Change is certainly the theme of elections this cycle. We saw it in the general election, and we have now seen it locally.
Chickasha’s voters unseated three incumbents Tuesday night and in a little more than a week Mark Keeling, Cody Turpin and Jim Hopkins will be sworn into office as city council members.
This creates real opportunity for our council. These three gentleman bring a unique set of opinions to the table. They will be a collective voice for a group that has historically felt disenfranchised by the council.
However, it is vastly important our newly elected volunteers dispatch any prior assumptions about governing the city.
It’s easy to sit on the outside and debate the voting process without the decision legitimately affecting our citizens, that time is over.
Keeling, Turpin and Hopkins represent more than their respective wards. They represent the city as a whole, and it is a city that has seen substantial growth over the last two years. It’s vastly important no one on the council do anything to hinder that growth as it is tied into our continued prosperity.
That being said, there is large voting populous that believes the city doesn’t do enough to solve our infrastructure problems and that code enforcement regulations are over reaching. Regardless of whether these notions have merit, our new councilmen will need to educate themselves thoroughly on our current revenue streams, budget and plans for repair. It’s easy to say we must reduce expenses, but when more than 50 percent of a city’s annual cost is created by the police department and fire department it becomes difficult to mitigate losses without increasing taxes.
This is the fight our council faces.
However these three men are unique thinkers. They will view issues in ways our current council can’t and give us all a better picture of what direction the whole of Chickasha really wants to go. It’s critical Mayor Hank Ross and council members Kimmy Loggins, Howard Carpenter, Dr. R.P. Ashanti-Alexander, Jerry Pittman and Blake Elliot listen to the new members of the council and all work together to create a cohesive plan that moves our city forward. The combination of the two groups has the potential to create something truly beautiful.
Finally there are the citizens.
We need to be patient with all on the council. There are going to be some conflicting view points, and as such some stalemates on important issues. Compromise will be key to success for all council members, and we need to remain vigilant, but kind as this new council finds its footing.
We are excited to see where this group of city servants takes our community. We applaud their commitment to Chickasha as we do all who serve on the council. And we thank soon-to-be former Council members Mike Sutterfield, Phylis Steelman and John Toland for their tireless efforts as volunteers with a commitment to better Chickasha.
Editorials are a consensus of the editorial board of The Express-Star.