The last day to file as a candidate for Norman City Council is over, with 17 Norman residents declaring candidacy for the race set for Feb. 9.
Five seats are up for election this year. In a normal election year, there would only be four seats on the table, but due to the passing of former Ward 2 Councilman David Perry, his seat is now up for election.
The 17 candidates are spread relatively evenly among the wards, with no one candidate running unopposed: Ward 1 has three candidates, Ward 2 has four candidates, Ward 3 has three candidates, Ward 5 has four candidates and Ward 7 has three candidates.
Of the three candidates running in Ward 1, two of them declared candidacy on Wednesday: Brandi Studley and Finn Guttery.
Guttery said they were running because they wanted to ensure people like them had a voice within local government.
“[I want] to aid in fighting the issues that have come to light in Norman in the last year or so,” Guttery said.
Studley said she is running for office because she wants to be the voice for lower-income residents on the council. Wanting to fight for change within the community, she said she is committed to “social and racial justice” and is passionate about equality for all.
“I’m running for Ward 1 because I’m tired, and I know you are too,” Studley said. “I’m tired of City Hall not working on behalf of low-income residents, the highest concentration of whom live in Ward 1. I’m fatigued from seeing the majority of taxpayer money being spent on the other side of town. I’ve grown weary saying that black lives matter, not more than anyone else’s lives, but as much as.”
John Argo declared candidacy today for the Ward 2 race, making it a four man race for the ward’s council seat.
Argo said he’s running because he wants to give back to the community that has given so much to him.
“My grandparents came here in 1935 and Norman provided them that opportunity to raise their family here, and then my parents stayed and they were given the opportunity to raise their family here; now my wife and I chose to raise family here and I want to make sure that opportunity is there for others as well,” Argo said.
Incumbent Alison Petrone was the only candidate in Ward 3 to file for candidacy Wednesday.
Petrone said she is running for reelection because she believes the council needs leadership that is ready to go to work on day one.
“We need to continue to hit the ground running in 2021 to provide our residents, nonprofits and small businesses with the opportunities and tools that they need to thrive,” Petrone said.
Ward 5 saw one out of its four candidates, Billy Davison, declare on Wednesday.
Davison said he is running because he believes he would be a “great advocate” for his community. He hopes to build back the trust between the council and its residents that he feels has been lost.
“After a summer of national partisan politics, political activism and rumors of questionable spending, a lot of residents have grown frustrated and concerned,” he said. “… Lockdowns and mandates have made things very difficult for local businesses and their employees. The mandates reaching into the homes of private citizens [have] created a distrust of our council and mayor. We need to work on rebuilding that trust along with transparency in spending.”
Monica Marsh was the only candidate in Ward 7 to declare candidacy on Wednesday, making it a three-person race for that seat.
Marsh did not immediately respond to The Transcript’s request for comment.
Full list of candidates running for Norman City Council (in order of filing date):
Ward 1- Chris Lewis, Finn Guttery, Brandi Studley.
Ward 2- Matt McGarry, Edward C. Maguire, Jay Wendorff, John D. Argo.
Ward 3- Sam Talley, Kelly Lynn, Alison A. Petrone.
Ward 5- Lisa Meyer, Michael David Nash, Rarchar S. Tortorello, Billy Davison.
Ward 7- C.L. Jourden, Stephen Tyler Holman, Monica Marsh.
Mindy Ragan Wood contributed to this report.