Occupation: Executive director for Kendall Whittier Inc., Tulsa City Councilor for District 7
Where were you born? San Francisco, California
How long have you lived in District 7? 9 Years
How long have you been a registered voter in the city? 12 years (we moved to Tulsa in 2008)
I am a dedicated, creative and results-oriented leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and 25 years of experience as a small business owner and nonprofit executive leader. A Tulsan by choice, I have lived here for 12 years, including nine in District 7. Prior to choosing Tulsa as the place to settle down, for 13 years my husband and I were professional opera singers based in the Silicon Valley, where I also owned and operated a successful music studio. We relocated to Oklahoma in 2008 to live closer to relatives, seek new career opportunities, secure affordable housing, experience reasonable commute time and, most of all, raise a family of our own.
I served as director of education on the executive management team at Sweet Adelines International from 2008-2014. In 2015, I became executive director of Kendall Whittier Inc, (KWI), a community-based nonprofit organization that feeds neighbors in need. In addition to leading KWI and serving as city councilor for city of Tulsa District 7, I am the president of Shadow Ridge Homeowners’ Association and on the board of directors for Tulsa Opera. We are members of College Hill Presbyterian Church. I still love to sing and regularly share my musical gifts with the community.
I possess a strong business acumen and keen ability to build consensus, achieve strategic goals, and collaborate to accomplish successful outcomes. I have a proven track record of being innovative and pragmatic when recognizing opportunities and resolving challenges.
Why are you running for re-election?
I am seeking to serve a second term in office because there is so much more to do, especially as we respond and recover from the pandemic and its effects on our community. Building trust, increasing accessibility, accountability, and transparency in our local government have been and continue to be my top priorities. I frequently communicate with the folks who live and work in District 7 by email, phone, social media and in-person meetings so they know what is going on in our district and in our city’s government. In addition to keeping residents informed and connecting them to resources, I am a bold advocate for District 7 at City Hall, voicing the hopes, needs, ideas and concerns of my constituents.
I am working with Tulsa Police, WIN Code Enforcement and community partners to seek solutions for resolving the growing panhandling and homelessness issues in District 7. I have fostered relationships in the community and gained experience during my first term to see this issue through, assisting residents in need and preventing more from facing eviction or experiencing homelessness. I am also working with my colleagues at the county and state levels to build consensus and strategize how best to address this crisis. We need a multifaceted approach, which includes creating better economic opportunities, developing a well-educated work force, assisting Tulsans with financial planning and social services, as well as developing affordable housing options to fit the needs of our diverse population.
What do you believe are your top accomplishments in your first term?
My first term in office has been unexpected in so many ways. The last year and a half has truly been a historic time to be a Tulsan. We have a new fire chief, police chief, a new Citizen Engagement Unit, and more community resource officers. We have survived a historic flood, an unexpected tornado and are facing a worldwide viral pandemic.
Top accomplishments over the last 18-months include: Reforming the permitting process, updating policies, and streamlining efficiencies to help our business community and neighborhoods; bringing in new employers and launching new programs to revitalize our retail corridors, empower entrepreneurship, and build affordable housing; providing millions of dollars of relief funds for small businesses, arts organizations, our school community and the most vulnerable among us who have faced eviction during economic uncertainty; launching a Financial Empowerment Center to assist Tulsans with financial planning whether it is to pay off debt, save to buy a home, or raise funds to launch a business; passing a balanced budget this year despite an economic downturn, making smart budget cuts that do not overly burden the services we can provide.
Drafting and passing the Improve Our Tulsa renewal package with historic support brings home more than $36 million to District 7 to rebuild our roads and bridges including funds to widen and modernize E. 91st Street between South Memorial Drive and South Mingo Road, as well as $1 million for community development directly benefiting the residents of southeast Tulsa.