Ward 4 City Council seat to be decided Monday
There are five candidates the Jenks City Council will be deciding between for the Ward 4 seat Monday at the City Council Meeting.
Craig Bowman, Grant Butler, Dawn Dyke, Matt McDonald and Christopher Woods put their name in the hat to replace Ward City Council Member and Vice Mayor Dr. Josh Wedman, who stepped down from the position in September.
The Jenks Tribune asked each candidate the five same questions in a question and answer session. Here is how each candidate responded to each question:
Jenks Tribune: How long have you lived in Jenks?
Craig Bowman: I moved to the Jenks school district in 1987 and graduated from Jenks High School in 1994.
Grant Butler: Growing up I lived on the outskirts of Jenks in Delaware Point neighborhood at 101st and Riverside. Following college, I returned to the area and have resided in Jenks for 12 years.
Dawn Dyke: My husband and I have lived in Jenks 19 years.
Matt McDonald: I have lived in Jenks for 9 years.
Christopher Woods: My wife, daughters, and I have lived in Jenks since December 2005.
JT: Why is Jenks special to you?
CB: To me, Jenks is home. I grew up here, started a business, and my wife and I are raising our two daughters in Jenks. We have the best school system in the state and an unmatched quality of life. Mostly, what makes Jenks special is the people. Our friends, neighbors, churches and businesses make up what we all know as Jenks and they are what make it special.
GB: Every important event of my adult life has happened in Jenks. I started my first job out of college, bought my first home, married my wife and celebrated our marriage at the Oklahoma Aquarium, brought three beautiful children into the world, and opened our family business, Beair Medical Group, here. As the place where my wife and I live, work, and are raising our family, there is no place more precious to us than Jenks.
DD: There are many reasons that Jenks is special to me. First and foremost, my children grew up in Jenks. I have many memories of them attending school and being involved in the community. Our family moved to Jenks because of the school system, the small-town feel, and the friendly people. This all holds true today and is why we recently built our third home in the City of Jenks.
MM: Jenks is home; I attended Jenks schools from third grade until I graduated from JHS in 2001. I enjoyed my time here so much that, after my wife and I got married, we decided to move back and start our family here. Our school system is second to none, and I love the closeness of the community combined with the ease of access to the wider Tulsa area.
CW: Jenks is special to my wife and I for a reason that is personal yet shared by many Jenks residents: it is where we raised our family. Like many families, we were drawn to Jenks in large part due to the school system. We moved here before our children began kindergarten. Since then, our oldest daughter graduated from Jenks High School, and our youngest daughter is a Senior at Jenks High School. As such, Jenks has been the source of so many events in our lives—whether day-to-day happenings such as school plays, Girl Scout meetings, band concerts, and lacrosse practice, or milestones such as birthdays, homecomings, and graduation. Jenks, therefore, is much more than where we live; it is our home.
JT: Why do you want to serve on City Council?
CB: I want to serve on the Jenks City Council because I have always believed in serving others. When you live in a community, you owe it to our community to give back and to help build it. We have to leave our city better than we found it and always do what’s best for Jenks. We cannot sit back and wait for things to happen. We have to get involved and that is something my family and I have proudly been doing, whether it is volunteering with Jenks athletics, serving on the Chamber Board of Directors or serving on the City of Jenks Bond Oversight Committee, and now the City Planning Commission.
GB: As someone who does not consider himself a politician, I was drawn to serve on the city council after seeing Jenks through the eyes of a husband, father, small business owner, and concerned citizen. I know the great community we have here is a rarity, and I see many opportunities for growth, development, and a lasting legacy for our children and grandchildren. There are few individuals my age and in my station in life currently serving in our city government. As my family is representative of the current demographic in Jenks, I feel it is important that someone like myself represents this large subset of the Jenks population. I want to serve the constituents of Ward 4 and the city as a whole in a meaningful way that will have a strong impact on the future.
DD: I have a passion for supporting Jenks and a proven track record of leadership. While my children attended JPS over the last thirteen years, I served in many capacities ranging from elementary PTAG President to the Gradfest Volunteer Coordinator, working successfully with hundreds of teachers, parents, and volunteers. Regardless of the role, supporting the Jenks community through the exceptional school system has been both rewarding and challenging. Now that my children have graduated, serving on the Jenks City Council would be an amazing opportunity to serve the community in a new and impactful way, beyond the school system.
MM: I want to serve on the Council to help shepherd Jenks through its continued growth and development. I consider it the Council’s job to continue improving the infrastructure in our community to not only catch up with our current population, but also to set the stage for future residential and commercial growth. This includes not only street widening projects, but also improving drainage throughout the city, as well as tying together existing trails and bike paths into a more comprehensive network. Anyone who has lived in the Tulsa metro for any amount of time recognizes that infrastructure has not kept up with growth. If appointed as a member of the City Council, I will do everything in my power to remedy that in Jenks’ case.
CW: Having benefitted from living in Jenks for the last 14 years, I desire to repay the community through service to Jenks. I believe my background—nearly two decades as a lawyer handling business litigation and business transactional matters, including contracts, real property issues, and financial transactions—has provided me the experience and perspective that can be of value to the City Council.
JT: What would you say Jenks’ identity is?
CB: As our community has grown from around 5,000 people to over 20,000 people today, we’ve been able to keep all that is special about our community. As we look toward future growth (housing and commercial projects such as Simon’s Tulsa Premium Outlets), it is important that we protect and maintain that close-knit, small-town feel that all of us know as Jenks.
GB: Jenks is a growing city that has maintained a hometown feel. We are rooted in our past and the rich history that led us to where we are today, and at the same time, we are moving toward the future with new ideas and an ever-evolving population of multi-generational families and business owners. Jenks is the best of both worlds so to speak … a perfect marriage of old and new.
DD: Jenks is a family-friendly small town known for its excellent schools and strong business climate. With the new development of the River District and continued housing boom, citizens now have the power to decide for themselves what the identity of Jenks should be for future generations to come. As a representative of the people of Jenks, my commitment is to create an environment where our city can reach its maximum potential while maintaining its small-town charm.
MM: Jenks is a suburb that has a small-town feel while still having access to the amenities of a larger community. It can be a difficult balance, but if done correctly it’s the best of both worlds. Most of us work outside the city limits, but we know where our home is and we want it to be the best it can be.
CW: For obvious reasons, Jenks is associated with excellence, particularly excellent schools, sports, and extracurricular activities. But those of us who choose to live in Jenks (not just within the Jenks school district) know that what distinguishes us is a sense of community. Despite its growth, Jenks has maintained a small-town feel, where residents know their neighbors, care about the success of local businesses, and are civically engaged. If I have the honor of serving on the City Council, I will strive to protect Jenks’ unique community identity.
JT: What is your vision for the City of Jenks in the next 10 years?
CB: In the next 10 years, Jenks has a huge opportunity. As our commercial base grows with projects such as the Outlet Mall, we have to invest in downtown. We need to partner with new businesses that will keep our downtown relevant and vibrant while still respecting the past. The city has also made considerable investments in our trail and sidewalk systems. We have to make our town walkable and make sure all parts of Jenks are connected. I hope that my family and I will one day be able to bike or walk from my house in south Jenks to downtown Jenks or to my office without having to engage with heavy traffic. I also see Jenks as a point of destination for people across the region to come to and visit (RiverWalk, the Oklahoma Aquarium, the Outlet Mall, and downtown Jenks). To accommodate these things, we have to invest in our infrastructure. We have to make sure our roads are high quality and that our water and sewer systems can handle the growth we have coming.
GB: In the next 10 years, I want to see Jenks continue to maintain the small town charm that makes it unique, while developing a robust Main Street that attracts new businesses, restaurants, and activities for families. I want to see Main Street serve as the hub for major events in the city, and be a place where walkability, entrepreneurship, and hometown pride are cultivated. I want to see continued support for our schools, police, fire fighters, and medical providers as this is central to any well run city. I want to ensure that those individuals in education and helping professions have a voice and are leading the discussions surrounding schools, safety, health, and wellness. Over the next several years, I hope we will continue to see improved infrastructure as new developments and families come to our area. My goal is for more local families to feel the same tremendous pride in their hometown as my family and I feel each and every day living here.
DD: As we look to the future, we have an incredible opportunity to leverage our resources and unique charms to grow and provide improved services to our neighbors. Key points of my visions for Jenks include:
•Infrastructure – Many aspects of our city were designed for a day when we would reach 10,000 residents. As one of the fastest-growing communities in Oklahoma year after year, we must execute a vision for the Jenks of 2030, when more than 30,000 or more people will be our neighbors. Road congestion is a daily frustration for many Jenks residents today and should be a priority. We must also continue to invest in water, sewer, and other public services to meet this continued growth. Promoting high-quality housing and commercial developments will encourage individuals and businesses to invest in our community.
•Public Safety – Supporting those who put their lives on the line for the safety of our community must be at the top of our mind. As our community evolves, our City Council must ensure we generate a long-term plan to guarantee we have the Police, Fire, and Emergency Response resources necessary to keep the residents of Jenks safe. Another way to keep our community safe is to separate industrial businesses from residential areas. In particular, we need to create a comprehensive safety plan for the Phillips 66 butane terminal on Elwood and other high-risk industries.
•Leveraging Downtown – As the original attraction of our city, downtown has evolved and there is more to come. We need to ensure that the additional growth harmonizes with existing neighborhoods. The city is currently updating the appearance review district to redefine those standards. This needs to include community involvement to reach a unified vision. Leverage downtown to me is about having a variety of businesses, events, and programs to attract people from around the area. As our growth happens in new areas, it’s important to keep downtown linked to those new developments. This includes walkability, bike paths and even a trolley system to make it easy for visitors to experience everything Jenks has to offer.
•Economic Development – The foundation of all of our plans is economic development. With wise stewardship and an eye on purposeful growth, Jenks has an even brighter future ahead, and we can ensure it remains a unique and vital member of our metropolitan landscape. We want people to be able to live, work, and play in our great community of Jenks, Oklahoma.
MM: In the next 10 years, I want to see Jenks continue to develop a local entertainment scene that will bring folks in from around the area, as well as give local families more options to keep their money in Jenks. I hope that the City can partner with the Creek Nation to continue development along the Arkansas River, to the benefit of both parties. We must also continue to build Downtown Jenks into a place that people drive to, rather than through. We’ve already made great strides with community events, such as the Plant & Herb Festival and the annual Christmas Parade, and I hope to see more of that sort of activity.
Some specific items I’d love to see in our future: a children’s museum/activity center (the Magic House in St. Louis is a great example of what I’m talking about), a craft brewery and/or brewpub, and a pedicab or similar transit service that can furnish transport between our various entertainment areas (downtown,the Riverwalk, the aquarium, the outlet mall, etc. That last item is particularly crucial to avoid further traffic congestion or having to set aside more lands for parking lots or garages. As I mentioned previously, it is critical we continue to expand our infrastructure to keep up with the expected population growth. Our citizens deserve better than to be stuck in traffic or to watch streets flood due to decisions that were made (or that were neglected to be made) years or even decades ago.
CW: My vision for Jenks over the next decade is to ensure growth at a sustainable pace, with an emphasis on providing a safe environment for our children and promoting local businesses. It is imperative that Jenks maintain and improve its infrastructure and manage growth to avoid unduly straining our existing streets, public works, and fire and police resources.