Meet your city councilor: Jeannie Cue
A retired nurse and dedicated community volunteer, District 2 City Councilor Jeannie Cue has begun her first term at City Hall. With a passion for local economic development and community building, Cue sat down with TulsaPeople to discuss her goals for 2012 and District 2.
This is your first time to serve on the Tulsa City Council. Tell me a bit about what inspired you to run for office.
Anything I do, I work hard. My husband and I were out knocking on doors because my philosophy on this is, I’m representing District 2 and the people of Tulsa. I’m their councilor, but without their help and teamwork, I can’t be a good councilor. …
I wanted to meet as many people and still want to do that today. When I knocked on doors, I gave them two promises, but I wanted two promises back. I promised I would always return their phone calls and be there at their house if they needed me. But please, they’ve got to promise … to let me know of what problems are going on in their neighborhood and how they feel about things that are happening in our city because without their input, I can’t represent them.
The second thing I need from them is (to) get involved. Get involved with their neighbors and their community neighborhood association so they can know what the other people in the area feel.
What did you hear from those you represent as to what they wanted you to try to do?
With the council, with the mayor?
With the mayor. Everyone at City Hall. Not always to agree but to do it in a respectful way.
What do you want to accomplish during your two-year term?
I hope for more economic development and more jobs in Tulsa. We work at showing the people what a wonderful city we have. We have wonderful parks here; we want to continue to develop them. Continue with repairing our streets; we have a lot of things going on with our streets. We have a lot of sidewalk and handicapped projects going on, and that‘s very important.
I’m a Route 66 and a river fan. I was the chairman of the Route 66 Village on Southwest Boulevard. We just applied for a byways grant that the mayor was kind enough to sign off on. We could possibly win — we have as good a chance as anyone — which would be about $1 million. (The city applied for a $950,000 National Scenic Byways grant through the Department of Transportation, which would provide the funds to build an interpretive center and multi-modal improvements on Southwest Boulevard between 25th and 41st streets, according to David Simmons, a planner in the city’s planning and economic development department. The mayor, along with a number of civic groups, wrote letters of support for this grant. Simmons expects to learn whether the city will be awarded this grant sometime this summer.)
What would that grant provide?
That would build handicapped restrooms. That would make frontage, build parking, just improve and add to what we have there now. … People from all over the world come there. We are starting a book of e-mails from people all over the world so we can encourage more people to come to Tulsa. We are kind of the center of Route 66 and we have not really gotten involved in that. Blake (Ewing, District 4 councilor) is very interested in it, so he and I plan on working together. You know, it runs right through his area, so we want Route 66 in Tulsa to be known.
You mention you’ve been involved in a number of nonprofit groups and community initiatives in your district. How did these roles prepare you for your new job as city councilor?
I was on the Tulsa Sales Tax Overview Committee for four and a half years here at City Hall and I was on the Southwest Tulsa Planning Commission, and I know that has prepared me. … Until you volunteer for something here at City Hall, you don’t really, I think, understand a lot of the workings of what’s going on. There’s a lot of wonderful people that volunteer and give their time, and it’s what makes this community a great community.
Tell me what it’s like to step into office.
It’s been a learning experience. Unless you’re like David Patrick (District 3 councilor), who’s been here before, it is a little intimidating. But there’s a lot of good staff that gives you a lot of good information. You get to meet with each of the groups, understand them, and I think when you do that, it gives you more of a relationship. With public works, with finance, you need to know something that’s going on (and) you feel a lot more comfortable … but there is still a lot to learn.
What do you consider the biggest needs in District 2 right now?
One of my projects now is a streetlight at 61st and Yorktown. McClure Elementary School has grown over the last several years from 600 to 700 kids (as of Oct. 1, enrollment at McClure was 613, according to Tulsa Public Schools), and then there is Metro (Christian Academy) that sits back behind, so you try to pull out of Yorktown onto 61st and … it’s a real concern for children. … Yorktown is a busy street and 61st is an arterial street that is very busy. People are going to work; you’re dropping off that many children. I think that’s one of my priorities.
The group that is working with the Shoppes on North Peoria, I’ve met with them and I hope to get them in the district to (review) the Crystal City area and 61st and (South) Peoria area so they can give us some advice on how to revitalize those areas because they are two big concerns. … The Crystal City area and the 61st and South Peoria area have a lot of needs and concern for growth and development. There’s a lot of area there with good potential for economic development.
TYPros worked with the Pearl District last year and we were awarded their help this year. They… award different areas of need and Red Fork has won that this year, so we’re hoping they will come in and give some great ideas to the Red Fork area.
I have a wonderful district; it’s a diverse district, but each area has its own needs, so I hope to work with the people on both sides of the river. We have Tulsa Hills that is growing and I’m just thrilled to death. ... We’ve got a lot of things we hope to develop along the river. There are some monies available that we hope to (use to) continue the trails along River Parks.
… There are just so many exciting things happening in Tulsa, we have to bring in more employers and keep the employers we have. So that’s one of my top priorities.
What makes District 2 unique and why is it a place you want to represent?
We have Route 66. We have the river. We have Oral Roberts University that is a worldwide attraction. … Our area, District 2, we have economically some of the lower-income areas but (also) some of the more affluent areas.
We have a lot of good people working at Eugene Field, a lot of good people working at McClure School. Even though schools have their own school board, the activities of the school affect the city. We want to keep the area clean and crime free and improve it.
How can Tulsans get to know District 2 and its citizens better?
No. 1, any time they call, I will gladly give them a tour. I’m very proud of our district. We hope, and it has been talked about, that as a group of councilors we will tour each district. … I’m excited to visit every area because there are needs in every area of Tulsa.
What are some of the issues people have been e-mailing you about since you’ve taken office?
It’s the big topic.
Water and trash are the big issues right now that are concerning all of us. We want the best — the best rates, the best service — and personally, in my opinion, I want Tulsans. … My prayer is that a Tulsa firm will be our carrier. Nothing against anyone else — I just like our money to stay here. But we do want to get the best service for our money, and we’ve been blessed over the last 30 years. (Tulsa Refuse Inc. has been the city’s residential trash hauler for 32 years. According to reports, the city’s trash board will award a bid to one of six companies soon. The contract will begin July 1.)
What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend in Tulsa?
With my grandbabies. We go the museums, we shop. Justice for Girls is their favorite at Tulsa Hills. I have a 4-, 6-, 9- and an 11-year-old, who lives in Denver. She doesn’t get to go as much.
I have one grandson, but he’s 13, so he’s more into his uncles. … We do a lot of shopping. We made cookies and candies for the holidays. Grandma has someone to take to get their nails done and we like to go eat.
What do you think is Tulsa’s best-kept secret?
District 2! Tulsa Hills, the Route 66 Village. Because it’s new, people really have not had the chance to get over there. A lot more people are going. Right now we just have the trains and oil derrick, but we are gradually building. It’s going to be a national, worldwide place to visit.
… We have as many people that visit from out of the country as from here in America. We are kind of the center, so we really need to focus on that. We have a lot of beautiful things, and I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been to Venice, Paris, Hong Kong, but to me the Arkansas River is as pretty as any of them.
What’s your favorite Tulsa restaurant?
If it’s in District 2, I try to stay in that district, but I do love the downtown area and Joe Momma’s Pizza. Until I had Blake’s pizza, I was not a big pizza eater. … Tulsa has so many fine restaurants, I can’t even name one. And we do eat out a lot, so we switch from restaurant to restaurant — mainly if it’s in Tulsa and Tulsa gets the sales tax.
Is there a place you like to do work — checking and responding to e-mails, things like that?
I actually sit in my office and do that. It’s quiet in there. I try to respond to every e-mail, so sometimes, with situations that are going on now, there are days I get 200 e-mails a day, so it takes sometimes a little while to respond. My work now is responding to every e-mail I receive, or if someone calls me on the phone, I’m always glad to listen or talk or go out and meet with them.
District 2 Councilor Jeannie Cue and Mayor Dewey Bartlett will hold a City Hall in Your Neighborhood meeting Monday, Feb. 20, at the Oral Roberts University Mabee Center Conference and Banquet Center, 7777 S. Lewis Ave. An information resource fair begins at 5:30 p.m., with Bartlett and Cue speaking and answering questions at 6 p.m.
City Hall in Your Neighborhood Meeting Schedule
Feb. 6, District 4, Central Library, 400 Civic Center, Aaronson Auditorium
Feb. 20, District 2, ORU Mabee Center, 7777 S. Lewis Ave.
March 5, District 3, McClure Park Recreation Center, 7449 E. Seventh St.
March 26, District 7, Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St., Frossard Auditorium
April 24, District 8, Peggy V. Helmerich Library, 5131 E. 91st St.
April 30, District 9, Whiteside Park Community Center, 4009 S. Pittsburg Ave.
May 14, District 6, Martin Regional Library, 2601 S. Garnett Road