TYPros isn’t going to let this election season pass without making some noise.
Five members of the group — whose full name is Tulsa’s Young Professionals — gathered downtown Thursday to spell out their concerns for the future and to encourage people to vote.
“TYPros is not going to give up. We’re not going to let our demographic sleep and let decisions be made for us,” said Daniel Regan, 2016 TYPros chairman. “We’re going to be active registering voters. We’re going to be out communicating to them about why their vote matters.”
In the last month TYPros has helped register hundreds of new voters, and the process continues Friday — the last day to register to vote in Tulsa County.
“We will be out tomorrow, First Friday, in front of (the Arts and Humanities building) registering voters,” Regan said.
This year Americans will elect a new president and Oklahomans will go to the polls to elect state and local officials. Tulsans vote June 28 in the nonpartisan municipal primary, which includes candidates for City Council and mayor.
A nonpartisan election enables voters from any party — Democrat, Republican or independent — to vote for any candidate they want.
TYPros, which has approximately 8,500 members, is not endorsing candidates in the local elections. But the organization is making known the issues it believes candidates should be paying attention to. Thursday’s press conference at The Bond Event Center, 608 E. 3rd St., was intended to get those ideas out for discussion.
Downtown developer Elliott Nelson said he’s interested in knowing what major initiatives — including public infrastructure — the mayoral candidates have planned for the city’s downtown.
“The past decade we’ve seen some monumental change (downtown),” Nelson said. “But I feel like it has just gotten us to a break-even point with a lot of other cities. … Now we need to look at the things over the next decade that are going to start to set us apart.”
University of Tulsa law school student Caroline Guerra said she’s been discouraged by the lack of understanding some elected officials have shown regarding the state’s education system.
She believes local elected officials — including the mayor and city councilors — can have an effect on the quality of the education system.
“But we need elected officials that will take that up,” Guerra said.
Isaac Rocha with Bama Companies said millennials are the most diverse generation in history and that a community’s sense of inclusivity is key to attracting young people.
“That is just a fact,” Rocha said.
He added: “I urge all of our candidates to rise above what Oklahoma usually sends as a message, which is not very inclusive. Tulsa has risen above that.”
James Wagner, principal transportation planner for the Indian Nations Council of Governments, was asked to speak about what young people are looking for in a transportation network.
Wagner’s answer: Options.
“Some days young professionals maybe want to drive to work, but maybe the next day they want to be able to ride a bike and the day after that they want to take a bus or maybe even walk to work, or to the farmers market on Saturday,” Wagner said.
Regan used his introductory and closing remarks to remind voters, young and old, that their votes matter.
“It’s about a few thousand votes to decide who your representatives are down at the Capitol, and it doesn’t take too many of you to change the outcome of everything that happens,” Regan said.
Voting, he added, is “the most critical thing they can do to shape their future.”
Tulsa County residents can register to vote at the Tulsa County Election Board, 555 N. Denver Ave., through Friday. The Election Board is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voter registration forms can also be picked up and dropped off at libraries, tag agencies and Tulsa Health Department offices.
Individuals mailing voter register forms to the Election Board must have them postmarked no later than June 3.
Voter registration forms can be dropped off at the Election Board until midnight Friday. After 5 p.m., forms can be dropped into a slot in the west side of the building on the south end. Voter registration forms will be available to fill out at the same location.
Voter registration forms can be downloaded here.