In a completely unexpected turn of events, Muskogee businessman Bob Coburn filed today for the Muskogee mayoral race. Bob is a cousin of U.S. Senator Tom Coburn. I had the opportunity to interview Bob this afternoon.
According to Coburn, people have been suggesting that he run for quite some time, although it wasn't until just recently that he started taking them seriously. In the past week to ten days, he began to pray about it, and felt that God was leading him to run. Circumstances and people in the past week kept confirming that. Yesterday, he decided to run for mayor.
When asked about his vision for Muskogee, he said that he would like to bring more cohesiveness to the city council through strong leadership. His goal is to work on a list of priorities as a council, and work toward common goals. Coburn said that he will begin to publicly flesh these thoughts out over the coming weeks.
Coburn has vast business experience, having spent about 10 years in manufacturing management with Coburn Optical, and has been involved in retail sales for about 15 years with Coburn Tuxedo's. He also operates four mini-storage facilities in the area, and has extensive commercial and residential properties across the city. He feels that this wide variety of business management is vital to leading the city of Muskogee, and that government should be run more like businesses have to (i.e. efficient, minimal waste, etc).
Bob and his wife of 38 years, Gwen, have attended First Baptist Church of Muskogee for over 25 years, where he is a deacon, Sunday School teacher, and leader in the Men's ministry. He has two children: daughter Jami [Coburn] Divelbiss and her husband Wayne (children Charlie and Carter), and a son, Joey and his wife Mindy [Parks] Coburn (children Kate and Rhett).
Also filing today was Teresa Carol Garris, also for mayor. Currently, only councilor David Ragsdale has drawn an opponent - councilors David Jones, James Gulley and Jim Ritchey have not.
The prospect of a Coburn candidacy excites me, as he is a respected member of the community, and someone with a great deal of business experience, which I feel is needed (and lacking) at City Hall. Stay tuned to this blog for the latest on the 2010 Muskogee mayoral race.