Breea Clark finds herself in a runoff race against challenger Larry Heikkila for the right to be Norman’s next mayor.
Both candidates spoke with News 9 about issues such as fighting against the turnpike expansion project, the proposed water utility bill increase and the city's relationship with Norman police.
Clark and Heikkila both believe public safety funding would be their top budget priority upon taking office.
Heikkila said he is strongly against what he calls Clark's decision to "defund the police” and that he will work to increase numbers among Norman law enforcement.
"Whether you want to call it defunding to taking away from the budget," Heikkila said. "We took the best police force in the state, and we demoralized them and took down their numbers."
Clark said she disagrees with this statement.
"The police were never defunded," Clark said. “Since then, I've committed to fully funding the new community services and outreach bureau which I think will help repair the relationship with the police department.”
While she cares about the police department, Clark also added that she cares about other programs as well.
"Besides lying to residents about what's happening," Clark said. "I think it would be fantastic if he (Heikkila) could focus on the many other issues impacting our community.
An issue impacting the community is the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's proposed turnpike expansion project.
Both are strongly against the turnpike expansion, but Heikkila said he has a different approach than Clark.
"What we're doing is working with Senators and talking to department heads and secretaries," Heikkila said. "This is how we're able to change the law to stop eminent domain."
An issue that Clark has been emphasizing is the proposed water rate increase to help establish a stormwater utility for the city and increase efficiencies.
“I do not support a water rate increase for the citizens,” Heikkila said. “The city has not prioritized spending on basic services such as water & sewer & public safety.”
In addition to the mayoral runoff, Norman residents will vote in two other runoffs as well as the proposed water rate increase.
Early voting is now open across Oklahoma ahead of the April 5 election date. Early voting will last through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
You can find your early voting location by clicking here.