This election season, 36 candidates are vying for nine seats on city council. Candidates will duke it out in the primaries on Sept. 13, when the districts with only Republican or Democratic candidates will be decided.
Those who win the primaries will face off on Election Day, Nov. 8.
So what's in each district? What are their unique strengths and weaknesses? Who'll be battling it out in the primaries, and what do they stand for? We intend to tell you as we dig into a district or two each week in our continuing series, Council Connection. Up this week is District 2.
The Lay of the Land
This long, slender area covers west Tulsa and follows the Arkansas River from downtown to 61st Street. From there, it juts further west and encompasses a square of southwestern Tulsa from the Jenks city limits and as far south as 111th Street and Harvard Avenue.
District 2's most prominent asset is its piece of the Arkansas River, the centerpiece of many proposed development plans in recent years.
Several candidates are fighting for a chance to represent west Tulsa. Incumbent Councilor Rick Westcott isn't running for re-election, so we've got four fresh Republicans heading into the primaries: Matthew Foster, 24; Nancy Rothman, 53; Judith Adams, 64; and Jeannie Cue, 57.
The lone Democrat, Phillip Oyler, 44, will go up against the Republican primary winner for a two-year term.
First considered the frontrunner for the District 2 seat, Nancy Rothman is now battling something more challenging than her fellow candidates: her past. Court documents about Rothman's divorce and custody battles are coming to light some ten years later.
For an in-depth look into Rothman's contentious, years-long divorce and custody battle, check out our story, The Curious Case of Nancy Rothman, in next week's issue. She did not respond to UTW's request for an interview to discuss her history or to talk about her campaign.
Rothman, 53, is an attorney and owner of Oklahoma Legal & Mediation Services. In 2004, she ran for the state Senate District 33 seat but lost.
Rothman is currently on the board of directors for the Tulsa Brookside Lions Club, the board of the Oklahoma Lawyers Association and the Juvenile Justice Trust Authority.
She has two grown sons and attends Victory Christian Center.
Republican candidate Judith Adams, a psychologist who court records show has provided Rothman with therapy, is also running for the District 2 seat. She would not comment on services given to Rothman because, she said, "I want to run a clean race."
Which begs the question: Who said providing therapy was somehow "dirty?"
Adams, 64, earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. She is a licensed psychologist, marriage and family therapist and internally certified alcohol and drug counselor. She's also an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma and Oral Roberts University.
She is not married, has no kids and has lived in the district for 20 years. She is a grassroots advocate for the area, and has been the Precinct 112 secretary for 15 years. Adams considers herself an ordinary citizen with a blue-collar background.
A joke about a therapist being needed in City Hall is just too easy. Yet Adams's work experience might be just what the city orders. "What I do all day is listen to people, help them identify what their main issues are, what possible courses of action they can take and there are cases where I provide them with resources," she said.
"There are a lot of ways that counseling skills will help in representing [District 2] as a councilor."
Mentioning the tension between Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr. and the City Council, Adams said, "I think it's time to move forward with our city. I just think things have been kind of at a standstill. There's been such inability to communicate between city council and the mayor. And I think there's enough blame to go around, but I think most people are ready to move forward."
If elected, Adams hopes to focus on providing good basic services for the citizens of her district. "I think we should facilitate people's lives," she said, "So they're able to live their lives and work their jobs and not have us standing in their way and obstructing."
Out of the entire field of candidates this election cycle, the youngest contender is 24-year-old District 2 Republican, Matthew Foster.
Foster, who endured family problems as a child, said that what he lacks in years, he's made up for in life experience. He was raised primarily by his grandmother and lived on his own since he was 16.
Foster has been married for six years to his junior high school sweetheart, Rachel Foster. Together they have four children.
Born and raised in the area, Foster's family has owned land in District 2 for 75 years, he said.
He's not intimidated by older, more experienced and well-heeled candidates. In fact, after sitting in on committee meetings for the past six months, he thinks his age is an asset. "I've got the energy to go in there and do a lot of this work."
He is a conservative who's attended Tea Party meetings but doesn't ascribe to a particular party label. "We need more conservatives in office, not just Republicans or Democrats."
As for developing the river, Foster said, "I support private river development. I don't want the city to spend any of the taxpayers' money to develop the river."
"I've overcome a lot of adversity and a lot of challenges," Foster said. "I think that if people knew about the things I've gone through, they'd understand that no matter what challenge I'm presented with, I'm going to overcome that."
Republican Jeannie Cue, 57, wins for cutest campaign rhyme: "Cue for District 2." She's retired from American Airlines and Hillcrest Hospital, where she worked as an emergency room charge nurse.
With her work history, she's well-versed in delicately phrasing bad news and handling difficult situations, Cue said.
She's a third generation Tulsan and sister to Randi Miller, former District 2 councilor and Tulsa County Commissioner. Married for 41 years, Cue has three grown children and five grandchildren.
She's on the board of directors of Red Fork Main Street, a project to revitalize Southwest Boulevard.
Currently, Cue is at work with several others on a Route 66 Museum. The museum, on Southwest Boulevard is unofficially open, and has so far collected the largest oil derrick in North America, the original train cars from Mohawk Park and retro gas station pumps, she said.
Southwest Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in District 2, is close to Cue's heart.
"On Southwest Boulevard, over the years, we've lost a lot of businesses and a lot of people in the area can't afford to drive long distances to shop," she said.
So, one of her goals if elected would be to improve economic development, tourism and aesthetics along that road.
Due to her work with American Airlines, Cue has flown "all over the world," she said. And in that time, she said she's seen the rivers in "San Antonio, Amsterdam and Paris. And I don't think anywhere has any better place for development for Tulsa," she said. "It's something I hope will be utilized more in the future."
The Democrat in the race is Phillip Oyler, 44. He speaks from his heart using a mixed bag of colloquialisms and movie quotes.
He's lived and moved all over the world while serving in three different branches of the military (Army, Navy, Air Force).
After being laid off two years ago, Oyler has sustained his family on contract administration work for hospitals. He is married to Brandy Oyler, and has one daughter.
He was encouraged to run for city council after being inspired by District 3 Councilor Roscoe Turner. "He's a dynamic guy," Oyler said. "He's someone who talks for the people and supports the people, man."
A conservative Democrat, Oyler's favorite political hero is former President Ronald Reagan.
Oyler has started talking to District 2 constituents about what's most important to them. "Overwhelmingly, people are looking for health, wealth and happiness," he said. And they are asking for equal representation for both the east and west sides of the river, he said.
District 2 is particularly diverse socioeconomically. "Me being a geek, I got into the data and looked at the demographic breakdown. And [constituents] come from across the spectrum -- blue collar, white collar, all the different generations. That's great, it's reflective of what's global," Oyler said.
"We're all Americans, right?"
This bit of patriotic rhetoric belies a political novice. "I'm not a politician," he said. "All these things you hear about [politics], that it's tooth and nail. It's not like that," Oyler said about meeting Jeannie Cue.
He's always wanted to scrounge up the money for law school so he could "go to law school and fight for the people who don't have voices," Oyler said. "I can't stand bullies."
Now, District 2 is better known! We've got seven districts left to explore before the primaries on Sept. 13. Check back each week to get up close and personal with each of Tulsa's districts and the council candidates.
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