The Norman City Council welcomed two new members at its Tuesday meeting, with Brandi Studley being sworn into the Ward 1 seat and Lauren Schueler being appointed and sworn in as the interim representative for Ward 2.
The Ward 2 seat was left vacant in March after OU professor Matt McGarry, who won it in the Feb. 9 special election, resigned in March to take a job offer outside Norman. Schueler will hold the seat until 2022.
Schueler is the director of the N.E.W. Leadership and Civic Engagement program at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at OU. She is also a member of Leadership Norman 2019, Norman Next and the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition’s Young Professionals Roundtable.
“When I saw that Matt McGarry was not going to be continuing on the council seat, I read the news that day and I just felt like, now’s the time to step up and jump in,” Schueler told The Norman Transcript. “As I told the committee, I was planning to run in February whether I was the person they chose to elevate to the council or not.”
Schueler was nominated by a search committee whose members included Richard Stawicki, Aleisha Karjala and Britton Perry, son of David Perry, who was elected to the Ward 2 seat in February 2020 but died unexpectedly in August.
The Council appointed Joe Carter to fill the vacancy, and he held the seat until McGarry’s election.
Studley won the Ward 1 seat in February, defeating Chris Lewis, who was backed by Unite Norman. Studley won that race by just 51 votes to finish with 51.7 percent.
Bierman leaves council after two terms
Studley was sworn in early because outgoing Ward 1 councilmember Kate Bierman is moving out of the ward after serving for two terms.
Bierman’s departure was marked during Tuesday’s meeting. Norman Mayor Breea Clark said Bierman worked for equality for all, was a strong voice for the residents of her ward, supported more affordable housing and was an advocate for animals.
Bierman said she is looking forward to seeing “this energetic council take on the significant tasks ahead.”
“I’m am very bittersweet about bringing this unique perspective back to the other side of the dais,” she said in her final remarks. “It is going to be a challenge for me to no longer be sitting where you are, but I’m going to do want I can from my end to bring the calvary for all of the things that you all are going to need public support for moving forward. So please keep me a part of the conversation.”