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By JARREL WADE World Staff Writer | Updated Yesterday
The Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association announced its first-ever endorsement of a Tulsa mayoral candidate Saturday, tapping Councilor G.T. Bynum for the office.
Bynum is challenging Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who both go to the polls June 28 alongside three other candidates in a non-partisan primary vote in which any registered voter may participate.
The teacher’s union endorsement of Bynum joins the police and fire unions, who endorsed Bynum previously.
Shawna Mott-Wright, TCTA vice president, said she doesn’t know why the teachers union hasn’t endorsed a mayoral candidate before, despite regularly endorsing candidates in state and other races. The organization has been in existence since the 1930s.
Mott-Wright said the frustration teachers have had — particularly this year — highlighted the need to take a stance in local leadership.
“We need a leader for our city who is going to step up and make the hard decisions — the right decisions,” Mott-Wright said. “We need someone with a backbone who will do what is right regardless of party affiliation and regardless of the politics of all of it.”
Since Bynum announced his candidacy last year, education has been one of the top issues in his platform. As part of his stump speech, Bynum calls for a focus on education, modernization of the Tulsa city-county relationship and an overarching goal of making Tulsa nationally competitive.
“For too long, the Tulsa city government has taken a pass on true leadership in the field of education,” Bynum said in a statement. “This must change, and I am thankful Tulsa teachers agree. I look forward to working with the TCTA to make this the best place in Oklahoma to receive an education.”
Bartlett, too, has championed education in his platform, highlighting the aerospace academy he helped create to give high-school students hands-on learning in engineering and manufacturing.
The academy is currently just one class, but Bartlett hopes to have versions of it accessible to every high school in Tulsa in his next term.
The June 28 primary vote could elect a candidate outright if any one of them gets more than 50 percent of the votes.
If none gets more than half of the votes, an August runoff election is possible before the two front runners will go to a general election Nov. 8.
TULSA, OK – Today, the Tulsa Fire Fighter’s Political Action Committee formally endorsed G.T. Bynum for Tulsa Mayor.
“As a City Councilor, G.T. has been steadfast in his support for the Tulsa Fire Department. His strong commitment to public safety and unwavering advocacy for our firefighters greatly benefits the citizens of Tulsa,” said Local 176 former President Sandy McGhee. “It is because of his unyielding determination to better this city and his understanding that it cannot be done without public safety as a top priority that the Tulsa Fire Fighter’s Political Action Committee proudly endorses G.T. Bynum for Tulsa Mayor.”
“Public Safety is the most vital role of any municipal government. As a member of the Tulsa City Council, I have always worked with my colleagues to improve public safety and will continue to do so as mayor,” stated Bynum. “Our firefighters must have an advocate in the Mayor’s Office who will stand up for them and make sure they have the resources needed to keep Tulsans safe.”
“Going back to my days working for the American Red Cross, I routinely joined firefighters at the scene of house fires in order to assist displaced families. That experience gave me tremendous admiration for the courage and selflessness our firefighters display in protecting Tulsans. I am honored to stand with these heroes as we continue to grow a coalition that will unite Tulsans and leave this city better for generations to come,” said Bynum.
For G.T. Bynum, this campaign is about renewing a spirit of high expectations in Tulsa. Throughout our history as a city, Tulsans have united to accomplish great things. But it isn’t enough to just say something. A mayor should have a track record of accomplishing the goals they set out to achieve.
G.T. has already:
- Worked to establish the first Municipal Veterans Treatment Court in the United States;
- Wrote the budget amendment that put our Tulsa Police helicopters back in service;
- Restored funding for Tulsa Police academies in multiple years.
As Mayor, G.T. will: Work to make Tulsa the employer of choice for Police Officers and Firefighters in Oklahoma, while partnering with our vibrant not-for-profit community to address crime in a comprehensive way.
G.T. has already:
- Led the successful passage of the two largest streets improvement programs in Tulsa history;
- Worked to implement 24-hour-a-day street construction projects in targeted areas, reducing the interruption for drivers;
- Saved an estimated $1 million in street maintenance funding by ending the practice of using that money for other projects.
As Mayor, G.T. will: Finish what we started on street improvements, returning Tulsa to an acceptable standard of street quality.
G.T. has already:
- Developed the practice of holding an annual Mayor-Council retreat, reducing bickering at City Hall and focusing the City on a more proactive agenda.
- Worked with County leaders to aid the successful development of both the Improve Our Tulsa and Vision programs;
- Led the effort to improve public safety relationship with Tulsa Public Schools, increasing schools’ ability to keep kids safe.
As Mayor, G.T. will: 1) Partner with area schools to achieve the goal of establishing Tulsa as the premier place in Oklahoma to receive an education. 2) Partner with Tulsa County to reduce duplication of services and improve quality of service for taxpayers.
G.T. has already:
- Created the first municipal rainy day fund in the state of Oklahoma;
- Cut bloated employee travel expenses to fund Police academies;
- Worked to expand powers of the City Auditor to include performance auditing.
As Mayor, G.T. will: Reorient the City’s budgeting to run more like a business, focused on outcomes for customers.