spaces. Fletcher Park is a good example of this. By facilitating public and private donations an unsafe building and a vacant lot were turned into something beautiful that we are all proud of. There are several more retail spaces coming to downtown which will encourage small business owners to invest in our downtown. These and other factors have contributed to area jobs exploding with 300+ positions at local manufacturers with higher benefits and pay.
I promised and I have delivered. Each campaign pledge I made in 2019 has been met or exceeded. I am Stilwell’s first full-time mayor. I have not missed any city council meetings in my four years in office. I attend training and meetings each year on the state level and in 2022 earned the Certified Municipal Official (CMO) designation from Oklahoma Municipal League. This is accomplished by furthering my education and training in the areas of municipal governance and operations. I am also active in the Oklahoma Mayors Council and the National League of Cities - Indigenous Municipal Officials Council. I serve on several boards representing Stilwell including EODD, NOPFA, and HAMMERC. I am proud to represent and brag about our fabulous city.
Stilwell’s revitalization continues to bring new hope and opportunities. The economy continues to show signs of growth with business revenues rising 45% in the past 4 years. New retail investments include Dollar Tree and Casey’s and we are currently working with McDonald's on a future expansion. We recently celebrated the new food truck court at Third and Division Street.
I firmly believe in the power of partnership. Through partnership with the Cherokee Nation, we secured Cherokee Nation funding for rehabilitation of two of our three water towers, the golf course, and we are proud to have assisted and facilitated the new Cherokee Nation tag office, PPE manufacturing, One Fire family domestic shelter, Wilma Mankiller expansion and the new jobs that go with these most valuable projects. A new wellness center is in the development stage, and we were proud to assist in the project.
We have made many improvements to Stilwell Parks. We assumed the maintenance and operation of Adair Park and staffed it with full-time employees making sure it is one of the most beautiful in this part of the state. The D.B. Gaines Park has been revived in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Adair County and the Cherokee Nation-Healthy Nation Coalition with new equipment including some for special needs/handicapped children. We have just completed construction of Basketball, Pickleball, Corn Hole at Carson Park. In partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Stilwell and Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilors Shawn Crittenden and Josh Sam, a new 9 hole, 3-par golf course is being built in 2023. Plans for improvements coming soon include a new concession/restroom area at the baseball/softball fields, skate park and a dog park are all being developed.
Over $1.25 million in streets resurfacing and drainage, sidewalk, and road improvements with Cemetery Road and Adair Park Road have been completed in the past four years. We are completing our $178,500 REAP grant projects which include the Chestnut Street drainage project, remodeling of our Community building and Senior Citizens Center. We are also working on the Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk project that is replacing many of our city sidewalks. We completely remodeled our outdated animal shelter, so we now have a clean and humane animal facility to hold stray animals awaiting adoptions.
A major rehabilitation of Second Street from Highway 100 north to Division Street is in the final design stages and the funding has been secured at an estimated cost of $960,000. Construction is slated for summer/fall 2023, which will include drainage correction and improvement, milling of the street back down to its original elevation and new pavement. Many of these projects have been paid for by grants and our capital improvement funds.
Why 4 more years? I want to continue the work we began four short years ago. I plan to focus on badly needed housing that is affordable and attainable. Working with local investors and our tribal partners, I want to see new single family and rental properties built. I want to continue to improve our street and drainage projects. I will continue pursuing more economic development to drive and attract tourism, retail, and entertainment opportunities. I will continue recruiting manufacturing growth and industrial expansions that create jobs paying livable wages.
I am asking for your vote so we continue making Stilwell a city where opportunity grows. Let’s get work done and continue moving forward not backwards. That’s why I ask you to support me by voting “WRIGHT” on April 4.
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