Communication key for Foran

Robert Smith
Jourdan Foran

Jourdan Foran is running a Pawhuska City Council campaign marked by wide-ranging consultation with current officials and the citizenry in general.

Foran, 35, is a native Texan who moved to Pawhuska in 2016. She is currently a regional partnership manager for a Colorado-based nonprofit called Rachel’s Challenge, which seeks to help schools transform themselves into safer, more respectful places for youth. Foran has previously worked part-time for The Pioneer Woman Mercantile and the Salt Creek Marketplace and Gallery.

Foran will be one of three candidates on the ballot next Tuesday in Pawhuska for the Ward 2 City cCouncil seat. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Presbyterian Church and at Calvary Baptist Church. Early voting at the Election Board office is Thursday and Friday, Feb. 7-8, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

All registered voters who live in Pawhuska are eligible to participate. If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one, there will be a runoff April 2 in the general election.

“I think for the most part people just see an opportunity for this town to really thrive,” Foran said in an interview last Friday, when asked what she has learned. This is her first time to seek elective public office. “I think people want to feel like they’re represented.”

Foran said listening carefully and respectfully, with a view toward faithfully representing the views and concerns that her fellow Pawhuskans have shared with her has emerged as a core task for her.

“People seem very curious right now about what’s happening in town,” Foran said, adding residents seem clearly interested in making sure positive changes continue to take place. She said that she thinks it is important for investments in the future of Pawhuska to benefit the community as a whole.

“I’ve been telling people I’m first-generation Pawhuskan,” Foran said. She moved here for the opportunity to work at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile and has continued to seek to play an active role in the community, even though she has moved on to other occupational opportunities. She has served on the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce Board, leads Franklin Covey classes for the Osage Nation at Tri County Tech and is a member of the Pawhuska Schools Leadership Team.

Foran said she has resisted any temptation to set a firm agenda for what she would like to accomplish if elected to the city council.

“Being a rookie, I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes before I even step into my role,” Foran said. She has been taking the time to talk in-depth with people who do have knowledge of the city’s business. She has met twice at some length — perhaps an hour or so each time — with City Manager Larry Eulert and talked with him about specifics of issues the city is confronting. She has also read city council minutes for the period since 2016.

Foran has been meeting and talking with sitting council members, and she has also spent time with Steve Holcombe and Laban Miles, the other two candidates for the Ward 2 seat.

Foran said she favors creating a public comment period during city meetings.

“I think we definitely need to allow for that. I think there is a controlled way of doing that in a respectful manner,” she said. She also thinks settings other than city council business meetings can be used to allow the public to be heard.

Foran spoke of town hall meetings and early morning coffees as potential venues for soliciting public comments, and said she would like to be proactive in communicating with the public.

“I think economic development means more than just helping the businesses develop,” she said, when asked about the topic of economic development. Foran cited investing in better, safer schools and investing in the local hospital as examples.

Also in the area of economic development, she said that she supports improved communication between city officials and the Chamber of Commerce board to make sure the Chamber is meeting clearly communicated expectations for its performance. She emphasized the importance of face-to-face communication among the parties.

Economic development should include the input of a lot of entities — such as the City Council, the Osage Nation, the Chamber of Commerce, the Merchants Association and the Board of Education, she said. Desires and expectations need to be clearly communicated, she said.

Foran said she also has a concern about the views of city workers, and said some workers have shared their concerns with her. Areas that need to be addressed include training, manpower, equipment, and safety, Foran said.

Another subject about which Foran articulated concern is dealing effectively with blighted properties. She said she has met with the city’s code enforcement officer at some length and thinks problems need to be addressed in both residential and commercial settings.