The Edmond Chamber takes an active role in local government, including the upcoming Edmond City Council and Mayoral races. The general election will take place Tuesday, April 4, and all Edmond residents are eligible to vote in each race.
We are the voice for business and your advocate for legislative issues. We asked the candidates for each open seat the same questions to understand their stance on issues important to local business. Below are the responses, broken out by candidate or by question.
The City Council is a five-member body, including the Mayor, representing the four Wards that make up the City of Edmond. Ward representative Council terms are four years and the mayor serves a two-year term.
On Thursday, March 2, 2023 the Edmond Chamber of Commerce will host a City Council/Mayoral Candidate Forum and Member Lunch. In addition to the candidates giving an opening and a closing statement, they will be asked a series of questions. To register for this luncheon, please click here.
Candidates for Election
Darrell Davis, Mayor, www.davis4mayor.com
Brian Shellem, Mayor, www.shellemformayor.com
Tom Robins, Ward 1 City Council, www.tomforedmond.com
Ashley Bradley, Ward 1 City Council, www.abc4edmond.com
Barry Moore, Ward 2 City Council
Judy Rau, Ward 2 City Council, www.judyrau.com
Questions from the Chamber
Darrell Davis (Mayor): Two years ago, I ran for mayor because I love Edmond. I serve every day as mayor because I love Edmond and I’m running for re-election to continue the work we started. My top priorities haven’t changed. They are to continue enthusiastically serving the citizens of Edmond and striving every day to make our city better through a commitment to public safety, better infrastructure, thoughtful development, and a working relationship with schools and job creators.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): The top priority as mayor will be to align the goals of the city council with the goals and desires of the citizens of Edmond. We are meant to be a government of, by and for the people. I will restore that principle to our city government.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): I’m running to make Edmond the best place to raise a family and grow a business.
- Public Safety
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): My priority for City Council is to be an agent for all of Edmond, not just Ward 1, with a continual focus on what is best for Edmond. I would do so by incorporating my campaign’s overall theme of “Quality of Life” in each decision, which is comprised of the following pillars: Health / Environment / Society / Good Governance / Prosperity.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): Address traffic, increase police and fire protection, improve our city’s Infrastructure, Invest In youth sports complexes, and enhance our quality of life.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): My top priority is ensuring the voice of the citizens of Edmond is both received and considered in items brought before the council. Subsequent to that, my priorities are public safety, infrastructure, and transparency in city government.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): Yes, I would be supportive if the area “District” in question meets the standards of the Edmond TIF policy guide that would be created. The TIF policy is used to provide the economic and funding structure to construct public improvements needed to stimulate new private investment. TIFs are leveraged to redevelop blighted areas in Edmond by attracting private investors. It is critical that policy spells out the priorities of the city we want to achieve.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): I would say there is appropriate uses of tifs and inappropriate use of tifs. In order for a tiff to be effective there must be a quick return on the city’s investment, In addition there must be transparency and accountability for the use of public funds by requiring not just financial audits but performance audits. I am for development and want entrepreneurs to engage in our city, we have a phenomenal community where people want to come and invest. I am a firm believer in the free market and want to create an environment where businesses can thrive.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): Yes.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): I support the use of TIF expanding in Edmond only if there is a need to do so and if areas would otherwise remain vacant.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): Yes, but only if TIF’s are developed in a thoughtful manner, thoroughly vetted by the city staff and citizen’s panel, and benefits the whole community.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts are a tool and one way of promoting private development. However, initially Edmond may have to “borrow” funds from the Capitol Improvement Sales Tax fund or affected utility accounts until enough unobligated incremental revenues have been generated. I would like to see a review of Edmond’s TIF policy and program to ensure it is meeting its original goals and objectives. I would like to see a slightly longer-term and continued success of this downtown TIF before we consider other areas for this program.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): Yes, I am in support of the Regional Transit/Commuter Rail System.
The North-South Corridor will provide connectivity regionally between Edmond, Oklahoma City, and Norman. This enhanced commuter service would allow for additional economic development within Edmond being a destination location. With the potential for an East-West Corridor there would be connectivity with Tinker AFB and Will Rogers Airport.
The Regional Transit would expand the opportunity for increased tourism without the increase of automobiles and increase the mobility options for the citizens of Edmond and surrounding communities.
The Regional Transit will also help to alleviate the train stopping in the downtown area which is currently preventing citizen and customer circulation. With the train tracks open, our first responders will have additional ways to quickly get to citizens in need.
As we continue discussions, I want to continue working with the Edmond Chamber and Edmond Economic Development Authority on community engagement.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): I am for continuing investment in technology and new ideas. This is a massive project that needs a true cost-benefit analysis. I have been to 49 states as well as numerous countries and have been to cities where the mass transit system is amazing and I have also been to cities where these types of transit systems have done more harm than good. I believe a vote of the people is critical to how we would want to implement a plan for a commuter rail system. As we look to the future, if we were to consider a commuter rail project we need to have a vision of where our city will be in the decades to come. I believe our 1-35 corridor is the most valuable area for our city’s growth when looking to the future. If we want to invest in a rail system I believe looking at the 1-35 corridor would be the most prudent area to consider.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): Only if it is part of a comprehensive plan that Edmond voters support for transportation infrastructure investments.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): Yes, I fully support an additional commuter option for our city. Having multiple transportation options for our community is key to growth. Being able to utilize this will lessen overall traffic, help with emissions, and preserve our roads that much longer.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): Yes, I have heard from many citizens that want a Regional Transit/Commuter Rail System for central Oklahoma. However, before committing, I would need to evaluate the details and know the financial obligation of the city.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): Conceptually yes! I love the concept of this idea, and with a vote of the people, we will actually know how the citizens feel about this project. I would have to see the cost share and dollar matching requirements behind the cost analysis to make a final decision. However, a vote of the people in this case would be given the greatest weight in my thought process moving forward.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): Yes, I do support the East Edmond 2050 plan. Let’s start with how this plan came together. The assessment of potential development sites in east Edmond is an action item in the Edmond Plan 2018 which is our comprehensive land use plan. As mayor we initially sought public input to share their thoughts as we looked at east Edmond (including the I-35 corridor).
We assembled a plan advisory committee whose membership ranged from council members, planning commission members, citizens-at-large, city staff, chamber of commerce, and EEDA.
Over the next sixteen months there was continual public engagement and committee involvement. The final report’s key components contain fiscal sustainability, preservation of community values, a balanced future, and actions to implement the community’s vision.
I highly favor the plan theme to preserve and protect forested area, preservation of the rural character, ample opportunity for open space and recreation, preference for mix use vs single use- development, preference for strong fiscal performance, and responsibility of public resources.
The overall vision of the East Edmond 2050 Plan is to create a well-planned, well-connected community that includes a variety of development patterns. The plan reflects our community’s priorities. The quality of life for our current and future residents will be enhanced.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): As our next Mayor, I believe having vision and planning ahead is important for the healthy growth of our city. support the development of our 1-35 corridor, but I would increase the focus on business in that area of our city. I would propose to amend the plan regarding the zoning changes that it calls for, public safety must be a top priority when making zoning changes as well preservation of community identity. As we look to the future we must have healthy growth, we must invest in the infrastructure that will provide for easy transit, that will increase the velocity of commerce.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): I support the proposed “preferred scenario” as outlined on page 14 of the report.
“The preferred scenario was created to accommodate the projected population for Edmond, including 40,000 people and 16,000 homes. This preferred development pattern assessed the existing densities and intensities in Edmond as a whole and focused growth in key areas throughout the entire city as opposed to concentrating growth only in East Edmond in order to preserve Cross Timbers forest and open space. Growth was primarily focused in areas that were served by existing or planned utility and transportation networks, while avoiding flood prone areas, remnant forest, and steep slopes. This scenario can be accomplished with no significant changes to more than 90% of the City.”
What needs to be amended is to include a full transparent transportation plan that the citizens of Edmond vote to support or can choose not to invest in that will work in tandem with the plan.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): Yes, I support the East Edmond 2050 Plan. Specifically, the “what is best for Edmond” approach along with an understanding that as the process moves forward the plan will be reviewed and adjusted as needed. Items that encourage preservation/protection of forested areas, rural areas, open recreation and space, use of conservation easements, and identifying suitable locations for this growth to name a few items I favor.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): Yes, I voted in favor of the Plan. Although, I believe the Plan can be strengthened to give citizens a higher level of comfort and knowledge that PUDs cannot alter the long-range plan. The greatest strength of the plan is that it balances keeping east Edmond rural while allowing development to occur where utilities exist.
Judy Rau (Ward 2):As decade long residents of Ward 2, my husband and I both signed up to be a part of the East Edmond 2050 planning and workgroup, but never heard back from the city or received any type of notification for meetings or events. Obviously, COVID somewhat overshadowed citizen participation in this project. No, I’m not supportive of the plan in its entirety, but would be willing to work with the council and city staff in areas I disagree with or need further information on. Growth will continue to happen in east Edmond, this is unavoidable. However, more citizens should be participants, not merely the small percentage that were included in this study. I would encourage an updated strategic plan that includes greater Ward 2 resident input and requires infrastructure placement prior to zoning changes. The current plan appears to continue to place the cart before the horse.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): Yes, I do support the construction of a new City Administration Complex and the private development opportunities in downtown Edmond for the following reasons.
Edmond population will soon reach 100,000 with potential to grow higher. Currently Edmond administrative offices are spread throughout downtown. This is costing the city additional money with no return on investment. A consolidated building will provide a safe environment for our citizens and staff to assemble. There will be organizational synergy created within departmental offices being collocated in the building. There will be 3,350 sq/ft of additional office space to handle the expected growth. The City Council chambers will be increased to 3x more seating capacity with a flat floor and detached seats which will lead to better functionality.
From the economic development aspect, selling the property will create revenue. New economic development opportunities will be created with new businesses entering the downtown market or expansion. These opportunities can help stimulate additional growth like we have seen in our downtown TIF District.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): I love new building projects, but we must prioritize the needs of the citizens and look at how to increase the pie so that we can pay for this type of project. There should always be a cost-benefit analysis. Some construction projects can pay for themselves by increases in efficiency as well as lowering the cost of utilities with new technologies such as geothermal. I have yet to see this cost benefit analysis performed and then weighed against the priorities of the citizens. I believe we should always be the best stewards of public funds. If there are public owned properties that are not being utilized or have no plans to be used we should divest our interest in those properties.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): The City of Edmond needs to continue modernizing the services that citizens and business leaders utilize to raise a family and grow a business. The city also needs to attract and retain a well-qualified diverse workforce to meet the needs of its citizens and serve its business owners. While a new City Administration building will help reach these goals, the citizens of Edmond number one concern is traffic and transportation.
Therefore, a new City Administration building must be proposed with a plan to support long-term transportation funding that the voters can choose to approve or not.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): I support the need for more space and accommodations for our City, understanding fully that the need for this increased space is to ensure proper staffing of our city for today and for our city tomorrow. I would like to see continued discussions on the aesthetic, specifically the parking garage, but know that there is a) limited space and b) a need for more parking. I believe the current design is trying to compromise between the need and fulfilling a certain look, but I would like to see what some additional conversations may bring.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): The city has already approved the building of these projects. In the future, my criterion would be to question if a project provides long-term efficiency for the taxpayers and delivery of city services.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): I do support a new city hall complex. However, I am not sure I agree with the timeline or current priority of this project which is projected to cost $44,000,000.00. Most east Edmond residents do not have a fire station near them. Fire stations #4 and #5 are both along I-35, with the east boundary of Edmond being Choctaw Road. Numerous residents suffer from extended response times and no fire hydrants. In addition, we need to strengthen our number of sworn police officers; our officer to citizen ratio is inadequate city wide. Traffic in Edmond is a mess. We must ask ourselves, could this $44,000,000.00 meet a more current need or higher priority. I would love to have all of our city services and offices under one roof, I am just not convinced now is the right time, but will look at it with an open mind.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): Yes, I do support the partnership with the Metropolitan Library System and the YMCA at I-35 and 15th Street. Before being elected to city council, I was involved with the development of youth sports in Edmond when I served on the Park and Recreation Board for 15 years. I have been involved with the city’s current successful partnerships, 1. Mitch Park YMCA and Mitch Park Aquatic Center with Edmond Public Schools and 2. Edmond Center Court Tennis a partnership with the city of Edmond and Edmond Public Schools. The Edmond YMCA and Library are both having record attendance.
With Edmond expanding to the East, I fully support entering a partnership to ensure we are providing needed services to our growing community.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): I love the library and am supportive of keeping a healthy library system. This project is a great example where the case has yet to be made on a true cost benefit analysis. Hard data should be guiding our decisions, digital copy check outs are up. I believe the technology that most of us have at our fingertips today is the driving force we need to consider as we make investments for the future. We must also look at all aspects and impacts of this type of facility.
In regards to the proposed YMCA portion of this idea we need to look at the data. When we look at our great city and the private sector that has come into meet the needs of the market it begs the question: Is the private sector not doing a good job? Right across the highway from the proposed site there is a private sector facility that has an indoor Olympic size swimming pool, indoor running track, world class equipment, a sauna, steam room, and all the amenities you could want. In addition Edmond has other private sector businesses that meet different people’s particular budgets. So my question is to the people: is this the best place for our city to invest? I think we can invest in our city in many other ways that will increase the benefit to the citizens and in areas that will better encourage business to be conducted in Edmond. Just like in our personal budgets we must decide what is best. There is an opportunity cost that we must weigh.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): Yes, the current Edmond Library has the highest use within the system, and our population growth supports this service. Creating win-win partnerships that benefit the community and schools, such as the YMCA at Mitch Park, is a template for how we can multiply resources.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): Yes, I support the new library and YMCA. Both of which are essential to a community and provide numerous resources. Libraries promote education and literacy, and YMCAs offer athletic facilities and community programs for every age.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): Both projects are worthy, and I support them.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): I need to see the statement of need, very similar to the city hall complex. We have a current library; I would need to see both its capacity and usage. We also have a very nice new modern YMCA at Mitch Park as well as our original YMCA on Rankin. What is the driving force for a third location at this time? When I saw the cost of the land at $4,000,000.00 and a design fee of $3,100,000.00, my heart skipped a lot of beats. Would you pay $400,000.00 of your own money per acre of land? Would your lending institution approve that valuation and loan you the money?
Darrell Davis (Mayor): Yes, the City has not used General Obligations Bonds to fund projects in the past. Going forward I feel the city needs to have strategic conversations with Edmond Public Schools, Edmond Chamber and Edmond Economic Development Authority to determine ways to help fund infrastructure and street projects as the city continues to grow. Each group is essential to be in the conversation as we look to develop viable alternatives. It is critical we do not harm the pillars of community such as public safety and excellent schools which have built Edmond to be the great community it is today.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): As a business owner my belief is there are appropriate uses of dept and inappropriate uses of debt. Debt should be used as leverage for a greater benefit than could be obtained by waiting or not investing in something today. Debt should be used for things in our city that will increase our business which in turn increases sales tax revenue and property tax revenue that expands the pie and benefits the citizens of Edmond. As we look at how to grow our pie leverage allows to us to receive the benefit without requiring increases in taxes to the citizens.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): YES.
Edmond is the only city in Oklahoma with a population over 50,000 that is not using General Obligation Bonds to fund projects.
Citizens of Edmond are willing to support the best in state schools and infrastructure.
Peer city Broken Arrow has funded great schools and a community that has also supported GO Bonds.
Leadership is needed to create a transparent win-win plan that the citizens of Edmond can proudly support.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): I support using General Obligation Bonds for specific city projects but believe that ultimately this decision should be put to a vote of the people.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): Edmond Public Schools must remain a top priority for our community. However, I am certainly open to learning more about the Issue.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): General Obligation Bonds are debt and I think we must use debt wisely and always be good stewards of public monies. If the bonds are for improvements to our infrastructure, roads, or are for items our citizens have voted to approve, then I would be supportive. Anytime a vote of the people is the cog of success or failure of an issue, I am satisfied.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): With the decline in available funding from sources like ACOG – Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, we need to continue to look at “short term” solutions that can help with our immediate needs. Currently we have implemented these types of solutions at Santa Fe & Covell, Bryant & Covell, N. Coltrane & Covell. These solutions have eased North-South & East-West traffic congestion.
We currently have been working with the Board of County Commissioners of Oklahoma County for approximately 20 years on rural roadway reconstruction improvements. These inter-local agreements have allowed the reconstruction of more rural roads in our community.
As mayor I will continue to work with our federal Congressional delegation, our Oklahoma legislature, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to seek sources for additional funding.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): I have had the good fortune to participate in construction projects in other states and municipalities that fund the growth of their infrastructure with usage or impact fees that are paid by the users of the new items, not subsidized by the existing citizens. This provides for healthy growth and everyone knows how the system works and everyone is treated fairly. If we move to a healthy plan to fund our roads and infrastructure, everyone benefits, the developers, the builders, the new property owners, the visitors to our city, and the existing citizens. This allows us to invest in maintaining and improving our current infrastructure while growing our infrastructure in a healthy way.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): Transportation and traffic are top concerns for Edmond Citizens. Traffic is impacting families, and commutes, slowing down commerce, and increasing auto repairs while also limiting property values.
We need a general obligation bond with a transparent multi-year transportation plan that the citizens of Edmond vote to support or can choose not to invest in.
Long-term planning that anticipates not just reacting to increased transportation and traffic is needed as Edmond grows and prioritizes dedicated funding.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): I would continue to support multiple items already outlined in the current 2023 Edmond Strategic Plan, which include the I.T.S. Phase III implementation (Intelligent Traffic System), widening of existing roads, providing alternative transportation options (see commuter rail system), and using a proactive approach to road design for future growth. I would also support additional solutions like incorporating roundabouts (aka traffic circles).
Barry Moore (Ward 2): Traffic will be an issue for our city as long as we remain a desirable community where people want to live and raise a family. The city should look at roundabouts (where feasible In east Edmond), additional turning lanes, and interim improvements until funding Is available for final improvements.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): Road projects have to be given a higher priority in Edmond, bottom line! Would the $44,000,000.00 for a new city hall and $37,000,000.00 for a second library and third YMCA be better spent on road projects and public safety? I think it warrants further discussion. This also ties into the previous question on general obligation bonds, road construction would be an appropriate use.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): We must first understand the sales tax leakage Edmond is experiencing throughout the state and surrounding area. Analysis must be accomplished to understand what needs to be done to bring commercial business to Edmond to sell their taxable goods and services. To help get a better understanding as mayor we need to continue to have the conversation with EEDA and the Chamber to help develop sales tax strategies.
As mayor I will continue to look at the development opportunities on the Edmond I-35 corridor, Covell & I-35 and Route 66. These roads are economic generators, and we must look for every opportunity to enhance economic growth.
In east Edmond, as spelled out in the East Edmond 2050 plan, we need to look for opportunities to increase the density in designated areas. Identifying sales tax producing areas, while preserving as much of the natural beauty of the east side.
We also need to explore opportunities for the city to invest in infrastructure that spurs development.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): The development of our 1-35 corridor has to become a focal point, we must improve our ingress and egress of how to bring people into our community. This 7 ½ mile stretch is truly our gold mine that me must utilize to fund our growth. We must be intentional about this corridor, if we are we can preserve the rural feel of east Edmond even as development happens at a healthy pace.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): If Edmond can be the best place to raise a family and grow a business, investment in commerce will grow. Edmond also needs to continue modernizing the services that citizens and business leaders utilize to support their families and run their businesses.
Improvements in transportation and key community infrastructure projects will help deliver goods and services while making all of Edmonds’s great business accessible to its residents and regional population.
In East Edmond, Lake Arcadia has the potential to be a regional destination attracting visitors and recreational users who will stay and play in Edmond.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): I believe we are already seeing how we can continue to drive sales tax revenue by incentivizing development with the TIF program in otherwise vacant lots, the East Edmond 2050 plan, and by continuing to utilize our highway frontage for additional retail shops (which provides jobs and tax revenue).
Barry Moore (Ward 2): For many years, I have said the growth in east Edmond should be managed in a fashion that does not conflict with the current way of life for residents. However, I hear from citizens all the time about the need for additional services and amenities. Making Edmond business-friendly is not unreasonable. Growth will provide for more tax dollars, so responsible and well-planned growth is a must.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): We must always be looking for ways to increase business and commerce in Edmond that generates sales tax. I think the I-35 corridor is an excellent example of an area that has the existing infrastructure to handle more businesses to generate the additional sales tax Edmond needs to both catch up with our past growth and be prepared for our future growth. East Edmond does not currently have the infrastructure for that type of growth. Most residences in east Edmond are on well water and septic systems with partial city services.
Darrell Davis (Mayor): The past 5 years being involved with the city of Edmond is broken down into 2 periods. The first 3 years I have been serving a council member representing ward 3 and the last 2 years I have honorably served as the elected mayor of Edmond. During this time, I have served on the following board and commissions: Edmond Historical Preservation Trust – City Representative, Public Works Committee – committee member and chairperson, Stormwater Drainage Advisory Board – member, Finance/Audit Committee – member.
Brian Shellem (Mayor): My faith in God guides all aspects of my life. My family and I are so thankful for the relationships we have with our neighbors, friends, and church family. Over the last 5 years we have invested an enormous amount of time and energy into helping to make sure that Edmond public school students are treated equally and without discrimination. In addition we have reached out to local churches to engage in making our community aware of the need to encourage our schools to raise standards. Our efforts have centered around the premise that parents are the authority when it comes to their own children in regards to their education and medical decisions.
Tom Robins (Ward 1): As we raise our family in Edmond, my wife and I have been very active in serving at our church in Edmond. Additionally, my wife served on the school PTA Board and supports members of our community as marriage and family therapists.
I have been active at Edmond Chamber of Commerce events and created a statewide leadership program, The Oklahoma Legislative Fellowship Program, that has benefited Edmond students.
I’m looking forward to serving our community.
Ashley Bradley (Ward 1): I’m originally from Guthrie, Oklahoma and after living in DFW for a few years, I moved back to Oklahoma where Edmond has been my home for the past 7+ years. In 2021, I took part in the “Expand Hafer” movement and am forever grateful to have shared the overwhelming victory of saving the land next to the park (81% of the vote was in favor of purchasing this land). Not only did we get the victory in saving this land from development, but we also generated a surplus from the one-year tax, benefiting the entire community. It was this movement that helped contribute to my decision to run for City Council, with the expectation that I will continue to help be a voice for the preservation of Edmond and keeping with our motto “A great place to grow”.
Barry Moore (Ward 2): I have served on the Edmond Planning Commission for 17 years and currently serve as chairman. I am vice-chairman of the Edmond Board of Adjustment and Appeals. I participated on the Edmond Fire Chief citizens selection panel.
Judy Rau (Ward 2): In the past several years, I have joined the Edmond Women’s Club and planned and participated in several Gold Star Family events. I am an Army wife which is very time consuming. I attend numerous local, state, and federal events with my husband in his capacity on the Command Staff. I am excited to be selected and will be attending the Edmond Citizens Police Academy for the next few months.