Tulsa Mayoral Candidates Court Youth Vote In High School Forum

Friday, September 13th 2013, 6:51 pm

The candidates for Tulsa mayor met some potential voters Friday: high school students, who threw questions at them for an hour.

It was the first joint appearance in the race since it was narrowed down to two candidates.

Political campaigns often try to reach out to young people, but in this case it's young people reaching out to them. Students almost filled the auditorium at Booker T. Washington High School, where the candidates took questions.

"So, my goal is to make sure this is a safe city and make sure kids and adults have parks to play in, be healthy, and reduce crime," said former Mayor Kathy Taylor.

The topics included crime and re-developing the north side, and how to make Tulsa more appealing for young people.

"I want to be a mayor who provides opportunity--real, true hope," said Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

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The forum was put together by students, who had researched the candidates, but had more questions.

Senior McKenzie Wilson said, "I agree and disagree with different things, and I was glad to hear what's going on, because sometimes, even if you read the website, it's not very clear."

"'I'm glad we got to talk about the issues," said senior Chelsea House. "One thing that's hard about being a teenager is learning about your government and then getting other people excited about it. I think this was a great opportunity to do that."

"I just thought it was interesting the way they said they would respond to the problems we have - crime, parks, public transportation - and make the city better for all of us," said senior Michael Balangue.

Taylor said, if she's elected, she would work harder to engage young people in improving Tulsa. Mayor Bartlett said, in a second term, he would try to make better appointments and threatened to pull out his harmonica more often.

"I think I'd start learning to play the harmonica quicker," Bartlett said.