Mayoral candidates enjoy friendly competition, share passion for community

Renee Fite/Claremore Progress

Three people who filed for the position of Claremore mayor, from left, are: Scott Savage, Debbie Long, and J.R. Seifried Jr.

Three local residents have filed to vie for the Claremore mayoral post: Debbie Long, Scott Savage and J.R. Seifried Jr.

Long is founder/owner of Promos Advertising and has lived in Claremore more than 35 years. Savage is founder/owner of Promos Advertising has lived in Claremore more than 35 years. Seifried is busy developing Claremore for Casuals full-time and volunteering in the community.

The three were each asked five questions by the Claremore Progress. Their answers appear in alphabetical order. Only minor changes were made to conform with grammatical rules, or may have been pared to meet space limitations.

1. Why do you want to serve the community as mayor?

Long: My passion for Claremore being a great place to live started at a young age. I grew up in Tulsa but spent many summers in Claremore with family. I would think “when I grow up, I want to live in Claremore,” so I did. I moved here when I was in my early 20s. I want to see continued positive growth for Claremore - in housing, retail, restaurants, and jobs, making our city a wonderful place to raise a family and call home. I would be involved in continuing existing plans and implementing new plans to several key issues - training and equipment for our public safety departments, clean drinking water, street maintenance, and electric utilities.

Savage: Forty-nine years ago my wife, Hope, and I chose to make Claremore our hometown. We bought our first house, reared our children and sent them to Claremore Public Schools. We have made lifelong friendships. We have lived a truly blessed life here. I have always felt the need to pay back this great city through civic work. The ultimate payback or thank you would be to serve as Claremore’s mayor.

Seifried: I already spend my waking hours serving the community through the Claremore for Casuals Facebook page, which has allowed me to develop relationships with local business owners and organizations, which in turn has granted me a greater understanding of our community and what’s important to the average citizen. As mayor, I will give those voices a vote on the council, have more opportunities to promote Claremore and help encourage positive change and progress.

2. What makes Claremore a wonderful place?

Long: Claremore has so much to offer with potential to continue developing into an even better city. Sometimes we have things we take for granted. Claremore has a quaint downtown, lake, college, hospital, movie theater, eating/shopping options, several parks, rec center, expo center, mountain bike trail, splash pads, dog park, skateboard park, and more, all within our community and available.

Savage: That’s simple: the people!

Seifried: It’s the people. It doesn’t hurt that we have a historic  downtown right on the mother road, a growing college and industrial sector, and some of the best small businesses around, all set in Green Country, but at the end of the day, it’s absolutely the people.

3. What experience do you have that will lend to being a successful mayor?

Long: Being a business owner for more than 30 years has yielded me a keen insight into running and managing business, possessing decades of accumulated wisdom with regards to managing finances and resources in every economic landscape. Wanting to give back in our community, I have 30-plus accumulative years of volunteering, including 20 years as executive director of Leadership Roger County, Chamber Board member, Rogers County Youth Shelter board member and Lion’s Club, to name a few.

Savage: I have served on our Claremore City Council for eight years, six of which were spent on the finance committee. I am currently the Chairman of the Rogers County Public Facilities Authority. I serve on the City & County owned Heritage Hills Interlocal Cooperative. I have owned and managed several different businesses including banks, cable TV, construction, cultured marble and a soccer franchise.

Seifried: I’m a team player who puts others first and takes pride in being a good listener. My recent level of community involvement since I’ve returned to Claremore ,and all of the conversations I’ve had with the people here in that time will definitely be a boon to my time serving, if elected. From being a church youth group leader to fraternity social chair, to restaurant server and later manager, combined with my time being a stay-at-home parent, I’ve learned that teamwork truly is what makes the dream work.

4. What are some basics about you, like family information?

Long: I’ve been married to Eric Long for 25 years; we have two adult married kids and five grandkids.

Savage: Hope and I have been married for almost 52 years. Our son has three girls, while our daughter has two boys for total of five grandchildren. I grew up and graduated high school in Blackwell, Oklahoma. I graduated from OSU with a Bachelor’s degree in Business with a major in Finance. While living in Arizona, I was asked to come to Claremore in 1974 to interview for the job of vice president at Rogers County Bank. Hope and I decided that Claremore was perfect: not too big, not too small, and had very friendly people so we moved here. It was the best decision we ever made.

Seifried: I am divorced with three kids in California, and in a serious committed long-term relationship with plans to marry in the future. I moved back to Claremore in 2021 after living in Southern California a little more than a decade. I am 42 years old, and hope to never again move away. As far as I can tell, I’m the fourth generation in my line to live in Claremore, and hope that someday my kids will join me here. I am not a member of any denomination, but attend services regularly here in town. I have in recent years changed my affiliation to independent due to the ugliness in two party politics in the United States and believe there has to be a better way forward. I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I believe everyone deserves to be represented in a way that best serves the whole without leaving anyone behind. I enjoy walking, music, people, and seeing the beauty in everyday life. I am at my core a dreamer, and maybe the most radical candidate to run for this position.

5. What else would you like citizens to know?

Long: If elected mayor, I welcome the opportunity to make Claremore an even better place for both the present and future generations.

Savage: I am very proud of Claremore’s accomplishments during the last eight years that I have served on our city council. Six of those eight years I served on the finance committee. After our last state audit we were told that Claremore was one of the most financially stable cities in Oklahoma. I intend to see that we remain solidly in that position. I plan to follow the “Claremore 2040 Comprehensive Plan” that was designed during my tenure. I advocate that we follow through with our plan to invest substantially each year in our infrastructure, specifically maintaining streets and pavement, upgrading electric substations and replacing old cast iron pipes in our water distribution system. We currently have 52 infrastructure projects in different stages from design to construction. I plan to continue to push these forward. I will also insure that we pursue our plans for a fourth fire station and a police department gun range. I would like the citizens to know that we currently have an exceptional city manager as well as 16 well run city departments with great department heads. I am proud of both our police force and our fire department. Claremore has a close working relationship with our county commissioners which benefits not just our city but all of Rogers County. All of these people are essential to our well-being and deserve to be recognized and thanked

6. What else would you like citizens to know?

Seifried: I’d like the good people of Claremore to know that I’m ready and willing to serve them, and that we’re all in this together, but they have to do their part by becoming informed and showing up to vote, even if it’s for one of my opponents. I’m pro small business and industrial development as a means of generating the revenue we need to make advancements on our infrastructure. I am not seeking any endorsements or accepting any campaign contributions, and am beholden to no special interest group or cause, other than that of the betterment of the public in general.

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