A veteran of city politics and a political newcomer endorsed by a local chapter of Our Revolution will square off in the Feb. 12 election for the OKC Ward 5 city council seat.
Incumbent David Greenwell said he decided to seek a third term because he finds serving on the city council rewarding.
“It’s an interesting role we get to serve,” he said. “Citizens need to participate in their community in whatever way they can. I started working for non-profits. Serving on the council is another way to contribute. Through my involvement in the council and other roles, I think I bring experience that will be needed as we move forward as a city.”
Meanwhile, last year’s Oklahoma teacher walkout inspired Kristina Hull to seek public office for the first time.
“I’m really concerned with the fact so many of our elected officials aren’t accessible,” she said. “I’d try to reach out to my representative and I’d get shut down. I was blocked on Facebook and my calls weren’t returned. I started looking into the city’s policies and the people getting attention were those with a ton of money. When you look at MAPS 4, it just doesn’t need to help large corporations, it needs to raise the entire city up.”
A heavily residential area, OKC Ward 5 is on the south side. It borders Moore to the east and Newcastle on its southwest border. It includes Westmoore High School and Earlywine Park.
David Greenwell, 64
Experience: Greenwell is the incumbent for Ward 5 and seeks his third term on the council. He is also a director of the Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority and trustee of Oklahoma City Airport Trust, Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, and the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust.
Platform: Greenwell is an advocate for economic development. He also wants continued improvements in the city’s streets, sidewalks and parks.
“Those things are critical in the continued effort to make Oklahoma City a great place for both individuals and businesses,” he said.
Greenwell has also been pleased in the continued improvement of the quality of jobs available in the city.
“We used to get excited when a company announced new jobs, unfortunately they were often call centers and minimum-wage jobs,” he said. “We’ve seen an increase of higher-paying jobs and we need to continue attracting those through innovation and development.”
Favorite thing about Oklahoma City: Greenwell has enjoyed watching the city change for the better over the last 20 years.
“It’s a growing city and we’re still somewhat of an informal type of city,” he said. “Going back to the 1990s most people never thought we would have a bigger area for continued activities like the Thunder. I look forward to watching it continue to evolve.”
Why should someone vote for you?: “I have eight years’ experience on the council and I’m able to be more effective in my role. Most of us serve on trusts and committees, and I’m on COTPA and the airport trust. Those areas are important to the future of our city and we need to have experienced people in those roles to help us move forward.”
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Kristina Hull, 38
Experience: This is Hull’s first political race.
Platform: Hull would like to see city council meetings move to the evening hours so more people can participate in the process, which dovetails with her overall theme of improving accessibility for citizens to their government officials.
“It can be difficult for people to get time off from work ” she said. “It’s hard for people with regular jobs to be a part of it.”
She would also like to see the number of city council wards increased.
“Looking at how the wards are laid out, there are some that don’t have very good representation,” she said. “These are often low-income areas. These are the areas that need to be serviced the most. We need to be able to concentrate on improving things at a granular level.”
Favorite thing about Oklahoma City: “I really love the improvements in the city, including the park downtown. I love how affordable the city is. It’s a really good place to live. I have a great life here.”
Why should someone vote for you?: “Because I want you to have access and the tools you need to be an active participant in our society. I don’t want to shut you out, and most importantly for Ward 5, I want to see sales tax money spent on projects that benefit us.”
(Correction: This post was updated at 9:43 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, to reference Kristina Hull’s endorsement from Our Revolution OK properly. NonDoc regrets the error.)