Former City Councilor Bill Christiansen announces candidacy for mayor of Tulsa
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
2/25/13 at 3:19 PM
Tulsa's 2013 mayor's race got off to an early start Tuesday as former Councilor Bill Christiansen announced that he will challenge Mayor Dewey Bartlett to lead the city.
"I have served in public office for 10 years in Tulsa and want to continue to give back to the citizens of Tulsa by becoming the next mayor of Tulsa," he said during a morning news conference at Helmerich Park, 73rd Street and Riverside Drive.
"Tulsa is a good city - with the right direction, we can make it a great city."
Christiansen, 64, was the city councilor for District 8 from 2002 to 2011 and owns Christiansen Aviation, which is celebrating its 40th year in business.
Christiansen said his platform is in the works but listed four priorities: pursuing economic development, restoring public safety, cultivating neighborhoods and continuing street improvements.
Filing for the mayor's race is not until spring 2013, with the primary in June and the general election in November.
Christiansen said he is starting his campaign early to meet with as many residents as possible.
"I want to go out and build relationships and listen to the citizens," he told the Tulsa World. "This is about me getting to know them, and them getting to know me. Each district in town has its own set of issues - I want to learn them all.
"I'm ready for people to ask me the hard questions."
Christiansen said he wants to participate in as many public debates and forums as possible in the next 12 months.
Christiansen is Bartlett's first announced opponent.
Councilor G.T. Bynum has said he will decide whether to run at the end of the year, once his chairmanship is over.
Businesswoman Sharon King Davis recently revealed that she is attending the Women's Campaign School at Yale University this summer to help her decide whether she will campaign to be Tulsa's mayor.
Former state legislator Lucky Lamons, former Mayor Kathy Taylor, Realtor Bill Leighty and state Sen. Tom Adelson are other potential candidates, as previously reported by the Tulsa World.
Christiansen did not mention Bartlett by name during his news conference.
"I don't want to start off my campaign throwing stones at Mayor Bartlett," he said to the Tulsa World. "As a matter of fact, I'm really hoping to keep the campaign as positive as possible. I think by the end of November, the citizens will be tired of negative campaigning from the national and state elections.
"I hope we will be able to focus on the issues, so the voters can see where we stand and make an educated decision."
This will be the first nonpartisan mayor's race, as was approved by voters in a City Charter amendment last fall.
If only two candidates file for the mayor's post, they automatically advance to the general election.
If more than two candidates file but one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes at the primary election, that candidate is elected.
If more than two candidates file and no one gets more than 50 percent in the primary but two together total more than 50 percent, then those two top vote-getters advance to the general election.
If more than two candidates file but no one gets more than 50 percent and no two total more than 50 percent, then the top candidates whose votes total more than 50 percent go to a runoff election.
Christiansen said he supported moving to a nonpartisan system.
"Although I'm a conservative Republican," he said, "the issues we have to deal with at City Hall are really nonpartisan."
Political experience: City councilor for District 8 from 2002 to 2011
Career: Christiansen Aviation owner
Military service: Retired Marine
Education: University of Oklahoma, bachelor's degree in business administration
Family: Wife, Veretta; two grown sons, Bryan and Ken, and their families
Web site: tulsaworld.com/billchristiansen
Campaign cellphone: 918-346-0890
City Council nonpartisan elections
City Council seats in Districts 1, 4 and 7 are up this year in the city's first nonpartisan political races.
Councilor Blake Ewing of District 4 was automatically re-elected to a two-year term because he drew no opposition during the spring candidate filing period.
District 1 Councilor Jack Henderson and District 7 Councilor Tom Mansur each drew one challenger, so their races won't be settled until the Nov. 6 general election.
Henderson will face Twan Jones, a self-employed consultant, while Mansur will square off with Arianna Moore, a MetLife personal marketing assistant. The winners will secure two-year terms.
The three council seats up this year are part of a staggered election process that was negated last fall by voter-approved charter amendment put forth by Save Our Tulsa.
It reverts all council terms to two-year terms with all councilors up for election at the same time.
The amendment, however, won't go into effect until 2014 to allow for time to get the elections back in sync.
In 2013, seats in Districts 2, 5 and 8 will be filled for a one-year term.
Then in 2014, all nine council seats will be up for two-year terms.
Original Print Headline: Mayor's race gets its first challenger
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
KT KING/Tulsa World
Former City Councilor Bill Christiansen announces his 2013 campaign for Tulsa mayor during a Tuesday news conference at Helmerich Park on Riverside Drive. KT KING/Tulsa World