Short aims for at-large seat on Jenks City Council
Kevin Short’s family has been a part of Jenks since before it was an official city, but never as elected officials.
Short is hoping that changes soon, as he has announced his decision to run for the at-large seat on the Jenks City Council.
Currently, mayor Robert Lee holds the at-large seat, but Lee has recently announced he is not seeking re-election.
Even though Lee is the current Jenks mayor, if Short wins the election April 6, he will not automatically be named the new mayor. Once the new city council is established, a new mayor will be appointed from the seven council members.
Short, his wife and children have lived in Jenks for the past 22 years, but his family has been a part of Jenks for more than 100 years. Short’s great grandfather moved to the Jenks area in 1904.
His grandfather and grandmother both grew up in Jenks and graduated from Jenks High School. His father also attended Jenks Public Schools until he was a teenager when the family moved to Venezuela with the oil and gas industry.
Short’s father then moved back to Tulsa after school and met his mother. The couple married and lived in the Jenks Public Schools district on the east side of the Arkansas River.
Short attended Jenks Public Schools and graduated from Jenks in 1988. After going away for several years to college, Short married and moved back to Jenks in 1999.
Short’s daughter graduated from JHS in 2020 and son is a current junior at Jenks. When his son graduates in 2022, his children will be fourth generation Jenks Public Schools attendees.
“I have seen a lot in this city,” Short said. “I remember when Elm Street and Main Street was a four-way stop sign and Elm was a two-lane road. I have seen a lot of evolution throughout the years. There has been change, but moderate for the most part. When the Creek Turnpike came in, that changed the game forever. It provided the infrastructure for south Jenks to grow gave the city multiple avenues into town.”
Short added on top of the Creek Turnpike, once the new Main Street Bridge was built, it helped connect south Tulsa and Jenks as Tulsa began to grow south.
Short said the new infrastructure was vital to the town’s growth and vital to the school district.
“Jenks wouldn’t be Jenks without the school system. I have seen that district grow leaps and bounds. It has been fascinating to watch Jenks, Bixby and Glenpool all kind of grow into each other.”
Short said the City of Jenks has some great opportunities and that is the tipping point for why he chose to run for city council.
“I want to be able to help lead that effort. I believe being in business for the last 30 years and what I do in helping people achieve their goals will translate to the city council and help provide some guidance in economic growth. If we can get the right leadership in place and build a cohesive unit, this place can explode.”
With Jenks’ revenue base purely based on sales tax, Short said having the right industries and businesses in town is important.
“We all want nice things, but we have to have money to go do those things. I want to maximize our very limited resources. The reality is Jenks is land-locked and because of that, we have to focus on maximizing our economic opportunities.”
Short said there have been several opportunities the city has missed out on that would have brought a lot of economic prosperity and brought the correct type of entity to the city.
“The good news is we have economic opportunities right in front of our face and with the right city council, we can execute on those opportunities. If we can execute on those opportunities the revenue stream will come. I think our chamber does a fantastic job. They are going out there and beating the bushes and getting us ‘at bats.’ Unfortunately, there are only so many ‘at bats.’ It’s all about building relationships.”
Short said it isn’t just about building relationships with the potential incoming business, but with the chamber, the city staff and Jenks’ local community leaders. Short added he also would like relationships built with the Tulsa City Council, Bixby City Council and Glenpool City Council.
“In some sense, we are competing, and I get that, but at the end of the day if those other cities are successful, I truly believe Jenks will be successful as well. I believe I can help build those relationships. I love this city. I appreciate where it has been, but I also see where it is going. I would like to be there to help lead it.”