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The Big Challenge of Common Ground Politics: Tulsa, Oklahoma Mayor G.T. Bynum
Working across party divides is the best way to bring people together and make progress, says our guest, Tulsa Mayor, G.T. Bynum. But he also points out that common ground is “the least valued political real estate in America today”.
Overwhelmingly reelected to office as a nonpartisan in a deep-red state, Mayor Bynum calls himself a moderate and tells us that his administration is a test case for “the belief that people of diverse beliefs can still work together to solve great challenges.”
Two years ago, Mayor Bynum issued a statement apologizing on behalf of the city for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, exactly 100 years after the racist attack. We discuss his support for long delayed excavations of victims, and Tulsa’s need for diversity, and how new immigrants add to prosperity and community building.
Mayor Bynum acknowledges that in our divided times “the easy sugar high for candidates and elected officials is to hate ‘them’ and get one of the extremes on your side.” Our discussion looks at the need for common ground politics and respect for different communities.
Tune in to hear more on the latest episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.
Read the Episode Transcript
Sworn in as the 40th Mayor of Tulsa in 2016, Mayor G.T. Bynum is using data and innovation to bring people together and make Tulsa globally competitive. Under his leadership, the City has implemented multiple strategies and programs focused on fiscal responsibility, public safety, infrastructure and equality of opportunity for all Tulsans.
During Mayor Bynum’s tenure, first responders have received historic pay raises to contend with departments nationally, over a billion dollars in new investments have been announced citywide and nearly a thousand individuals have become U.S. citizens during City-hosted naturalization ceremonies. Simultaneously, Mayor Bynum is implementing the largest streets improvement program in Tulsa history (Improve Our Tulsa) and the largest economic development capital improvements program in Tulsa history (Vision Tulsa).
Prior to his election as Mayor, Bynum served for eight years on the Tulsa City Council. During that time, he was elected as the youngest City Council Chairman in Tulsa history. Bynum is a proud graduate of two institutions operated by the Augustinian Order of the Catholic Church: Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Tulsa and Villanova University. Mayor Bynum comes from a family dedicated to public service and his children are the sixth generation of Bynum’s to call Tulsa home.