At-Large Election Preview: William Vaughn


By John Dobberstein, Editor

This is one of a series of Q&A articles for each Broken Arrow City Council candidate brought to you by the Broken Arrow Sentinel.

Will Vaughn, a nurse practitioner and retired Broken Arrow firefighter, says he’s learned a lot about local politics since his loss four years ago.

Vaughn ran for the at-large seat in 2019 – which was also a three-way race – but was not successful.

Vaughn was endorsed by the Broken Arrow Firefighters Association in 2019 and has the organization’s endorsement again in 2023.


Education: Master’s degree

Current occupation: Nurse practitioner, retired firefighter

Endorsements: Broken Arrow Firefighters Assn.

Q: What motivated you to run for city council, or to seek re-election? What have you done over the last 4 years that shows you are qualified to be a city councilor?

Vaughn: I’ve always had the passion to serve and help people, as I spent nearly 20 years on the Broken Arrow Fire Department (BAFD) with several publicized life-saving calls. When I ran 4 years ago I wasn’t as nearly prepared for the political process as I thought, but I learned from that experience and believe I’m better prepared. Public Safety is our most important issue. As a retired BA Firefighter and current nurse practitioner, I believe those qualifications serve the citizens well as I push for increased public safety.

Q: What would be your 3 biggest priorities for Broken Arrow if you are elected or re-elected?

Vaughn: My three biggest priorities are public safety, opposing government vaccine and/or mask mandates, and road expansion/improvement.

Q: Would you support funding emergency services through property tax revenue (referred to as public safety district) instead of sales tax revenue as is currently done

Vaughn: Yes, the municipal public safety protection district would allow cities to utilize property tax to help fund public safety. The Oklahoma attorney general has asked the legislature for technical correction that should be completed this session. Then, each municipality can ask their voters to approve such a measure. Given that sales tax can fluctuate radically over time, property tax funding would provide a steadier funding stream and help city leaders plan better for the future. Ultimately it will be decided by the voters, but I definitely support the concept.

Q: Is development of Broken Arrow happening in the best interests of residents as a whole? What should be tweaked or changed, if anything, about how the city is regulating and planning for growth? Do you feel residents have enough say in what happens?

Vaughn: Not really, too many past city councilors had too many conflict of interest issues going as they benefited greatly and used influence to get their projects approved. I’m not a builder or a developer so no conflicts for me. Past bond issue committees seemed to be stacked with appointees linked to those who stood to profit the most. We need homeowners associations to help with placing real residents on some of these committees.

Q: Infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, etc.) is another pressing issue for BA. How would you prioritize the infrastructure needs the city has, and potentially fund them?

Vaughn: A lot of bond money has been wasted changing two-lane arterial roads to three-lane. They do little to keep traffic flowing. Money would be better spent going to four or five lanes and to greatly improve traffic flow. Water supply and delivery will continue to be a challenge in a fast-growing city. Improved water facilities should take precedent over land purchases for city parks. Parks are great but water should come first. Bond revenue from property tax should keep up with demand. Raising property tax would be a last resort.

Q: Do you feel the city is utilizing TIF districts properly? Are there too many, or not enough?

Vaughn: Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts have their purpose, as they can be used to spur economic growth. But they should not be more than 3-5 years, and the school system should be included on the discussion as it could impact their revenue stream.

Q: Nearly all age demographics in Broken Arrow have increased in recent years EXCEPT young adults. What could the city do to keep more young professionals in Broken Arrow?

Vaughn: Recruit high-paying industries to locate in Broken Arrow, keep up with public safety, continue to work with an outstanding school system, build a bona fide concert and entertainment venue.

Q: Census figures show Broken Arrow is becoming more diverse, with the Hispanic community is growing the fastest. What should be done, if anything, to ensure there is adequate outreach to minority populations in BA so they can have an appropriate voice in governance?

Vaughn: Miscommunication or lack of communication can make simple problems difficult to solve. The city needs to put a stronger emphasis on recruiting and or training bilingual employees that have the greatest exposure to the citizens. The city needs more bilingual employees and it should consider Spanish as the second language on our publications.

Q: The City Council and Muscogee Creek National Council met last year to talk about unity in the community, and they have partnered on some projects. How do you feel the city’s relationship with MCN should be handled in the future, and where would you like to see more collaboration or communication?

Vaughn: The Creek Nation is a federally recognized tribe. For years city hall provided a cold reception to their existence. The city shouldn’t have waited for the McGirt decision to try and play nice. I’m glad they are trying to partner with the tribe but it’s long overdue.

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