NORMAN — Residents will go to the polls April 2 to elect representatives in Wards 1, 5 and 7. Roger Gallagher faces Greg Heiple in Ward 1. Dave Spaulding is running against Lynne Miller in Ward 5. Linda Lockett and Stephen Tyler Holman will compete for the Ward 7 seat.
Ward 3 representative Robert Castleberry, 48, will assume that seat unopposed, although ballots will indicate a race between him and Benjamin Joe Carter. Carter has withdrawn from the race and is ineligible to serve because he moved outside the ward.
Here's a look at the candidates in the other three wards:
Incumbent Roger Gallagher, 72, a retired airline pilot, is seeking a second term. He is challenged by Greg Heiple, 48, a small-business owner.
Gallagher says he has no hidden agendas and owes no favors to anyone. “I have no pet projects but what would help the city achieve a quality of life,” he said.
Gallagher said he helped get a bond issue passed to build a new animal welfare center and is now on an oversight committee to make sure the project does not go over budget. If re-elected, Gallagher said, he will continue to operate “on a sensible, citywide course of what's good for the city.”
He's for open, transparent government and fiscal responsibility, he said.
Heiple says he wants “to put the front porch back on city government and our community. I want to bring fresh ideas and positive solutions to the city council, while serving the needs of Ward 1.”
A lifelong resident of Norman, Heiple said he understands the importance of Norman's “authentic mix of culture, diversity and history, while maintaining a vibrant business community.”
He's for economic development and efforts to manage and protect the city's natural resources, he said.
Dave Spaulding, 38, is a small-business owner seeking his second term in office. He is opposed by Lynne Miller, 67, a retired educator.
Spaulding says he generally advocates for less government intervention, although he supports continuation of the public safety sales tax.
“I got to do a ride-along last summer with public safety officers when there was an outbreak of wildfires and it gave me a new appreciation of the challenges these officers face each day,” he said.
Spaulding also thinks the city should commit to becoming more business-friendly, which would help grow its tax base. He is concerned about finding solutions to Norman's water supply problems.
Miller said she would like to be a strong voice for residents on the east side. She advocates expanded library services, economic development and more recycling options.
“I am passionate about public service, and I have the time to do this. I love Norman and want to make it a better place,” she said.
Miller said she is concerned about Norman's water supply and the safety of motorists traveling on State Highway 9.
Incumbent Linda Lockett, 74, a retired small-business owner, is seeking a second term. Opposing her is Stephen Tyler Holman, 28, who works for Astronomics.
If re-elected, Lockett said, she wants the city to designate an emergency evacuation route for east-side residents. Last year's wildfires pointed out the need for more emergency preparedness, she said.
Lockett says she is proud of two transportation projects she pushed for in Ward 7. The Cedar Lane Road construction project will begin this year, and the 12th Avenue SE construction project will start after the Cedar Lane project is complete, she said.
She is past president of the Norman Business Association, a past member of the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce and a member of Friends of the Library.
Holman says he appreciates Lockett's service but thinks it is time for a change. He advocates for open government and more people becoming involved.
“I will always have my door open if elected. I want to get as many people involved as possible and work to make Norman a better place,” he said.
Ward 7 is a complex ward that includes the University of Oklahoma campus, fraternities, sororities, apartment complexes and residential neighborhoods south of SH9, Holman said. He wants to represent all of Ward 7 and work with residents to solve problems as they arise, he said.