Roscoe Turner endorses Bill Christiansen for Mayor of Tulsa
Former City Councilor Roscoe Turner has announced his endorsement of his long-time Council colleague Bill Christiansen in the 2013 race for Mayor of Tulsa. Christiansen will face two other announced candidates, incumbent Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. and former Mayor Kathy Taylor.
From the Christiansen campaign news release:
In welcoming the support of the long-time north Tulsa leader Christiansen cited the Turner endorsement as yet another sign that the people of our community are excited about the prospect of a Mayor for all Tulsa. Christiansen stated, "Roscoe has a reputation for telling it like it is and standing up for the interests of Tulsans. His confidence in me and our campaign is a great honor."
Turner stated: "I have never before publically endorsed another city candidate for office. I would not be involved in this election if I did not feel strongly that if Bill Christiansen is not elected, the people of Tulsa will suffer. Now more than ever we need a Mayor that seeks to be a servant leader - not the city boss. During his time on the City Council Bill had a great relationship with everyone he worked with. He showed genuine concern for every part of Tulsa. When he says he wants to a Mayor for all of Tulsa his words are consistent with his past actions."
Turner pointed to the recent city-wide defeat of the Vision 2 package as proof that the people of Tulsa are ready to stand up to the special interests and demand competence and accountability before supporting spending programs. Turner said, "Like the successful fight against Vision 2, I am calling on Tulsans to get the facts, and don't be fooled by big money gimmicks. We need to show up in record numbers and prove once again, the day has past when the select few can buy the votes of the people of North, East, West and South Tulsa."
The endorsement by Turner is an indication of Christiansen's political transformation from Chambercrat to populist reformer. The same Money Belt-backed push that defeated Turner in the 2002 Democratic primary also helped Christiansen unseat incumbent Todd Huston. Huston and Turner had both opposed "It's Tulsa's Time," the failed Chamber-backed attempt to raise the city sales tax for a sports arena in 2000, marking them for establishment revenge.
When Turner returned to the Council in 2004, he aligned himself with the "Gang of Five," an ethnically and geographically diverse coalition of councilors (Jack Henderson, Jim Mautino, Chris Medlock, Sam Roop, and Turner) representing the historically neglected western, northern, and eastern periphery of Tulsa. Christiansen was aligned on the other side with Randy Sullivan, Tom Baker, and Susan Neal, opposing the Gang of Five on council organization, Chamber funding, investigation of airport mismanagement, and neighborhood issues.
In later years, Christiansen was confronted by threats to neighborhood integrity and citizen involvement in planning. Christiansen opposed the proposed Yale alignment for a new bridge to Bixby, putting him at odds with many erstwhile allies. The treatment of neighboring homeowners in the rezoning and development of a south Tulsa apartment complex prompted Christiansen to push for and co-chair a Council task force on land use communication in 2009. That same year, Christiansen was targeted for defeat by the same establishment that had elevated him in 2002, but he successfully turned back a challenge from Tulsa Community Foundation head Phil Lakin. Christiansen opted not to run for re-election in 2011. In 2012, Christiansen came out in opposition to the Vision2 county sales tax scheme, as did Turner.
If Christiansen can sew up the support of north, south, west, and east Tulsa while Taylor and Bartlett Jr fight over their core constituency in the Midtown Money Belt, Christiansen has a strong chance of beating his wealthier competitors in the June primary. A contested special Republican primary election the same day should boost turnout in south Tulsa where it should also boost Christiansen's chances.
MORE: Bill Christiansen has opened a campaign headquarters at 3939 S. Harvard Ave.
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