By Conrad Dudderar
The campaign is heating up for a Yukon City Council office.
An incumbent is facing two challengers for the at-large seat on the five-member city council.
Jeff Wootton, of Von Elm Avenue, is seeking his second four-year term as Yukon’s at-large council representative.
Looking to unseat Wootton are Rick Cacini, of Landmark Drive; and Tim Peters, of Frisco Ridge Road.
The Yukon City Council at-large election will be Tuesday, Feb. 14. Unlike with ward voting, all registered voters in the City of Yukon are eligible to cast ballots in this race.
If no candidate receives a majority of votes Feb. 14, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff April 4. The winner will take the oath of office at the first city council meeting in May.
The City of Yukon has five council members, each elected to serve four-year terms. Four members are elected to represent wards, with the other at-large.
Polling places will be open across Yukon from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day Feb. 14 for the at-large city council election.
Early voting will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb. 9-10 at the Canadian County Election Board, 200 S Bickford in El Reno.
For more information, contact the Canadian County Election Board at (405) 422-2422 or email@example.com.
Wootton, 41, is a Yukon school teacher. He was first elected in 2019 to a four-year term as the at-large council member.
Now Yukon’s vice mayor, Wootton is telling citizens that he wants to continue serving as their “voice” on the city council.
“I would love the opportunity to help shape the future of our town, while making sure it reflects our values, all while preserving our past,” Wootton said.
“As a teacher in our community and with the last four years on the council, it has allowed me the opportunity to see our needs as a growing town from multiple perspectives.”
A Yukon native, the incumbent council member wants to “help us embrace our past while also planning for our community to continue to grow in the future.”
Wootton pointed out he was born and raised in Yukon – and has lived here the majority of his life.
“I’m married with three great kids, and I am very involved with my church here in Yukon,” he added. “I am a geography teacher for Yukon Public Schools and come from a family of teachers and school support staff.”
Both of Wootton’s parents were teachers and his grandmother was a cook at Central Elementary School for “many, many” years.
Peters, 55, is a Canadian County sheriff’s investigator and former Yukon Police school resource officer. He is member of the Yukon Traffic Commission.
In his first campaign for elected office, Peters said he’s “focused on our future.”
“As a 25-year Yukon resident, I believe Yukon is the best community in the state, and I would like to be an integral part of the city’s continued development,” Peters said.
A military veteran, Peters has served as Fraternal Order of Police president during a 34-year law enforcement career. The at-large city council contender has pledged to be accessible to citizens while “keeping excellence” in Yukon.
“I’ve been a public servant for many years,” Peters added. “My public relations skills are very strong and I’m an independent thinker before I make decisions.
“I’m also a team player that the Yukon City Council can benefit from as we work together for continued development. I’m always ‘citizens first’ instead of having a personal agenda.”
Peters is a private Christian school board member, and a high school and youth football coach. He’s also a board member of the Central Oklahoma Football League.
Cacini, 75, is a retired lieutenant colonel with 40 years in the U.S. Army and 24 years in the U.S. Air Force. He is the founder and curator of the Yukon Veterans Museum.
“I understand big-picture decision making,” said Cacini, who was Yukon’s Ward 1 council member from 2018-22. “I am a leader with experience.
“I have led teams and troops into combat areas all over the world – from Central and South America to Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. I’ve also managed federal budgets and activities similar to those of the City of Yukon.”
As a member of many civic groups and military service organizations, Cacini likes helps others.
“I utilize my time better than most, and that’s how the military trained me,” he said. “I get the job done.
“I bring an experienced and diverse viewpoint to our council, which helps to make better decisions.”
Cacini is vice chairman of the Oklahoma Environmental Association (OEMA) and serves on Redlands Community College’s Board of Regents.
His other volunteer positions include Yukon Main Street board member, Yukon American Legion veteran service officer, Oklahoma Veterans Hall of Fame ambassador, Oklahoma Pilots Association board member, Special Forces Association member, Court Appointed Special Advocates board member, among others.
Cacini has four degrees, the highest being a Master of Business Administration. He’s a Knights of Columbus trustee at St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church.
CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS
All three candidates were asked to respond to a series of questions. Here are their responses:
- What led you to decide to run for the Yukon City Council at-large seat up for election Feb. 14?
CACINI: My desire is to serve our community as I have in the past and present. I currently serve in numerous community organizations, and I am a board member on 10 of those organizations.
There were folks asking me to run for diversity’s sake on the council. Even though there are three teachers who are very community driven, many feel the community needs another viewpoint.
PETERS: Being a long-term resident of Yukon, I care about the present and future of the city. Spending over 21 years working for the City of Yukon and being involved in the community in several aspects, I would like to focus on the future, and I would like to be an integral part of the city’s continued improvement.
WOOTTON: Four years ago, the people of Yukon elected me to be their voice on the council. Being a family who has called this city “home” for four generations, I want to continue serving you.
The people of Yukon deserve someone that loves their city and wants nothing but the best for it.
- What qualifications/experiences do you possess that uniquely qualify you for this position?
CACINI: Having been a council member for Ward 1, I know what’s expected of me – City Council meetings, serving at the mayor’s request on the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) and Oklahoma Environmental Management Agency (OEMA) boards, and city functions and voting on various city issues. I have experience with multimillion-dollar budget expenditures of various organizations I’ve led over my career.
Being retired, I have time to serve on these boards and committees, where some of the current council members may not have that ability. I can make sure Yukon has a voice at the table, especially when state and federal funds are available.
PETERS: I have been an active member of the community in various capacities, including: 21 years with the City of Yukon Police Department as a school resource officer, president of the Fraternal Order of Police and member of the City of Yukon Traffic Commission.
My public relations experience will benefit me by listening to the residents’ concerns or positive feedback within the city.
WOOTTON: Currently, I am the vice mayor and the city council member at large for the citizens of Yukon.
- Briefly share any concerns you and/or your constituents have about how the City of Yukon is operating, and what steps you’d take to make improvements.
CACINI: Residents have repeatedly complained about street conditions. An election is coming up (Feb. 14 bond issue) for people to cast their vote regarding this. I would also like to explore water sources for the City of Yukon, considering the costs both present and future.
PETERS: With Yukon’s continuous population growth, the infrastructure has not been able to keep up with the pace. I would like to improve upon the situations and work toward viable solutions within road improvements, sidewalks, eating establishments, family entertainment so our residents can enjoy an evening out and keep the tax dollars within Yukon.
WOOTTON: After listening to the people of Yukon, we still have a lot to do. We need to have a comprehensive plan for the Frisco Road Business area that creates a vibrant community with jobs and opportunity.
We also need to continue to improve our ever-growing traffic issues while also continuing to fix both the primary and secondary roads. Most importantly, we need to make sure we are being good stewards of the people’s money and spending every dollar wisely.
- Please describe your leadership style.
CACINI: I have been an officer in the U.S. Army for 40 years, in the U.S. Air Force for 24 years, and am now a retired lieutenant colonel. I have commanded platoons, companies, an Army battalion, and an Air Force squadron, as well as serving as the Homeland Security director at Tinker Air Force Base. I’ve been recalled to service twice to serve in Afghanistan.
I know how to lead, or my superiors would never have called me to serve in those capacities. I am a team player. The City Council I served on had no issues with me regarding my viewpoints or decisions. We talked out our disagreeing viewpoints and moved on with a consensus.
PETERS: Being in the military/police department for many years, I have developed a leadership skill that has taught me that “people always come first”. I listen to the people’s concerns and always try to reach a positive outcome.
WOOTTON: I am the type of leader that likes to ask questions. Even though some may not appreciate it, I want clarity on what the city government is trying to do with the citizens’ money. When it comes to your city government, I want transparency and accountability.
- List City of Yukon and other civic accomplishments you have helped achieve while serving in public office.
CACINI: While a councilman, I support our city in the votes to keep us afloat financially. The City received many awards in the decision we, the City Council, voted on together.
Nine years ago, along with the City, I led the opening of the Yukon Veterans Museum to which veterans from all over Oklahoma and outside have donated. I serve as the curator, founder and president of the board of directors.
PETERS: I’m very blessed that I was asked to serve as a member of the City of Yukon Traffic Commission. We receive reports from citizens or businesses about traffic concerns within the city limits. I have always played a vital role to solutions that meets the needs of the citizens as well as the city.
WOOTTON: In my first four years, we constructed turn lanes on Garth Brooks Boulevard and Health Center Parkway, right turn lanes onto I-40 on Garth Brooks, completed Highway 4 phase one, and opened the Frisco Road interchange. We’ve brought new businesses in such as Atwoods, Dutch Bros. and Hawaiian Bros. to name a few.
The last four years, we’ve ran a budget with a surplus and invested in our “rainy day” fund.
- What are some future projects that you believe are most important for the city’s future?
CACINI: I am hoping to find a solution for enough affordable water for our city, to include all the new housing and businesses we are developing.
We need to find solutions for tax dollars to stay in Yukon, especially with the south side of 10th Street being OKC revenue. We need to work with OKC for recognition of our costs that support these south-of-10th businesses.
PETERS: I feel the bond issue for the street improvements (Feb. 14th election) for incoming businesses and new residents is very important. We also need to ensure our public safety offices are funded, staffed and ready to serve our community to its full potential with all the continues growth in Yukon.
WOOTTON: The Frisco Road business area is Yukon’s last major retail/business expansion area – we need to recruit the best businesses possible. If we can do this correctly, this will be cause new businesses to come to Yukon and create a vibrant community for our kids and grandkids.
We need to complete Highway 4 construction.
We need to expand sidewalk and the walkability of our town, both on major streets as well as residential.
We must fully support our first responders both in tools that they need for the job and compensation. Our first responders deserve only the very best!
- Detail any changes you’d like to see – if any – in how the City of Yukon is currently managed and led.
CACINI: The City Council just extended our city manager’s contract, and the job is getting done. City employees have supported the city in many ways that we never see, i.e., Christmas in the Park, and snow and ice removal. They do an outstanding job.
I believe the management team is highly competent, professional, experienced, and has Yukon headed in the right direction.
PETERS: I would like to see more communication and transparency within the City government.
WOOTTON: We always need to look at how our city government is running and ask if we can do it better. The people of Yukon deserve only the very best and that includes transparency and accountability.
- Why is Yukon such a great place to live and work, and how can you make it even better?
CACINI: The residents make this happen. I’ve been here over 30 years but have had numerous trips overseas for the military. This city took care of my family and that’s what counts in my book. I’ll serve my city any time of the day.
We need more people to become volunteers to help the various community organizations, i.e., Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Yukon Main Street, Yukon Chamber, and Veterans Museum. I am a board member of CASA and Yukon Main Street, and a Yukon Chamber member.
We are currently one of the fastest-growing communities, which presents some growth concerns. Working together we can solve those issues.
PETERS: Yukon has a low crime rate, great city parks that offer a variety of activities, continuous growth, and is a very family-oriented community.
WOOTTON: Yukon offers some amazing things. With our low crime rates, high-quality public health care and education systems, good housing, and our amazing parks, it is no surprise why people want to live here!
- Where do you see your strongest support coming from in the Feb. 14th election?
CACINI: City employees have a great connection with me due to my earlier years having been a Council member. Teachers support me because I have been a substitute teacher in Yukon.
Law enforcement supports me since I was an officer of the law, to include the federal level. Local unions that represent fire and police see that I have supported them in various issues, and have experience being in a union.
The business community supports me because I work hard to keep local spending in the City of Yukon – to increase our tax revenue. And because of my volunteering on various committees. They know I can’t say no to helping anyone.
The general public calls on me even when I was not a councilman, for help on issues like street signs, speeding areas, school playgrounds, and veterans’ benefits. I continue to help those in need.
PETERS: Serving with the Yukon Police Department for 21 years, I have been blessed to work around many great city employees, served with teachers in the school district for 17 years as a school resource officer, and stood as president of the Fraternal Order of Police union.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with numerous businesses and the general public in our community. In conclusion, I feel that I have support in many areas.
WOOTTON: I see my greatest support coming from all different areas of Yukon. My hope is that all the citizens will see that the last four years I have been a voice for them on the city council.
My hope is that I have represented the police, fire, city employees, teachers, businesses and especially the citizens of Yukon in a way that they are proud to call me their council member.