Editor's Note: This is one of the stories, which look at elections before Delaware County voters on Tuesday, April 2. Each candidate was given the same questions to answer. The following profile is based upon their submitted responses.
Two candidates, Becki Farley and Michelle Moore, are vying to follow Les Newkirk's footsteps as the new mayor for the city of Jay.
The election takes place on Tuesday, April 2. This is one of three races which have developed in Jay's city government. The others are for city treasurer and police chief.
Early voting is set for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday, March 28 and 29, at the Delaware County Election Board office at 225 South Fifth Street in Jay. Day of election voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, at precincts throughout the county.
Becki Farley chose to run for office after learning current mayor Les Newkirk did not plan to seek another term.
"We discussed the need to have someone who would had a passion for our community and would work hard," Farley said. "I knew that Jay needed a full time mayor because of the work that still needed to be accomplished."
At that time, Farley worked for Arvest Bank in Jay, and knew position was changing, thus taking her out of the community.
"I love this community and had a desire to stay in Jay and keep working on the economic development we need," Farley said. "I know we can continue to move forward to accomplish great things together."
Farley said she believes she is an effective communicator, and a community driven candidate.
"I am able to lead by example and able to execute multiple tasks at once," she said. "I am able to build a team oriented environment based on trust and respect."
If elected, she plans to focus on bringing jobs to the community.
"My husband is one of the many who travel outside our community to work for higher wage," Farley said. "Many have expressed the need for higher paying jobs here."
She said the next mayor needs to continue to work on the goals set by the economic development committee and find ways to focus on bringing manufacturing, housing and retail to the community, as well as improving the city's marketing efforts by creating a community brand.
"We should focus on obtaining additional grants for infrastructure improvements such as roads and continued work on improving the appearance of our community," Farley said. "The continued pursuit of building strong partnerships with the Cherokee Nation, Grand Gateway, Community Action, and other state agencies is vital to accomplishing our goals.
"We should increase awareness of our community through the use of social media and our web presence."
More about Farley
Farley and her husband, Butch, have been married for almost 25 years. They have three children: Whitney, a 2015 graduate of Jay High School, is currently a senior at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond; Lexie is a sophomore at Jay High School, and Hunter is a second grader at Jay's elementary school. The Farleys are members of First Baptist Church in Jay.
Farley has worked within the banking industry for 34 years, spending the last 18 plus years at Arvest Bank of Delaware County managing employees, budget and facilities with a focus on customer service and development.
Farley has been apart of the Jay Chamber of Commerce for the past 19 years, serving as president for the past 11 years.
She has been a board member of Delaware County Historical Society for the past 19 years, and currently serves as the president.
Other memberships include the Delaware County Children’s Special Advocacy Network (DCCSAN) board of directors, a member of the NORA Leadership Class of 2018, and a member of the Jay Economic Development Committee.
She has volunteered at Jay Schools for many years and enjoys being a cast member of the Jay Educational Foundation Scholarship Play. This year's play is set for April 30.
Farley believes infrastructure, economic development and grant writing to increase the town's income are among the top issues facing the next mayor.
"We need to improve our infrastructure such as water and gas lines, streets, aging equipment, and the development of our new industrial park," Farley said. "All of these items require funds.
"We will need to focus on the writing of grants, increasing our income, and the management of our city monies."
Additionally she said, city officials need to continue to focus on economic development and improving the appearance of the community.
If elected, Farley said she plans to put her 34-year business experience to work.
"I have managed employees, budgets, facilities, and focused on customer service and development," Farley said. "I have been the chamber president for the past 11 years and have been involved in all events and festivals in the community during that time.
"I am capable of building relationships and working with people."
Farley said she wants people to know she's a hard worker.
"I have consistently worked on the projects I have been involved for many years," Farley said. "I am focused and committed."
Michelle Moore decided to run for mayor of Jay because she believes her hometown needs "strong, honest and hardworking leadership."
"We need change and to move forward realistically and beneficial way for past, present and future generations," she said.
She chose to run as a way to address the "numerous needs" within the city.
"A lot are small and minor, but some are large and the people of our city deserve someone who has the time and willingness to address them, no matter how popular or publicized the need is," Moore said. "I do not want our city to become a place that forgets about the members of its community.
"I want my hometown to be a place where our children graduate college or trade school and come back to work and raise their children."
Moore describes herself as an "approachable individual" and candidate.
"I believe I am a competent person with a laid back approach, but a take charge attitude," she said. "I have been campaigning door to door and visiting with the people of this community for the past several weeks which has been so fun.
"I feel like I may be flying under the radar a little bit publicity-wise, but I know that people know that I genuinely care about every person in this city."
If elected, Moore said she plans to sit down with members of the community to discuss realistic goals for the city, and how the community can work together to accomplish those goals.
"We have to get real about where this city is at and how quickly we can accomplish our goals," Moore said. "It's nice for my opponent to run on the premise of economic development; however, half of Jay is still on septic systems, and the infrastructure of this town needs to be worked on first and foremost along with numerous other things."
Moore said economic growth can only come "after the foundation is set in place."
"Yes we can go after new business, but it's more realistic if we fix what is already here before we start forging ahead with the thought of bringing something new in," Moore said. "I do want economic growth, its a necessity so that our city doesn't die off, but I want the businesses in our town thriving, the people in our town thriving and I know those things are attainable here and now."
More about Moore
Moore is a 1991 graduate of Jay High school. The daughter of Beverly Jones and the late Stan Jones, Moore has been a life-long member of Jay. Her family owns and operates Grand River Abstract in Jay, Grove and Langley.
Her grandmother, Margaret Melton served as the Delaware County Clerk for many years, while her uncle Charlie Melton served as a member of the Delaware County Sheriff's department.
Moore and her husband, Greg, have two daughters: Miley, 20, a graduate of Jay High School, attends the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville; while Hattie, 14, attends Jay Public School.
Moore is becoming a certified grant writer. She hopes to complete her studies in August.
A former business owner in Jay, Moore said she has been "blessed by being able to spend" her days raising her children, volunteering for her church and helping within her community.
"I am proud to say that I was raised in Jay and have called Jay my home for my whole life," Moore said. "I have fond memories of growing up here and have been able to reminisce with so many people while going door to door recently.
"I love that I live in a small town where everyone knows and cares about each other. I don't think there is a place with better people."
Moore grew up attending First Baptist Church in Jay. She now attends Jay First Assembly of God and volunteers within the children's ministry.
She spent seven years helping the Delaware County Children's Special Advocacy Network [DCCSAN] staff and volunteers organize Winterset.
"The majority of my volunteer work is behind the scenes and one-on-one with people who are in need," Moore said. "I like helping people who need it most, but I try my hardest not to let my left hand know what my right hand is doing.
"Helping people is what fulfills me and gives me the most joy, so it is what has consumed most of my time."
More believes infrastructure, an emergency management system and cleaning up the city are the top three issues facing the next mayor.
"We cannot bring in new business and focus on economic development until this city is ready to handle it," Moore said. "Once we can get everyone in our residential districts taken care of and get the infrastructure to our newly purchased "industrial park," then we can talk about bringing in new business."
In terms of emergency management, Moore said she wants to bring in more money through tourism and grants to fund a second EMS crew.
"Our ambulances are older," Moore said. "We need to spend some time making sure we have safe, reliable and very responsive transportation for the people in our community.
"Proper equipment and staffing will help save lives."
In terms of cleaning up the city, Moore would like to continue to beautify Jay in order to continue to attract tourists, workers and future economic development.
If elected, she believes she will utilize her grant writing training to help fund city projects. She also believes her communication skills, both written and verbal, will be an asset.
"I plan on meeting with other mayors in Oklahoma to see how they have approached aging infrastructure and other issues in their communities," Moore said. "I also plan on speaking with area leaders to hear any advice or take any help they are willing to give. I love to learn and can't wait to find ways to make this little city even better."
Moore said she will dedicate her time to the community if elected.
"I want people to know that I do not have a long list of agencies that I have volunteered for or am a member of, but I have volunteered my time to helping individuals," Moore said. "I am a leader who will listen to everyone and assure them that they are heard. I have no special interests other than that of making my hometown an even better place."