Oden Grube has been elected to Durant City Council during an election Tuesday, defeating the incumbent and another candidate.
According to election returns, Grube received 54.51 percent, 568 votes, compared to incumbent and Durant Mayor Stewart Hoffman, who received 35.41 percent, 369 votes. Candidate Stephen Jones received 10.08 percent, 105 votes.
Also in Durant, a proposition for a five-percent lodging tax passed with 65.76 percent, 678 votes cast for it compared to 353 votes, 34.24 percent opposed.
Grube may very well be only the city’s second councilwoman. Joyce Northcutt is a name that in recent citizens memory served as councilwoman several years ago.
Councilman Chad Hitchcock said about the voters passing the tax, “It’s a great day for Durant. We are catching up to modern times and doing what other cities are doing to promote tourism. This will help us promote our city. This will show people how wonderful Durant is. They may come here for a baseball tournament, hang out, go to Lake Texoma and stay a few days.”
Hitchcock said the city needs money to promote tourism here. “The first part is to generate funds to market Durant,” he said. “It’s not for infrastructure. It’s to bring people in here. If we bring people in, it puts money in the City’s coffer. That can help the infrastructure.”
The tax will provide funds for enhancing and promoting tourism.
City officials say revenues will be “earmarked” solely for the purpose of encouraging, promoting and marketing of tourism, conventions and events in Durant. The funds will be overseen by a seven-member board to be known as The Durant Tourism Economic Development Authority.
Mayor Stewart Hoffman issued a statement Tuesday after the election. He said, “I wish to give a heartfelt thank you to those who supported me in this election.”
Hitchcock said, “Mayor Hoffman did a great job. He did a great job pointing Durant in the right direction. That being said, I’m looking forward to working with Mrs. Grube. I know she has some great ideas. I’m ready to hear them. I think she’ll be a great addition and the citizens of Durant will be very happy with what she brings to the table.”
Shirley Shepherd, a Grube supporter said, “I feel wonderful. I knew she would win because she is for the citizens of Durant.”
Her husband Johnny Shepherd said, “I feel the personality of the current city council, has gone down hill. The people recognized it and now they’ve got the best person for the job.”
Oden Grube said at her watch party held in downtown Durant, “I’m in shock. I’m very happy and elated. I’m looking forward to working with officials from the City. This election was not about me. It was for the citizens of Durant.”
She’s grateful to her supporters and those who wanted a change.
Grube said, “I’d like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. I will do the best of my ability. I will try to be a good councilwoman and I will do the best for Durant.”
She has plans for the future, but the victory hasn’t quite set in yet.
Grube said, “I have several things in the works. As for the order in which they will happen, I will be meeting with the City Manger Tim Rundel and other officials. We will discuss how we will proceed with things that are important to me.”
In other municipal elections in the county, Billie Hughes was elected to an unexpired term to the Achille Board of Trustees with 28 votes, 65.12 percent, compared to 15 votes, 34.88 percent, for Lynn Chambers.
In Bennington, Rachael Reynolds and Eddy Walley were elected to the board of trustees. Reynolds received 36 votes, 48.65 percent, and Walley received 20 votes, 27.03 percent, whereas Idanel Wright received 18 votes, 24.32 percent. Voters were to choose two out of the three.
Also in Bennington, Emily Hyde and Dewaina Halleck were elected to an unexpired term to the board of trustees. Hyde received 27 votes, 36.49 percent, and Halleck received 26 votes, 35.14 percent, whereas Christie N. Lemons received 21 votes, 28.38 percent. Voters cast ballots for two out of the three.
In Bokchito, Phillip Mark Green Jr., Cathey Wingo Keirsey and Daltan James Bacon were elected to the board of trustees. Green received 43 votes, 30.07 percent. Keirsey received 38 votes, 26.57 percent, and Dalton James Bacon received 25.17 percent with 36 votes. Voters were to choose three out of the four.
Also in Bokchito, Taylor Collins and Jimmie W. Long were elected to unexpired terms on the board of trustees. Collins received 37 votes, 41.11 percent, and Long received 28 votes, 31.11 percent. Rozell Tidwell received 25 votes, 27.78 percent. Voters were to choose two out of the three.
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or [email protected]
Contact Matt Swearengin at 634-2160 or [email protected]