TULSA - Candidates Dewey Bartlett and G.T. Bynum met Friday to debate the issues affecting the City of Tulsa as both men seek the mayor's office.
The mayor and the city councilor faced off at the 1170 KFAQ studio Friday at 8 a.m. during The Pat Campbell Show.
Over the course of an hour, Bynum painted himself as the candidate who could unite Tulsans, as well as political and business leaders to grow the City of Tulsa. In doing so, Bynum portrayed Bartlett as a leader whose lack of aggressiveness has led to inadequate growth for a city Bynum says is being outpaced by Oklahoma City's job growth at a 2-1 margin.
“If people want to keep management in place that’s been getting beat 2-1 by Oklahoma City on job growth and that’s the experience they’re looking for, then the choice is obvious in the election. I think we can do better and my supporters do [think that] as well,” he said.
Bartlett says his success is evidenced by voters who overwhelmingly supported the Vision Tulsa sales tax extension, which he called a cornerstone of his administration's accomplishments, and pointed to thousands of jobs created during his years in office.
“Anybody walking around this city, they see the downtown area, they see the ballpark, they see the BOK Center, they see all the restaurants and bars and all the different things that we have and they also see the results of the Vision Tulsa extension,” Bartlett countered.
Economic development was a central theme of the debate, especially on the topic of the south Tulsa low water dam. The dam still needs $13 million in funding before year's end.
Bartlett claimed that Bynum and fellow councilors pushed the belief that the Muskogee (Creek) Nation would foot a significant portion of that bill in the creation of the dam. He said the tribe's new leadership wasn't aware of that deal, which now hangs in the balance.
“He has said, I think incorrectly at the time, that a deal had been done with the Creeks, and it simply wasn’t true,” the mayor said.
Bynum, with a smile, said Mayor Bartlett and candidate Bartlett are two different people. He says the mayor understands that a deal is going to get done and that it has been in the works for three years.
“It’s going to get done, and, you know, there’s a difference between candidate Dewey and Mayor Dewey. Mayor Dewey was in those meetings with me, with the Creek Nation, when we were discussing this,” Bynum said.
The primary election is June 28.
Those interested in watching the full debate can do so in the player above!
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