Tulsa city councilors on Wednesday night approved outgoing Tulsa County GOP Chair Bob Jack’s nomination to an infrastructure board on a 5–4 vote.
Mayor G.T. Bynum’s nomination of the construction executive for the Infrastructure Development Advisory Board had been criticized by some councilors and citizens, in part because of disparaging comments about Black Lives Matter and north Tulsa he made last year. Councilor Kara Joy McKee said political parties aside, that’s why she couldn’t vote for Jack.
"I am very concerned about what it says to our constituents when we uplift someone who has repeatedly, unabashedly insulted numerous groups and individuals, and … seemed to not recall doing so," McKee said.
Last summer, Jack led calls for removal of the Black Lives Matter mural on Greenwood Avenue, dismissed BLM as a "radical, left-wing, Marxist organization," and said there needs to be solutions to "what goes on in north Tulsa."
As coronavirus transmission surged, the county GOP in November held an indoor election watch party against Tulsa Health Department recommendations where masks were a "personal choice." The party organized a "stop the steal" rally after it became clear then-President Donald Trump had lost the election. That was quickly renamed a “protect the vote” event.
Councilor Crista Patrick said she finds some of what Jack’s said repugnant, but she voted for his nomination.
"I think that it’s a slippery slope that we go down if we start not allowing someone to volunteer their time on a technical board on which they are qualified because their politics or their opinions don’t align with ours," Patrick said.
Councilors Vanessa Hall-Harper, Lori Decter Wright and Mykey Arthrell-Knezek also voted against Jack’s nomination. The board he’ll serve on advises the city on commercial development standards, codes and regulations.
After Wednesday night’s vote, Bynum told the Tulsa World he was thankful the council approved a highly qualified nominee.