The decision to pass on a re-election bid by OKC Ward 3 Councilman Larry McAtee has created an open race for a handful of candidates hoping to become the southwest OKC ward’s next city council representative.
McAtee had held the position since 2001, but he opted not to run for re-election this year. Six candidates will be on the Feb. 9 ballot.
Ward 3 covers western Oklahoma City and encompasses Will Rogers World Airport within its eastern boundary. The ward extends west to Gregory Road.
Three seats — in Wards 1, 3 and 4 — are up for grabs in this election cycle. In Ward 7, Councilwoman Nikki Nice is running unopposed for reelection. OKC City Council races are non-partisan. If no one candidate receives more than 50 percent of votes cast in the Feb. 9 primary, the two candidates who received the most votes will proceed to the general election, scheduled for April 6.
The following candidate profiles were drawn from publicly available information and appear below in alphabetical order. Recently, the Northwest OKC Chamber, the WesTen District and the Windsor District held an OKC Ward 3 candidate forum, video of which is embedded at the end of this cheat sheet.
Profession/background: Bishop grew up in Yukon and graduated from Southern Nazarene University. He currently works in a real estate.
Platform: Bishop is opposed to some MAPS 4 features, including improvements to Chesapeake Arena, the new multipurpose stadium and the new fairgrounds coliseum. Bishop said parks and increased walkability are issues that need to be addressed in Ward 3. Bishop said during a recent candidate forum he views taxes of all kinds as “theft.”
Profession/background: Long is a life-long resident of south Oklahoma City. He served 28 years with the Oklahoma City Fire Department. Long was involved in rescue recovery efforts during both the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the May 3, 1999 tornadoes. He has also volunteered for Feed the Children and the YMCA, among other groups.
Platform: Long said his experience seeing the city through the eyes of a fireman has helped him understand its problems. Long bills himself as a conservative who will provide responsible and accountable leadership if elected.
Profession/background: Martinez-Brooks is a 20-year educator who has spent much of that time helping students graduate from high school and get into college. She has also served as a volunteer for a variety for civic organizations, according to her website. She is married to Oklahoma State Sen. Michael Brooks (D-OKC).
Platform: If elected, her primary goals would be to improve public safety, make sure city government is operating with maximum transparency to ensure trust as well as creating ways to expand economic growth throughout the city by making Oklahoma City an easier and more attractive place to start a business.
Profession/background: Payne currently serves as president of the Oklahoma National Stockyards. She studied animal science at Oklahoma State University.
Platform: During the recent candidate forum, Payne said Ward 3 has a lot to offer the city both in terms of industry and small-town feel. Among her priorities if elected would be the ward’s infrastructure, including improvement and expansion of city services to rural areas. Payne also believes economic development continues to be among the most pressing priorities for the city.
Profession/background: Swanda is a retired U.S. Army officer who has also worked as an oil-and-gas consultant, according to his campaign website.
Platform: Swanda believes the city needs to improve the quality of life of for citizens through transportation infrastructure gains and better street maintenance. Fiscal responsibility by operating within budget constraints is another of Swanda’s priorities if elected, according to his website.
Profession/background: Merchandising manager for Love’s Travel Stops.
Platform: Young bills herself as a conservative who will bring a conservative voice to the council if elected, something she said the body is in need of. If elected Young would oppose new “job crushing” taxes and fees while also prioritizing investment in Ward 3 roads. She would also prioritize public safety through support of first responders.