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Tulsa Mayoral Candidates Present Varying Ideas to Improve Economic Opportunity

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Tulsa’s mayoral candidates have different views on how to boost economic opportunity for residents.

In a virtual forum, restaurant owner Ty Walker called for bolstering vocational opportunities in trade schools and high schools.

"We’ve taken and mortgaged Tulsa’s future off to outside companies by giving them large tax credits. How can we not take the same amount of money and invest it in our people here?" Walker said.

Land-use expert Craig Immel called for removing barriers to Tulsans earning certifications to advance their careers, and not just financial ones.

"So, I would like to see us actually focus on making sure that our development patterns and our transportation lead to new schools and new opportunities for learning," Immel said.

Community organizer Greg Robinson said economic opportunity starts in classrooms.

"This generation of young people need to have access to jobs and job training very quickly," Robinson said, adding he would like to see the city invest more in clean energy jobs.

Mayor G.T. Bynum is looking for the city to continue its recent success in pursuing big companies.

"And that has a ripple effect, when you bring a company like Amazon or Greenheck Group to town that benefits small businesses and suppliers from throughout  our community too is growing the businesses that are here," Bynum said.

And project manager Ken Reddick wants a return to the age of tycoons.

"We need to rediscover that entrepreneurial spirit that Tulsa used to instill in everyone, and I think the way back to that is just through local investment," Reddick said.

Candidates answers are presented in the order they were given. Paul Tay did not participate in the Thursday evening forum.

Election day is Tuesday.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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