Questions and Answers with the Candidates
There are three candidates for the at-large seat for Jenks City Council. But how are we different?
Unfortunately, because of COVID, there is no regular meet and greet, or any debate. However, you need to be informed to make the best choice and move Jenks forward. You need to hear from all the candidates about the issues.
The almost 900-member Facebook group Jenks Parents and Alumni Seeking Answers asked all three at-large candidates five questions. Rather than just share my answers, I'm sharing the answers from all three candidates. I'll add one question a day.
Question 1. Jenks city council members are non-partisan elected officials. Will you commit to not engaging in partisan political speech that has no municipal impact or relevance to the city of Jenks or its citizens in your role as candidate or council member? How will you lead in a non-partisan way?
David Randolph- Yes, I absolutely commit to a non-partisan approach. Partisan politics prevent Jenks from moving forward. We need the right solution for each problem, not just whatever a particular party would prefer. I’m here to represent Jenks and its citizens, not any party or platform. We also need to be respectful of others, even if we disagree. I have successfully worked with many across the political spectrum on the Jenks Planning Commission, the group Keep Jenks Safe, and on the senior management team at work.
Krista Monk- I am committed to only, fully engage, in activity that will positively impact the City of Jenks residents. I will lead in a non-partisan way, by only thinking about the needs of citizens without considering political party affiliation.
Kevin Short- You are correct. This is a non-partisan position. In my personal and professional life, I remain interested in both sides of any discussion. I think that looking through multiple lenses is the proper way to manage the decision-making process. Having said that, any statement or position can be deemed partisan. Therefore, I would suggest that I would remain neutral on any position until the proper analysis and vetting has been achieved by the various parties involved in our City management process, including the City Chamber, City Managers, and ultimately, City Council.
Comments from David: Read Kevin's response carefully—he never commits to a non-partisan approach. For his two in-person events on the campaign trail (fundraisers), they have been hosted by some far-right Republicans who rudely mock others on social media, adding to the level of vitriol. This partisan approach is not healthy for Jenks.
Question 2. Would you support an extension or reimplementation of the City of Jenks mask mandate?
David Randolph- Absolutely, until COVID is greatly reduced and/or vaccines have been widely rolled out. In fact, I wrote the petition available at KeepJenksSafe.org where more than 500 people have signed, and I presented it to the City Council twice, once for the original ordinance and again for the renewal. This let the City Council know that many citizens are supportive of a mask ordinance, despite a loud and sometimes angry crowd against it. This is a dangerous virus that can be effectively reduced with just a mask. We need to make decisions based on science, not what’s convenient politically.
Krista Monk- The City of Jenks will not only need a mask mandate but:
· Factual-accredited educational information for all citizens.
· Sanitizing stations for parks and sidewalks.
· Improve access to appropriate protective equipment.
Kevin Short- I respect the City Council's extension of the Mask Mandate. Given the miraculous success of Operation Warp Speed, we are providing our most vulnerable population, including our elderly and educator constituents, access to vaccines. The Market continues to produce more vaccine supply on a daily and weekly basis. We are less than one-year into this Pandemic and have created a solution. Our weekly trends in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are on a declining slope trajectory coupled with an upward sloping vaccine rollout. IF all of these trends continue through to the end of the Mask Mandate on May 31st, I will not be inclined to support an extension. Interestingly, this question represents a short-term in nature challenge versus a four-year term election.
Comments from David: Glad to see everyone supports the mask ordinance. However, I'm the only candidate who worked on a petition and reached out to the Mayor and other City Councilors to support it.
Question 3. Jenks has a diverse population; how will you engage underrepresented populations and represent their interests?
David Randolph- What is a city but the people? We need to represent everyone, not just a certain area or certain demographic. There are underrepresented groups and populations right here in Jenks, including women, Native Americans, Burmese/Zomi, Hispanics, and more.
I have successfully worked with a diverse set of people in many spheres of life.
For example, at work, I’m known for my ability to work well with professional women. I’m also on our law firm’s diversity committee and have hired minority candidates. Also, I have traveled extensively internationally and learned to engage well with a variety of people and cultures, learning Russian and Spanish in the process. Also, I have been learning Burmese and Zomi via YouTube in evenings, and I’m ready to put it to use right here in Jenks. For those that have met me, you will understand that I’m ready to engage and listen.
Krista Monk- As a Native American and African American woman I want to ensure all who are underrepresented that they will have the opportunity to discuss priorities that potentially could impact their area.
· Increasing participation and attendance option of underrepresented minorities at council meetings.
· Increase understanding, knowledge and access to city policy and budget priorities.
Kevin Short- The City of Jenks has evolved in my lifetime as a student and resident. Multiple constituencies expect and deserve equal consideration on decisions involved in City Council decisions. Again, growing our economic base is paramount in consideration of the constituencies. We have limited resources in terms of land and revenue. We must be diligent in our planning and execution under the master plan with the help and resources of our City Chamber and City Management. I support infrastructure development to support these constituencies in a Public-Private Partnership model. My business relationships throughout my career will provide opportunities to develop these projects with defined exposure to our limited resources.
Comments from David: Read Kevin's comment carefully. I don’t see a commitment to engage underrepresented populations and represent their interests. Instead, there seems to be only a focus on economic value. As a city, we need to work with everyone, whether they are diverse by gender, ethnically, geographically, or otherwise, not just what value they bring for economic development projects.
Question 4. What is your opinion of conspiracy theories and how they affect governance at the municipal level?
David Randolph- Misinformation and disinformation is corrosive to a democracy, including local government right here in Jenks, America. There is a truth, and we need to hear it. Without an objective reality, we can’t discuss, persuade, negotiate, compromise, or even agree on a reality.
For those closely watching the City Council recently, the COVID discussions have sometimes been flat wrong factually. This ties back into my strong belief that the City Council should be non-partisan, not driven by state or national politics with preconceived ideas.
Krista Monk- There will be conspiracy theories that come up at any point, but it is important that our leadership understands what is factual and what is not.
Kevin Short- I do not subscribe to conspiracy theories.
Comments from David: I respect the experts and trust the science.
Question 5. What do you believe are the three most important challenges facing the city of Jenks and how can you help address them?
David Randolph- I view the challenges for Jenks in three categories. First, there are emergencies, such as flooding, the pandemic, tornadoes, and crime. Then there are semi-urgent problems, such as year-to-year budgets, fixing roads, and specific projects such as the outlet mall. And there are long-term challenges, such as strategic growth, good zoning, quality schools, solid infrastructure, business development, and general quality of life.
If the City of Jenks can provide good government, it can handle all of these challenges. By good government, I want the city (1) to support public health and safety, including safe schools and neighborhoods, (2) have transparency and ethics, with citizen input, and (3) to operate with a view towards what’s best for the families and citizens in Jenks. This will allow the city to be nimble for emergencies, able to execute on projects, and strategic for the future.
Essentially, I want to further professionalize the city and eliminate the “good ol’ boy” system that has existed and not always served Jenks well.
Krista Monk- Public health and Safety, Smart Communities and Educational Equity:
Public health and safety:
Jenks current leadership had the opportunity to secure the safety of the citizens during the on-going pandemic and somehow we ended up in one of the worst zones in Oklahoma. I am not pointing fingers but with my background in public health epidemiology adequate safety plans will be enforced early along with educational measures… We ended up waiting too late to enforce a basic option that has shown success.
Smart communities are areas we need to focus on:
Currently There are two active city bonds reaching maturation in the next 5 years. We need to better re-evaluate funding plans for the community in a proactive manner. Including Technological advancements I have in mind for Jenks will be low cost concurrently with improved efficiency.
Providing Safeway lanes for different modes of travel: running pedestrians, bikers, and all two wheel users. We also need more sidewalks.
I want to focus on all underrepresented individuals in our area to ensure that Jenks overall economic value increases, the smarter we are whether through science centers or museums .
Kevin Short- Economic Development is the primary role of the City Council. Every decision regarding will have potential impacts to the City's residents and School systems.
We must move the City forward in economically-productive decisions relating to infrastructure buildout. Several key infrastructure items, including the south connecting bridge and low-water dam are hyper-critical, time-sensitive pieces of economic-improving components to our City.
Successfully leading the various constituents, including the municipalities of Tulsa, Bixby, and Glenpool in addition to Tulsa County, are critical in the finalization of these projects. I believe my leadership developed over 25+ years of community involvement and professional development will help build those relationships. All, emphasis on ALL, Jenks residents expect and deserve and an economy that grows our revenue base without additional burden on them through additional incremental tax and/or utility rate increases.
I have spent my career in consumer, commercial and municipal finance. I understand the finite details involved in growing this economy and how it impacts small and medium-sized businesses and the residents of Jenks.
Comments from David: I agree infrastructure and economic development are very important. But you should know a few things.
First, despite all the talk of economic development, neither Kevin nor the bank where he works are members of the Jenks Chamber of Commerce. I'm a member and have been engaged in the local business community.
Second, infrastructure is important, but neither Kevin or Krista supported (or even voted on) the 2020 Go Bond, which funded road improvements on Elm between 111th and 131st and other important projects. Do they support these projects? Even more, the infrastructure should serve businesses and residents—not only businesses. If you don't want your neighborhood streets fixed because they don’t serve a business, you found your candidate.
Beyond economic development and infrastructure—how exactly does Kevin feel about and balance other important city functions, such as ethics, transparency, and public health and safety? We have not heard.
I've also gotten questions about the good ol' boy system. There's a lot of things wrong with it, including:
Picking friends over better-qualified individuals for city positions
Undisclosed conflicts of interest
Using the city as a cash register, with improper reimbursements
Racism and harassment
Not seeking or taking seriously citizen input
Not recognizing that we have a diverse city
This is why we need to professionalize our city and move away from all of this. Instead of a legal challenge, the best way would be to further improve our City Council.