Former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor kicks off re-election campaign
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
2/27/13 at 8:39 AM
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With her name beaming from the stadium scoreboard outside, former Mayor Kathy Taylor told hundreds of people jammed into a conference room at ONEOK Field on Tuesday exactly what they'd come to hear.
"I am convinced that Tulsa needs strong, proven leadership to move Tulsa forward," Taylor said. "So today I stand before you as a candidate for the mayor of the city of Tulsa to lead our city."
The announcement came about 40 minutes into what was described as the Taylor campaign's official kickoff, but it had the informal air of a Sunday picnic, with supporters munching on hot dogs and popcorn and quenching their thirst with cans of pop.
Taylor's daughter, Elizabeth Ellison, and stepdaughter, Molly Pellegrini, introduced the former mayor, but not before noting that although one is a Democrat and the other is a Republican, both will be working to put Taylor back in the office she chose to leave in 2009.
"We hope that despite our differences we can all come together to support my mom, Kathy Taylor, in making Tulsa a better place," Ellison said.
Taylor, a Democrat, joins two Republicans - Mayor Dewey Bartlett and former City Councilor Bill Christiansen - as announced candidates for mayor.
Taylor has said previously that she chose not to seek re-election to give her full attention to running the city during the Great Recession.
On Tuesday, she pounded home the message that appeared below her name on the stadium scoreboard - "Proven Tulsa Leadership" - without once mentioning the sitting mayor by name.
"Tulsans will face a fundamental choice in June," Taylor said. "Candidates will make promises. But the question for Tulsa is: With the future of Tulsa on the line, do we opt for promised leadership or proven leadership?"
Taylor said that despite the difficult economic times she faced while in office, she got things done, including passage of the Fix Our Streets program and completion of a new comprehensive plan for the city.
"We laid the foundation for the future together with the completion of the award-winning BOK Center, recent home to the Bassmaster Classic, ONEOK stadium, ... the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park just across the street," she said.
"So I am excited to see that the seeds that you and I planted together for Tulsa's revitalization have bloomed beautifully - the Guthrie Green, the arts and humanities building, the soon-to-be-completed Green Arch building, the Shoppes on North Peoria, the Aloft Hotel at old City Hall and so many more."
Taylor also looked ahead, saying she wants to create more vibrant neighborhoods, lift up entrepreneurs and small-business owners, and make the city safer.
"We can do all these things and more together," she said. "We proved it before, and we will do it again."
Tuesday's campaign kickoff ended on a musical note, with Taylor and her family joining local performer Rebecca Ungerman on a platform as Ungerman sang her "Taylor for Tulsa" song.
"Taylor for Tulsa," Ungerman sang. "It's time to see what else Kathy Taylor can do."
Standing close by was Andrea Spencer, a dental hygienist.
"I think her results in her first (term) were a great example of what I would like to see Tulsa head back to," Spencer said of the former mayor. "I love her."
Under the city's new nonpartisan election system, all mayoral candidates will compete in the June 11 primary. Should one candidate get more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she would become the city's next mayor and would be sworn into office in December.
If two candidates receive the majority of the votes, they advance to the general election on Nov. 12.
If it takes three or more candidates to reach a majority of the votes, those candidates will compete in an Aug. 13 runoff election.
Original Print Headline: Ex-mayor will campaign to retake city's helm
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor announces her re-election campaign Tuesday at ONEOK Field. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World