(Correction: This article was updated at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, to note that Finn Guttery publicly announced a withdrawal from the Norman Ward 1 City Council race. The headline and body of the article were adjusted accordingly, as was Chris Lewis’ age. NonDoc regrets the errors.)
After one candidate publicly dropped out of the race, two candidates remain for the upcoming Norman Ward 1 City Council election. The current officeholder is not seeking re-election.
Ward 1 Councilmember Kate Bierman released a statement on Facebook in December announcing her move to Ward 4. After two terms on the council, she said it would be irresponsible to run again.
“It has been a privilege and a great honor to serve you, Ward 1. Thank you,” Bierman said in her Facebook post. “My unending gratitude goes to the countless people who supported, contributed to, and assisted me over the last four years.”
Whoever is elected to the seat, Bierman said she would be fully available to help them get up to speed.
“Ward 1, I have deep confidence in your discernment and ability to select your next councilmember thoughtfully,” she said. “Someone who will continue to push back against ‘business as usual’ which has historically left this ward behind and benefited the few to the detriment of the many.”
The candidates for Norman Ward 1 are listed below in alphabetical order, with information derived from publicly available sources. Election Day is set for Tuesday, Feb. 9, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is Feb. 2. The deadline to register to vote or change registration is today.
If no candidate receives a majority of the votes Feb. 9, a municipal runoff will be held April 6 between the two candidates who received the highest number of votes in the ward. Despite dropping out of the race, Finn Guttery’s name will still appear on the Feb. 9 ballot.
Profession/background: Lewis is a former Norman Planning and Reapportionment Commission member and holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. He has spent the last 26 years as a medical scientist working in the areas of mental illness and brain disorders, according to his campaign announcement.
Platform: Lewis told the Norman Transcript that he decided to run for the seat after several people asked him to and from “a desire to bring balance to the City Council.” He has expressed his disdain for the Norman City Council’s controversial decision to reduce $865,000 from a proposed Norman Police Department budget increase in June 2020.
Lewis considers himself “fiscally conservative, socially moderate, and environmentally conscious,” according to the Transcript article about his campaign announcement.
Profession/background: Studley has a background in dental practice management, human resources, marketing and accounting. She also founded The Social Injustice League of Norman, which organizes community clean-up events and distributes meals and necessities to unhoused citizens, according to her campaign website.
Platform: Studley is running her campaign with the goal of improving housing security, expanding public transportation accessibility and city services in the ward. She also advocates for improved mental health resources and systems supporting justice for marginalized citizens.
Endorsement: Studley was endorsed Jan. 11 by Finn Guttery, a recent University of Oklahoma graduate who had filed for the Norman Ward 1 seat and whose name will still appear on ballots.