On November 30, 2022, outgoing City Councilors were recognized for their hard work and efforts over the course of their previous terms. Councilors were given commemorative plaques as a token of appreciation. Outgoing Councilors include Kara Joy Mckee of District 4, Mykey Arthrell-Knezek of District 5, and Connie Dodson of District 6.
Councilor Kara Joy McKee
The Tulsa City Council honors Kara Joy McKee for her service as the City Councilor for the citizens of District 4 and the City of Tulsa.
From the moment she decided to run for the Tulsa City Council, Kara Joy McKee had a heart for the citizens of Tulsa, especially for the diverse District 4 community. Listening and clearly communicating to those in her district was a priority throughout her two terms in office. She rallied to have the voice of each neighbor heard, no matter how big or small the topic, bringing each point of view together to make a difference in local government.
Many pursuits captured the attention of Councilor McKee. Among those she advocated for are Community Response Teams and additional mental health services for citizens. She commended and supported those citizens that worked to provide services to the unsheltered. At nearly every Council meeting, she highlighted local community events by sharing them with the public. She also routinely endorsed free transit during the opening of the Bus Rapid Transit line and at other times to reduce economic burden on citizens and increase ridership.
Councilor McKee was instrumental in the development of the City Council’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. This included a historic resolution intended to “repair the harms done to black Tulsans over the past century and to set us on a path to a united, thriving Tulsa for the next century.”
One of Councilor McKee’s most visible contributions to District 4 are the bicycle lanes downtown and in other areas of her district. She pushed for the creation of a Tribal Nations Relations Committee that enhanced the interaction of the City Council with local tribal governments. She formed the Neighborhood Association Leadership Alliance to connect neighborhood leaders in her district. She was one of the Co-Chairs of the Council’s Urban and Economic Development Committee, and also served on the Route 66 Commission, INCOG Board, and the Downtown Coordinating Council. Councilor McKee diligently worked during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide accurate information to citizens and, using her sewing talents, made and distributed face masks for citizens who could not afford them.
Councilor McKee is the first City Councilor, in the history of Tulsa, to give birth while holding office. She embraced both motherhood and her government position, regularly bringing her infant daughter, Tsula, to meetings. She used her experience as a working mother to advocate for local mothers and to establish the city as a breastfeeding-friendly environment by sponsoring a resolution.
“Feel the fear and do it anyways” is an ethos that propelled her work in bringing people together and showing courage in her convictions. Councilor McKee is driven by her desire to have her constituents heard, “even those who are not comfortable voicing their concerns.”
The City of Tulsa, the Tulsa City Council, Council Staff, and the citizens of Tulsa are grateful to Kara Joy McKee for her fervent commitment to Tulsa.
Councilor Mykey Arthrell-Knezek
The Tulsa City Council honors MyKey Arthrell-Knezek for his service to the residents of Council District 5 as their City Councilor.
Known among his friends and neighbors as someone with a true servant's heart, Councilor Arthrell-Knezek came into office during the uncertainty of a pandemic. Not one to shrink in the face of adversity, he quickly found himself working to help address a public health emergency with new colleagues, who also found themselves in unknown territory.
Unafraid of tough and uncomfortable conversations, Councilor Arthrell-Knezek helped complete the work of the City Council’s Trust and Accountability Working Group by developing strategies to build trust between the Tulsa Police Department and the citizens they serve. He also ensured TPD was adequately funded by approving some of the largest pay increases in recent history. He was consistent in his commitment to ensuring transparency in government and often reminded his colleagues of the importance of doing their work in the public sphere, not just to have their efforts seen, but to also be available for the feedback that would inevitably come.
During his time on the Council, Councilor Arthrell-Knezek served as chair of the Public Works Committee, was a member of the Route 66 Commission, and participated as a board member of the Indian Nations Council of Governments. He was also an advocate and supporter of the Tulsa Race Massacre Resolution, efforts to enforce minimum habitability standards for rental units, and worked to support and protect neighborhood quality of life. In federal relief funds, Arthrell-Knezek ensured the work of non-profits were prioritized and advocated for capacity building efforts to increase the number of organizations accessing funds.
If one were to ask his fellow Councilors about Councilor Arthrell-Knezek's greatest asset, they would mention his relentlessly optimistic perspective in all things. Though he credits his parents for helping him learn about serving a community, he has, himself, repeatedly been an example of servant leadership. Whether he was helping at-risk youth, victims of domestic violence and child abuse, or those in need of financial assistance or shelter, Councilor Arthrell-Knezek's two decades of community service helped shape and strengthen the compassion and kindness he brought to the City Council, at a time when they were needed most.
The City of Tulsa, the Tulsa City Council, Council Staff, and the citizens of Tulsa are thankful for MyKey Arthrell-Knezek's commitment to bringing compassion into the decision-making process at City Hall. His time on the Council is an example to everyone that advocacy doesn’t have to be disagreeable to get results.
Councilor Connie Dodson
The Tulsa City Council honors Connie Dodson for her service as a City Councilor for the citizens of District 6 and the City of Tulsa.
As a City Councilor, Connie Dodson was committed to representing her constituents using common sense and efficiency. To enhance the quality of life for all Tulsans, she worked hard to champion first responders, helped pass pay increases and provide funding for much-needed equipment and facility improvements. Through her support of and participation in various events, Councilor Dodson frequently honored the service of veterans in our community. She also served as a Co-Chair of the Council’s Urban and Economic Development Committee, was a member of the Route 66 Commission, and participated as a board member of the Indian Nations Council of Governments.
Councilor Dodson was not only passionate about serving the humans of Tulsa, but also the animals, and as part of the Animal Welfare Working Group, she sought creative solutions that would, in her words, “provide animals with the best protection while offering our residents additional options.” These improvements assisted in protecting the safety and welfare of animals and humans, aligned regulations with the zoning code, and updated exemption permits and procedures to improve efficiency.
With her knack for bringing people together, Councilor Dodson advocated for the residents of District 6. She supported the Tulsa Global District from the beginning, which has since become a thriving Main Street program and a diverse center of commerce and economic development. Because of her efforts with the 2016 Vision Tulsa plan, District 6 will have a top-notch recreational center when the improvements at McCullough Park are completed, including a splash pad, additional walking trails, and a BMX pump track.
Councilor Dodson worked hard to connect Tulsa residents with the services they need. She was instrumental in establishing a new Community Health Connection clinic as well as advocating for the new Fire Station 33, both of which will provide East Tulsa with vital resources. During funding allocation discussions, she fought for infrastructure improvements for her community. Her panel town hall meetings often brought City Hall to District 6 on weekends so that citizens could directly interact with those departments providing critical city services.
Embodying her personal motto, “Character grows like a vine, over sorrow and through adversity - it weaves methodically around obstacles and it takes its time,” Councilor Dodson always served thoughtfully, weighing issues carefully to find the best solution. She was not afraid to stand up for what she felt was best for the residents of District 6 and the City of Tulsa.
The City of Tulsa, the Tulsa City Council, Council Staff, and the citizens of Tulsa are grateful to Connie Dodson for her commitment to Tulsa and its future generations.