By Mindy Ragan Wood, Staff Writer – Residents in Ward 2 will have a trio of candidates to choose from in the Feb. 13 city council election.
Shelli Selby, Ward M. Larson, and Erick Westfahl filed for the seat earlier this week at the Canadian County Election Board.
Selby is a retired educator, and recently retired a second time from Spanish Cove where she was an events coordinator. She said she hopes to see better communication between the city council and its constituents.
Selby said she entered the race to be part of a team that solves issues.
“I’ve lived in this city for 30 years and I want it to continue to be a place where people can raise their families. Instead of complaining, I decided to be part of the solution,” she said.
Selby hinted at some specific problems she wants to tackle.
“I want to see some more transparency in government,” she said. “There are so many things we have now like the ambulance service and we (residents) didn’t know anything about it. The water bills are always an issue, but the main thing is to help the city grow and be a safe community.”
Selby has served on the Post Adjudication Review Board (PARB) which provides an overview of a child’s Department of Human Services case to a judge. She created Jacob’s Cupboard, a food pantry in memory of her late son, Jacob. She is a member of the Optimist Club and presides as the women’s pastor at West Metro Church in Yukon.
Meanwhile, Larson is a former city council member who served two terms, a three-year term beginning in 2003 and a second four-year term that concluded in 2010. He lost a reelection bid to John Alberts, who is not seeking re-election due to term limits.
Larson said he’d like to finish the Highway 4 project that has been in the works for several years. Yukon, Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation are partners with that project.
“We voted that in during my second term in 2009. It was set to proceed in 2013. There was a death or two along the road in the meantime and who knows if those deaths wouldn’t have occurred if we’d had that completed? I have to believe history might have changed. Every time I drive that road and I see the school buses going back and forth from Surrey Hills to Yukon, it just shivers to make me think what might happen,” he said. “I understand (City Manager) Mr. Crosby and the current council is back on top of that and trying to shepherd that. That would be on my front burner for sure.”
Efficiency in government and small business growth are two issues Larsen has as priorities.
“Mr. Crosby has already taken a number of steps to decrease the redundancy that cropped up during (Grayson) Bottom’s tenure as city manager. I think we’re operating efficiently now but want to be sure we continue to do that. With non-brick and mortar business like Amazon and Alibaba, Alibaba isn’t coming here but they soon will, and Sam’s entry into the market…they’re affecting businesses everywhere, especially in Oklahoma City where I see so many empty businesses. I don’t see that so much in Yukon, but I know a lot of these firms in Oklahoma City have been hit hard by that and I want to make sure if they are buying over the internet that they’re paying fair share. I know Amazon has started paying sales tax and we want to make sure they all are,” he said of other online retailers.
“I’m very pro mom and pop businesses,” he said.
Larson is retired from a long career in the insurance business where he developed litigation strategies and analyzed fraud. He retired from Infinity Insurance in 2007. He and his wife Carolyn have lived in Yukon for 40 years.
Erick Westfahl entered the race to lend the council his expertise in construction and serve the public. He works for his family’s construction firm, Westfahl Construction, Inc.
“I do not have any particular issues that motivated me to run, but I am in construction as a general contractor. I wouldn’t be able to do any (construction) work for the city, but if I do believe I can serve the city based on my experience in construction,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of construction issues coming up and I think someone with construction experience would be beneficial.”
Westfahl said he would dedicate himself to Ward 2 constituents just like he commits himself to his construction customers.
“My job requires me to serve the owner (client) whether we’re contracted with a city, state, federal entity. We provide attention to their needs. So, in this case it would be for the citizens of Yukon,” Westfahl said.
He and his family have lived in Yukon for 13 years. Westfahl has served on the Oklahoma State University alumni board for Oklahoma City and has an associate’s degree in construction management. He is on the Board of Trustees at First United Methodist Church and the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministries for OSU. He has two children who attend Southwest Covenant Schools.