Kelly, an attorney, drew fire last year after being charged with driving under the influence, his second DUI charge since 2009. A felony conviction — the case is still pending — would require him to step down.
His challengers include John E. Bilbury III, Lillie R. Buckner, Randon Gibson, John A. Pettis Jr., Ben T. Robinson and Star Young.
Kelly was first elected in 2007. He said his biggest accomplishment in office has been his efforts to realign and make safer the traffic route near Edwards Elementary School, which had seen considerable traffic from Interstate 35 emptying directly in front of the school. If re-elected, Kelly said he will encourage the development of quality housing in the ward and work to draw positive youth programs to the area.
Bilbury, a 31-year member of the Army reserves, was management operations chief for Boeing’s OKC operation and has served on several community organizations. He said his top priorities would be promoting economic growth, urban renewal and neighborhood safety in the ward.
Buckner, a Ward 7 resident for more than 50 years, has served on a plethora of boards and organizations, such as Voices Organized in Civic Engagement, and was vice-chair of the Fifth District of Oklahoma Democratic Party. If elected, she said she would work to improve park and recreation facilities, transit and infrastructure, and police and fire staffing levels.
Gibson, a retail manager, worked on the first campaign of U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, and was on Gov. Mary Fallin’s inaugural team. He said his first priorities, if elected, would be to work for economic growth in the ward and explore ways to hire additional police officers.
Pettis was born and raised in Ward 7. For the past several years, he has chaired the Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board’s Youth Council and has worked as a political campaign consultant. Pettis said he wants to help attract more businesses and encourage economic development in the community.
Robinson is a 34-year military veteran who served at Tinker Air Force Base before working as the Boeing’s OKC site director and eventually starting his own aerospace consulting firm. He said he wants to add police and fire protection as well as collaborate with the state and OKC public schools to improve and expand educational opportunities in the ward.
Young, a supervisor for the state Department of Human Services, said she would bring a pair of fresh pair of eyes to the city’s political environment. Her top priorities, she said, would be to add police and fire protection to the area and encourage neighborhood associations to become more involved.
If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held April 2.