Tomorrow is an important day for Enid’s immediate future. Of course, all elections are important for the future. This particular election is important in the fact that Enid will be electing a mayor that will be working with a new city manager in guiding our city’s future. This is one reason I found it completely unfathomable that the “standard-bearer” of Enid and the “great bastion of good journalism” the Enid News & Eagle balked and did not issue an endorsement for Mayor. They said the readers should decide. Well, of course they should. But, people still look for the paper to issue an endorsement. The Sentinel is not perfect, but here, we present for you, our endorsements.
As in past Route 60 Editorial Board decisions, there are three members. The Editor, a writer from the Route 60 (either current or past), and a member of the public who is in good standing and is well-respected by their peers. This time, we are doing blind endorsements and each writing an opinion rather than writing one collective opinion. We will start with the race for mayor.
1. I have been firmly on the fence about the Mayoral race from the beginning. Both candidates seem to be on the same page as far as the issues go, so in this case it comes down to different approaches that would achieve the similar goals of the candidates. After watching the candidate forum, I believe that Mr. Vanhooser is able to convey facts and statistics quickly and efficiently, and timing and perception of knowledgeability is crucial in negotiations with industry and other key players in our economic development. This gave him a slight edge for me over Mayor Shewey. For this reason, I will cast my vote to endorse Mr. Vanhooser for Mayor.
2. In many ways, both of the mayoral candidates are the same. During the candidate forum, each acknowledged this. Both support the ongoing downtown development, city-wide retail growth, and expansion of quality-of-life projects to attract the working young.
Leadership and interpersonal style is the deciding factor for me in this case. Acknowledging the positive change seen under the tenure of Mayor Shewey, I am unsure if his easy-going nature is sufficient for the next four years. Dr. VanHooser’s demeanor during this election has been to focus on the issue at hand and pursue appropriate measures.
My only concern is that some comments from Dr. VanHooser have indicated a view towards a limited austerity regarding the city budget. While money doesn’t grow on trees, limiting city operations will limit the positive changes we are looking forward to in the future.
While I would be satisfied with either candidate in the office, I do think Dr. VanHooser will better represent Enid for the next four years.
3. I will admit that I personally was skeptical of Dr. Vanhooser when he initially ran for the ward 6 office. I think that in the short time he has been in that office, he has shown a true ability to lead.
Rewatch the candidate forum. While Mayor Shewey does an admirable job of answering questions, the answers come from Dr. Vanhooser with facts, numbers, and in the case of the Sentinel’s question, the knowledge that a water bond would be expiring in a few years to possibly free up some money for the city coffers. It’s the small details that show you Dr. Vanhooser studies the science of the City of Enid so-to-speak. I cast my vote for Commissioner Dr. David Vanhooser.
And with that,
1. These are often the only two words you need to mention to begin an argument in this town. Your view of the best course for Enid’s future can often be determined by your reaction to her name. This is because she has supported major changes for our community – not all have been popular. But she does let you know where she stands – and why. If you ask her a question, she has the numbers, the reasons, and the examples of other communities. Her track record and the answers given in this election period will support this.
The opposition candidate, Diane Levesque, has a few pet issues. We know this because of her occasionally-rambling responses to the questions at the candidate forum and the questions posed by the Sentinel. Many responses were only partially related to the questions before diverging onto a tangent focused on those pet issues – potholes, Pegasys, and pipelines. The answers that did not focus on these issues exhibited a lack of understanding of the workings of representative government, municipal management, and business operations.
If Levesque is elected, I picture that her unrealistic expectations and resultant behavior will temporarily stall Enid’s continuing growth. If Wilson is elected, will continue to respond to her task with the same sense of urgency and focus she has exhibited for the last four years. I endorse Tammy Wilson.
2. After reviewing the candidate forum and the Route 60 questions, I would endorse Tammy Wilson. Ms. Levesque touched on some things that I would love to see in Enid, such as a recreational lake, but when it comes down to prioritizing the issues, I feel that Mrs. Wilson has a more logical approach, and her ideas are much easier to follow. I appreciate the amount of attention Mrs. Wilson gives to quality of life issues, because not only do those issues help bring new companies to our city, but they also make it worth STAYING for the wonderful people who already live here. I am a believer in the revitalization of our downtown, and I believe Mrs. Wilson will continue to work to make that an ongoing priority.
3. I found Levesque’s campaign intriguing. I could not figure out if she was truly running to enact change or running simply to annoy the incumbent. I prefer to think that she wanted to enact change, but based on history, it’s hard to figure out. Nevertheless, I found some of Ms. Levesque’s campaign issues to be worthy of listening to. A recreational lake would have been nice and yes, I think Koch could’ve help build it, but I think it might be too late. Plus, multiple water studies warn that lakes may not work. I know PEGASYS seemed to be a hot button topic for Levesque based on her answers at the campaign forum, and she raised some good points there. Whoever wins this contest, I hope they search out the answers to the censorship issues with the Enid Television Network.
For her part, Tammy Wilson has done a good job as a representative of ward 5. Reviewing her questionnaire, I did take some issue with her opinion that if she could, she would bring back Eric Benson. Benson did a great amount of good things while he was City Manager. Obviously, even he felt it was time to go. It is someone else’s turn. Now, obviously, that was a hypothetical opinion type question, so she is entitled to that and it was all in good fun.
Wilson has a good history of working within the community to bring about change. She has a history of working within the community to promote Enid. She also has a history of being one of the most available commissioners to communicate with. She readily admits that honesty or truth CAN sometimes comes across as abrasive or negative when the other party doesn’t agree. The general public needs to understand that just because you don’t agree with what a politician says doesn’t make them a liar and it doesn’t make what you say the truth. Examine the facts.
I endorse Tammy Wilson.