By Conrad Dudderar
With the election just a few weeks away, two eastern Canadian County residents are battling it out for the Ward 3 seat on the Oklahoma City Council.
Jessica Martinez-Brooks, of Lysander Place in Oklahoma City; and Barbara Young, of S.W. 18th Street in Yukon; are on the ballot for the Tuesday, April 6 non-partisan general election.
The winner will earn the next four-year term on the nine-member Oklahoma City Council and take office April 13.
Martinez-Brooks and Young advanced after finishing first and second among six candidates in the Feb. 9th Ward 3 primary. Martinez-Brooks tallied 763 votes (29.4%) and Young garnered 599 votes (23.1%) among the 2,596 votes cast.
Since no candidate received at least 50% of all votes, the April 6th general election “runoff” will decide who will represent Ward 3.
Ward 3 incumbent Larry McAtee, the longest serving Oklahoma City Council member, did not run for a new term; McAtee was first elected in April 2001 and has been re-elected four times.
Ward 3 covers the west and southwest part of Oklahoma City – well into Canadian County surrounding Mustang and including areas directly south of Yukon.
Oklahoma City is the largest and fastest-growing municipality in Canadian County. About one-third of Canadian County’s estimated 150,000 population lives in Oklahoma City limits.
All registered Oklahoma City voters in Ward 3 are eligible to cast their ballots April 6 for either Martinez-Brooks or Young in the Ward 3 general election.
Voters can find their polling place through the Oklahoma State Election Board’s online voter tool at ok.gov/elections
ABOUT THE CANDIDATES
Martinez-Brooks is running for Ward 3 because she believes Oklahoma City should have a local government that’s efficient and responsive to the “needs of the various neighborhoods and communities”.
“Throughout my life, I’ve been a problem solver — not a politician,” the OKC Council candidate said. “I want to raise my family in a city that continues to value hard work. I want to live in a city that’s accountable to its citizens.
“A city that keeps looking for innovative solutions to tackle our pressing issues and continues to invest to build a brighter future.
In the end, I care more about people than politics.”
While Oklahoma has made some significant progress, she emphasized there’s more work to do.
Martinez-Brooks’ priorities are: Creating an economy that rewards innovation and local entrepreneurs, fiscal responsibility, making sure tax dollars are spent wisely, prioritizing public safety and transportation, and aggressively addressing infrastructure issues to “fix our crumbling streets.”
A lifelong Oklahoma City resident, Martinez-Brooks has been an educator for more than 20 years. She’s spent much of her career working to ensure students are getting into college or obtaining a GED that helps them obtain higher-paying jobs.
Martinez-Brooks has volunteered with many community organizations and says she’s seen how great Oklahoma City can be “when we work collaboratively to address issues and obstacles.”
Meanwhile, Ward 3 council contender Young is campaigning as Oklahoma City’s “conservative voice of reason.”
Young has “dedicated her life to improving the community and creating better opportunities for all our children and grandchildren,” according to her campaign website.
She says she’s running “to give our kids and grandkids a better OKC.”
The longtime southwest Oklahoma City resident works at Love’s corporate, helping the company expand. Young manages merchandising projects for Love’s 500-plus stores.
Previously, she spent three years as an Oklahoma City Police Department 911 dispatcher and volunteer emergency medical technician.
Young’s priorities are: Growing jobs and strengthening the economy, fully funding public safety, supporting first responders, prioritizing better roads and investment, and safeguarding funding for voter-approved quality of life initiatives.
She opposes new taxes, wasteful spending and “job-crushing” taxes and regulation on small businesses.
Young is a YWCA board member, National Association of Women in Construction board member, Oklahoma Women Run Foundation board member, and United Way of Central Oklahoma community investment volunteer.
She created the organization OK Women Run, which recruits and supports conservative women running for office.
The Oklahoma City Council has nine members: The mayor, who is elected citywide; and one member from each of Oklahoma City’s eight wards.
They serve part-time at the head of the City’s council-manager form of government. The mayor’s annual salary is $24,000, and each council member’s annual salary is $12,000.