Barry Moore and Judy Rau are both vying for the open Ward 2 seat on the Edmond City Council, but they differ on the city’s development plan regarding housing and the implementation of upcoming city projects.
Moore has served on the city’s Planning Commission for 18 years, spending much of that time as the chairman of the body. After working for the State Senate, Moore became a lobbyist and consultant for rural telecommunications companies in 1988, a job he still holds.
Moore said he decided to run once the Ward 2 incumbent, Josh Moore, announced he would not be filing for reelection.
“I thought, I’m either going to do it this time, or just stay involved, but not run,” Moore said. “So, I decided to do it, and I’m glad I did. I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer.”
Rau worked for the Oklahoma City Police Department for about 20 years, serving as a 911 dispatcher, a receptionist and administrative assistant for the chief of police. She also worked in the public safety project office following the passage of MAPS, among other positions.
Initially, Rau thought her husband should run for the seat, as politics is something she has typically avoided up to this point, she said. But in the end, she felt compelled to run herself.
“When I say I prayed about it, I really feel like this is something God led me to do,” Rau said. “Because I wouldn’t do it on my own.”
Both Moore and Rau were invited to participate in a Ward 2 City Council debate hosted by NonDoc. Moore accepted the invitation, but Rau declined, saying she chose not to run a “negative campaign” and did not want to participate “in that type of platform.”
The mayoral, Ward 1 and Ward 2 Edmond City Council races will be decided on Tuesday, April 4. Edmond residents from all wards are allowed to vote in all three races.
Rau: ‘Sometimes, I think they’re putting the cart before the horse’
In March 2022, the Edmond City Council adopted the East Edmond 2050 plan, which proposes a city-wide direction for development and housing needs for the more than 40,000 additional people expected to move to Edmond in the next 30 years.
Rau said the city needs to fulfill its infrastructural needs on the east side of town before authorizing greater residential and commercial development.
“They’re wanting to build these things, but the roads aren’t equipped to handle that size of population just yet, and we don’t have the infrastructure,” she said.
Rau noted that the city’s easternmost fire station is at Interstate 35 and Covell Road.
In debate, Edmond Ward 1 City Council candidates find plenty to agree on by Matt Patterson
“My concern with the 2050 plan is you’re going to bring all these people out here, you want to bring all these people and all this business further east, but you don’t have the infrastructure for it,” Rau said. “Sometimes, I think they’re putting the cart before the horse.”
Moore, who voted in favor of the plan a year ago, said he wants to be an advocate for “controlled, reasonable, managed growth” on commercial and residential development in east Edmond.
“We talk about having the best schools in the state, the best quality of life, the best public safety and fire. People want to move here,” Moore said. “So, when people say, ‘We don’t want anybody living out here,’ well, that’s not what they mean. They just don’t want massive developments out there, and I understand that. That needs to be reasonable and fit into the current environment and what is already out there.”
Moore also said there are some things he would like to review with the plan, specifically regarding planned unit development applications.
“When a PUD is submitted, doesn’t matter where it is in the city, the citizens ought to have a strong input on the final product — for the site plan,” Moore said. “That’s where I want to be involved. I want to roll up my sleeves and look at those things and make a determination on how to make them better. I’ve done that on the Planning Commission, and I’ll continue to do that on the City Council.”
Asked what Edmond leaders should do to alleviate Edmond’s affordable housing concerns, Moore mentioned that people who work in Edmond should be able to afford living in Edmond. As an example, he said several of the Edmond Police Department’s officers do not reside within the city.
“The people that serve your coffee when you go to a cafe, or the people that work on your automobile, they’re part of the community. They are part of the engine that keeps things going, and if they want to live in Edmond, they oughta be able to find a way to live in it,” Moore said. “You can phrase it however you want — multifamily apartments, affordable housing — those are all just words. What really matters is that we have reasonable growth that can accommodate citizens.”
Rau said Edmond needs developers to build cheaper starter homes and believes that apartment complexes “aren’t necessarily the answer.”
“All the developers in Edmond pretty much are on the higher end. They don’t build lower ones,” Rau said. “Most people want to be a homeowner. They don’t to throw their money away in rent.”
‘Who would not support a library? Who would not support a YMCA?’
Asked whether he supported the city building a city center complex and a joint YMCA and library — projects for which the Edmond City Council voted to borrow $81.1 million to finance — Moore asked a question before responding in the affirmative.
“I mean, who would not support a library? Who would not support a YMCA? Yes,” Moore said.
On the financing of those projects, Moore said that was all done at the City Council level.
“I have some thoughts that I would like to know more about it, but that project is well on its way,” Moore said. “If I’m elected to serve on the council, yeah, I want a review of that and try to convey to people exactly what the city’s doing.”
Rau said she supports the sentiment behind both projects but thinks it’s the “wrong time” to implement them. For the YMCA and library project, Rau said, the city should have prioritized commercial developments off East 15th Street and Interstate 35, just south of Henderson Hills Baptist Church.
“I mean, that could be tax revenue money right there. That’s a lot of money that they’re putting into two facilities that’s not going to bring any revenue back to the city,” Rau said. “You could put a business there and bring some really good revenue in.”
Rau said the citizens should be able to vote on the passage of those projects.
“If the citizens vote ‘Yes’ for all those, I support it. I do,” Rau said. “But that’s a lot of money to be spending.”
Asked what she would say to those who value Moore’s experience, Rau said she and her opponent both bring good things to the table.
“He brings the knowledge of sitting on the Planning Commission and having that background with him,” Rau said. “I don’t have 18 years of sitting on the Planning Commission, but I do have 20 years of being a government employee, and I bring a heart for loving Edmond and wanting to serve the people of Edmond.”
Asked about voters who value change on governance boards, Moore said they’re entitled to their own opinion, but he pointed to his tenure in city government.
“I think experience matters. I think being able to hit the ground running matters, and I think the ability to pick up the phone and have a discussion with people that are going to make these decisions matters,” Moore said. “And so, from my viewpoint, I think I have plenty to offer to be able to help the citizens with my experience and the ability to bring people together and work together.”