The Norman Transcript

March 27, 2013

2 vying for Ward 1 position

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Ward 1 includes the area east of 12th Avenue Northeast between Alameda and Lindsey streets extending to 48th Avenue Southeast and between 12th Avenue Southeast and 24th Avenue Southeast. Classen Boulevard is the west boundary and State Highway 9 is the south boundary.

Greg Heiple is challenging incumbent Roger Gallagher in the Ward 1 race.

Council member Gallagher is a Vietnam veteran and has been a resident of Norman’s Ward 1 since 1976. He moved here to work on an advanced degree at the University of Oklahoma and to teach English. In 1980, he returned to flying and retired after 32 years as a commercial helicopter pilot. He began his official service as council member in July 2011.

Gallagher has two master’s degrees in English and school administration from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and has served as the university’s ombudsman. His principal concerns are a strong public safety philosophy and a cautious approach to Norman’s financial condition.

He believes that the city cannot function properly without a wide array of concerned citizens volunteering, attending council meetings and voicing their ideas.

“I have a strong sense of accomplishment about several issues and/or programs, and I plan to continue working for the betterment of the entire city,” Gallagher said.

He serves on the Council Finance Committee and the Community Planning and Transportation Committee. He also serves as the council’s representative to the Animal Welfare Oversight Committee and the Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Committee.

“My goals are to make Norman an economically vibrant city and to work on projects that will benefit everyone in the city,” he said.

Gallagher fought for a stronger code of ethics for city leaders and eliminated the city lobbyist, saving the city $75,000 with the money moved to increased street sweeping. He also fought for a new animal shelter and an east branch library.

Heiple is a life-long Norman resident, small business owner and father of two sons. He said he is passionate about his hometown and understands the importance of Norman’s authentic mix of culture, diversity and history while maintaining a vibrant business community.

“It’s time to put the front porch back on our city government and our community,” he said. “I want to bring fresh ideas and positive solutions to the Norman City Council.”

Heiple said he wants to use his financial background to help residents understand how tax dollars are spent.

“I will not be afraid to think outside the box to resolve issues, reach out to other council members to get things done and not to grandstand just to hear my own voice,” he said.

“Municipal budgets and financial statements are written in Greek for a world that understands English. They are financially legal but educationally bankrupt. They are ineffective at communicating how our tax dollars are being spent. Let’s put an end to this. It’s time,” Heiple said.

“In order to serve the Citizens of Ward 1,” Heiple said. “I will ensure that the Public Safety Sales Tax is being spent correctly, make sure our local parks are safe and build an eastside library that will also be safe for our children.”

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