By Conrad Dudderar
The reason Aric Gilliland is running for a seat on the Yukon City Council can be summed up in three words.
“I love Yukon!”, said Gilliland, who will face Ken Wilkins in the Feb. 11th Ward 4 Yukon City Council election. The winner will earn the next four-year term starting in May.
Gilliland, 40, teaches at Epic Charter School, is a coach and small business owner.
“I want Yukon to be the best we can be through good stewardship of tax dollars, making sure members of our emergency service community have the resources and tools they need to do the job we ask of them, and attracting and retaining business within our city limits,” he said. “I also believe improving and developing recreation facilities will have a major and positive impact on our families and growing community.”
Aric Gilliland and his brother were raised by their paternal grandparents. They moved to Yukon in 1981 when Aric was 2 years old after his grandfather accepted a job at the City of Yukon Water Department (a position he would retire from) and his grandmother became a Yukon police dispatcher.
The Gilliland boys grew up playing at Ranchwood Park and Brad Buck Field and watching the Czech Day parade come down Main Street. They developed a strong work ethic in the lawn business.
“I’ve seen Yukon grow and change tremendously over my lifetime,” the Ward 4 candidate said. “I am so proud of our town and want to do what I can to help us be our very best. It is my hope that we will continue to thrive as a community even as we continue to experience change and growth. We must do the best we can to meet the needs of our community.
As a small business owner in Yukon and as a teacher and coach in this community, Gilliland realizes that spending citizens’ tax dollars is not a light responsibility.
“We must be transparent, and we must be wise and frugal with the money for which these good people have worked so hard,” Gilliland said. “As we continue to grow and change it is very important to consider the long-lasting effects of every expenditure our City Council approves.”
After speaking with Ward 4 constituents, Gilliland said there are some concerns and issues he’d like to bring to the council.
Specifically, the need to improve streets in Ranchwood North, north of downtown and others – some have needed repair for “some time,” he noted.
The Ward 4 council contender believes strongly that Yukon’s police and fire personnel must be well compensated and have quality equipment.
“I’d like us to ensure that Yukon’s emergency departments are, at a minimum, matching the regional average in salary and number of officers per capita,” he said. “It would be even better if we can set the highest bar in these areas. We want to attract and retain the best in the business. The lives and well-being of Yukon families are worth it.”
Meanwhile, Gilliland want to see the city’s recreation facilities improve since young families leave Yukon every weekend for other cities because Yukon’s facilities are inadequate.
These families spend the weekends in towns like Mustang, Midwest City, Norman, and Edmond so their children have an attractive and safe place to play sports.
“While they, are there they buy lunch, they go to movies, they fill their cars up with gas, etc.” he said. “This is all revenue we are missing out on. I believe Yukon can and should set the standard for what state-of-the-art recreation facilities should look like and how a community can be served in this respect.”
Thankful that the City of Yukon’s financial conditions has improved in recent years, Gilliland wants to help ensure the people’s trust and respect in the City government continues to grow. He is an advocate for transparency and openness in government.
In coming weeks, Gilliland will reach out to as many people as he can to share his vision for Yukon and hear their concerns and ideas.
He looks forward to “hitting the neighborhoods” and meeting as many people as possible. The Ward 4 hopeful welcomes people to contact him via Facebook, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (494-0227).
Gilliland believes he’s the best choice for Ward 4 voters because he has the greater good of Ward 4 neighborhoods and Yukon at heart and in mind.
The council candidate said he’ll take the work ethic he’s learned and practiced over the years to the city council.
“I believe in vision and moving forward while also honoring the needs of those folks in our neighborhoods who are the backbone of our community,” Gilliland said. “A vote for me is a vote for someone who believes in the good people of Yukon and our ability to be the very best!”