Candidates weigh in on Edmond business issues

All six candidates have raised their families in Edmond, and more than half started their own businesses in Edmond.
The February 23, 2021 Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum (Photo provided)

The Edmond Chamber recently held a forum with the six city council and mayoral candidates to learn about each individual and understand their priorities. 

When asked about what makes them the best candidate, Davis and Miller leaned heavily into their previous city council experience. Davis has been on the city council for the last nine years, and Miller served as a councilmember for 11 years from 2001 to 2011. 

Mugg referenced her passion for learning and her goal to make well-informed, unbiased decisions in the interest of the community. Peterson and Janis both emphasized their love for the city and desire to connect with citizens. Walters mentioned the importance of giving power back to the people and getting ahead of the city’s fast-paced growth. 

Edmond 2021 Mayoral Candidates Nathan Walters and Darrell Davis at the Candidate Forum put on by the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce (Photo provided)

All six candidates have raised their families in Edmond, and more than half started their own businesses in Edmond. Every candidate was also in support of continuing the city’s business incentive programs and investing in infrastructure. 

Prior to the forum, the Chamber asked each candidate the same eight questions to understand their stance on business-related issues and hear their plans if elected. You can read each candidate’s response on the Chamber’s website.

We’ve included answers to the first question below about each candidate’s top priorities:

Darrell Davis

As a resident of Edmond for more than 30 years, I cherish our community and vow to be a commonsense leader who brings us together. My top priorities are:

  • Improving our fundamental core services, including streets, infrastructure, expanded transit opportunities, police and fire protection
  • Supporting and partnering with Edmond Public Schools 
  • Enhancing quality of life opportunities 
  • Creating economic growth through partnerships and economic development programs, i.e., Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) and Incentive Policies
  • Incorporating the diversity of our city into decision-making

Nathan Walters

I have 3 top priorities if elected Mayor of Edmond.

  1. I believe in protecting the God given rights of our citizens with the use of the Constitution as the guide. We are a free people, and it is governments role to protect those freedoms.
  2. Continue to keep Edmond safe by being an advocate for our first responders. Police, Firefighters and EMSA. 
  3. Help set up a master plan for East Edmond. Government can’t stop individuals from moving to Edmond, and they are moving here at a rapid pace. If we zone East Edmond properly, then build the infrastructure to match that zoning, it will make for a much better living experience. We will be able to use the lay of the land, which is beautiful, and enhance it with the proper growth plan. The proper growth plan will allow for residential and commercial to work together with the lay of the land and allow more walkability so we can take in more of the beauty of Edmond. I will also work on any infrastructure issues we are seeing in West Edmond to attempt to alleviate any headaches we have seen happen due to rapid growth.

Sheryl Janis

If elected my 1st priority will be to learn as much as I can about what my duties and limits as a city councilperson are as soon as I can. I will find out what the immediate needs and concerns for Edmond are and get as much information as I can as to what options there are to solve the issues. Making sure our businesses and churches can stay open and that our personal liberties are not overstepped on is at the top of my priority list.

I will ask to be brought up to date on how the progress on the Intelligent Traffic System Program is coming along and how the water rate increases are calculated and do research on how to find a way to pause, stop or slow down the increases.

Christin Mugg

In general, my top priorities are as follows:  1. To be a link between Edmond Residents and Edmond government by being accessible and responsive and providing information and connecting residents to government resources; 2. To make well-informed, researched, and unbiased decisions in the best overall interest of the City of Edmond and its residents; 3. To be honest and transparent; and 4. Do all that I can to maintain the sense of community and unity in Edmond as a kind, compassionate, welcoming, and vibrant city.

A few more specific areas of priority are as follows:

  1. Improve and protect our parks and recreational areas;
  2. Continue efforts to improve traffic flow;
  3. Continue development of downtown Edmond and the I-35 corridor.

Stacie Peterson

My top priorities will be to Support small businesses and economic development and support sustainable growth, both of which are not mutually exclusive. Support businesses as they reopen, post COVID shutdowns.

David Miller

Same priorities I have always had. 1st and foremost are what I call livability issues, being; Traffic control through better use of the Intelligent Traffic System, update and do the necessary revisions to our traffic plan and accelerate some of our much needed roads projects. We are already underway with the expansion of the wastewater and water treatment plants. These projects have been in the planning, financing, and processing stage for over a decade.

The water rate increases as of late are the main financing vehicle for these two and their associated infrastructure needs. This is a prime example of Edmond being proactive. We, I say we because I was there, did incremental rate increases to be able to have the cash to start these projects and the revenue stream to be able to do the financing that will be necessary. OKC just announced they will need over 2 Billion to complete the expansions they will need, just imagine what this is going to do to their rates, the sticker shock is going to be hard for the average utility customer. Edmond’s projects, thankfully aren’t that enormous, between $350 – $400M, but the way we approached it, with incremental increases over a long period, was the smart way to accomplish this. Even if it is unpopular, imagine if we had waited to the last minute and sprung it on the average customer.

I am also very hesitant to deviate from “The Edmond Plan”, meaning that zoning or uses that are not in harmony with the plan should not be easy to do, not impossible, there are always exceptions, but not easy. We’re going to have the East Edmond 2050 plan completed soon, hopefully by the end of 2021. We need people that will support it and make sure that plan is followed as well. However, we need to flexible enough to recognize a change that is a more productive, efficient, and needed use than the plan may have, again, there are almost always exceptions.

Watch the full forum

To hear more from each candidate, watch the full forum below.

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About Ashley Neese

Ashley Neese is the Communications and Marketing Manager at the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce where she promotes Chamber events and helps members gain exposure. She also leads the Edmond Young Professionals organization and the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Ashley grew up in Edmond and graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2017 with a degree in Mass Communication. In her free time, she enjoys brewing coffee and finding the best local eats.