Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, highlighting job growth in Tulsa and the need to “stay the course” announced this week that he will seek re-election. Many business and civic leaders were delighted.
“Everywhere I go I hear one resounding theme over and over again. Things have turned around. Tulsa is on the move. For the first time in a long time, Tulsans are optimistic. We have momentum because we’re creating jobs again,” Bartlett said.
“Three years ago when I took over as mayor, our city was losing jobs and losing jobs fast. We faced difficult economic times and City Hall was having a difficult time paying its bills. Since then, we’ve created nearly 15,000 jobs and the pace of job creation continues to escalate,” he said.
Bartlett said Tulsans should stay the course, and pointed out that the city has had four mayors in 10 years. He said Tulsa needs consistency in its management especially since the city is moving in the right direction.
“Not only are we paying our bills at City Hall, we now have a $2 million rainy day fund. The rainy day fund is so important because it guarantees that in good times and bad times, we will keep the lights on, the helicopters in the air and keep boots on the ground fighting crime.
“We did all of this without raising taxes. We used common sense business principles,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett’s announcement was made at the corner of 61st and Yale Avenue at American Bank’s new building, at a corner area where he said Tulsans see construction and progress in every direction.
Bartlett recalled the difficult decisions he had to make after taking over as mayor three years ago. He said immediately after taking over as mayor, he had to ask city employees to operate with less. “We couldn’t ask Tulsans to do more than City Hall was willing to do. We had to cut back and live within our means.
“We had to stay open for business. We had to fight to keep our lights on, maintain and rebuild our streets and secure out neighborhoods.”
Bartlett said now Tulsa is prospering and City Hall is better managed. He said the city is able to increase its public safety focus. The city has added 143 new police recruits in less than two years and 103 firefighters.
“Tulsa did not give up, and neither did I, nor will I. Now we are reaping the benefit of that attitude, and I’d say we should definitely stay the course.”
Bartlett also said partisan bickering in City Hall has been reduced, and there are fewer regional divides. “We decided that we were One Tulsa, and we would solve our issues together. There was no longer east Tulsa, west Tulsa, South Tulsa, midtown or north Tulsa. We united as simply One Tulsa.”
The mayor also said as a leader has not just listened, but heard from Tulsans through town hall meetings and citizen surveys.
“You, the citizens, are the employers and — as the mayor — I am your employee. The taxpayers don’t work for the City Council, nor do the taxpayers work for the city’s labor unions. We ALL work for you,” Bartlett said.