NORMAN — Norman mayoral candidates Tom Sherman and David Kempf are challenging incumbent Cindy Rosenthal for the city’s leadership over the next three years.
Re-election would mark Rosenthal’s third term as mayor.
“We have experienced tremendous turnover on the council in recent years as veteran members have retired,” she said. “I hope to marshal my experience, knowledge and intergovernmental relationships to guide the city as we make tough decisions such as the challenges of water supply and water quality.
Her work as mayor has earned her numerous recognitions, including the 2009 Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Society of Public Administrators, 2010 Journal Record Woman of the Year, the 2010 Art Star honored by the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education and one of Oklahoma Magazine’s 2012 Oklahomans of the Year.
Since being elected mayor in 2007, Rosenthal has witnessed Norman’s steady growth.
“We managed this growth with common-sense solutions and fiscal accountability,” she said.
Rosenthal has tackled initiatives with public support for projects to improve public safety, invest in streets, bridges and critical infrastructure and maintain quality of life. She is proud of Norman’s leadership for its utilization of compressed natural gas vehicles, development of CNG infrastructure and its commitment to community-oriented policing with passage of the public safety sales tax.
Rosenthal is the director of the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma. She and husband, Jim, have two adult children and two dogs.
She outlined three priorities for the coming term.
“First, we must address our water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure needs in the face of continuing drought conditions and water quality challenges,” she said. “Second, we need to pursue smart growth that respects existing neighborhoods while ensuring that new development is well-planned and fiscally sustainable.
“And third, many citizens would like to reinvest in our parks, recreational facilities and library services.”
Sherman is a Norman businessman. He retired from McClain Bank, a family owned business, in 2010. Sherman completed his year as chair of the Norman Chamber then decided to go back to work and is currently the controller for Fowler Holding Company.
“I believe the leadership and vision I can offer will spur the creation of the community we all want for the city we love,” he said in a letter to friends and supporters. “I would work diligently as the next mayor to bring an agenda of growth and prosperity to our community. I am not running against anyone. I am running for the opportunity to help our Norman.”
Sherman was born and raised in Purcell and attended the University of Oklahoma from 1964 to 1965. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1966 and was honorably discharged in 1970, then went back to OU and graduated in 1973 with a BA in finance.
“I was a banker for 37 years, getting my start at Security National Bank and spending the last 18 years with our family business, McClain Bank,” he said.
Sherman lived in Norman from 1970 to 1977 and came back to Norman in 1992.
He is the past president of the Purcell Economic Development Foundation, past president and current member of the Norman Business Association, past chair and member of the Norman Chamber of Commerce, current board member of Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity and current member of the Norman Board of Adjustment, having been on that board for six years and serving the last three years as chair.
Sherman is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, a former member of the church vestry and current chair of the finance committee. He serves on the board of the St. John’s Foundation. He is married to the former Donna Dianne “Dee Dee” LeGate. The couple will celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary in December.
David Kempf, 51, is a long time resident of Norman, and has spent most of his life in Oklahoma. He grew up on the plains of central Kansas, west of Wichita. He is married to a beautiful woman, Starr, who was born and raised in Norman. Together, they have two adorable young children.
Among Kempf’s qualifications is 25 years as an independent business owner and entrepreneur. He has extensive experience in the construction industry, the real estate industry, and most recently, the computer software industry. He was the chief software architect and engineer at a highly successful venture in Edmond. He is currently the president and CEO of Port 40, an Oklahoma corporation producing cutting edge computer software.
Although Kempf has not needed to serve in the military, he comes from a family that has a rich tradition of serving in the Armed Forces. His love and respect for the military has been deeply nurtured thereby. Both he and his wife have been active supporters of and contributors to the Arts in and about Norman.
Kempf has a BA in Mathematics and an MS in Computer Science, both from the University of Oklahoma. He knows how to apply the principles of logic with clarity in order to solve practical and difficult problems.
Kempf has more than 30 years of experience studying, and teaching the Bible. He has sought no accreditation for that effort other than that suggested to Timothy: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”