By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a three-part series profiling candidates for the upcoming Midwest City municipal elections. The Beacon will highlight one race each week leading up to the Feb. 8 election for Mayor, Ward 3 and Ward 5.
Allen looking to continue work in a third term
Christine Allen wanted to bring positive change to the north side of Midwest City.
The best way to make it happen, she believed, was through public office. In 2014, she was elected to the city council as the Ward 5 council member.
Allen said she’s spent the past eight years pushing for that change in Midwest City through economic development, improvement to public parks and services and communication with residents.
“I have a good relationship with my peers and that’s one reason why we’ve been able to get things done,” she said.
Allen is seeking a third term as Ward 5 City Council member. She will face challenger Sara Bana in the Feb. 8 election.
Allen has played a lead role in improvements to Mid-America Park. The city plans to upgrade the park with new amenities and improved access from Midwest Blvd. as part of the 2018 general obligation bond.
She also pushed for development of the Boys and Girls Club. The program initially started at Telstar Elementary School and was moved to Steed Elementary after Telstar closed. The program was recently restarted at the former Telstar building as well as Crutcho School.
“I have been very committed to my constituents for the past seven years and they trust me,” she said. “My number is out there. If they have a problem, they let me know.”
Allen also touts her efforts in improving police and community relations. She was involved with the Police and Community Trust initiative that brought together local law enforcement and the community to discuss best practice for law enforcement and policing.
If reelected, Allen says she will continue to push for more economic growth and accessibility in Ward 5 and throughout the city. She pointed to the plans for Soldier Creek Industrial Park located on NE 23rd St. near Air Depot Blvd. as well as trail and sidewalk improvements.
Allen said representing Ward 5 presents many unique challenges. The area includes three different school districts and has a greater need for social services.
“Representing Ward 5 is like a full-time job. There are so many things that need to get done. You need someone that can connect with all these different groups and have relationships with key players to make a difference.”
Allen grew up in Oklahoma City and has lived in Midwest City since 1995.
She is a U.S. Army veteran and served during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. During that time, she primarily assisted in the Patriot Missile program.
After her service, Allen worked with the National Association of Black Veterans helping veterans receive benefits. She was also active with political groups and was a supporter of former Sen. Connie Johnson.
In an effort to promote change and economic development on Midwest City’s north side, Allen ran for the Ward 5 seat in 2014. She won a three-way race against incumbent councilman Wendell Boucher and challenger Cedric Ford. In 2018, she ran unopposed.
Allen has also served as chairperson for the Midwest City Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast Committee, Municipal Authority Board, Memorial Hospital Authority and Special Economic Development Authority.
Bana seeking be a new advocate for Ward 5
Sara Bana is no stranger to activism.
As a public interest advocate, she pushes for civil and human rights on a daily basis. Much of that work includes advocating for legal and criminal justice reform and policies that improve the lives of marginalized groups.
Bana is looking to advocate for those in her hometown of Midwest City as a member of the city council. She is running for the Ward 5 seat on the council. She will face incumbent councilwoman Christine Allen in the Feb. 8 election.
“My work is so fulfilling and keeps me busy but I’ve always been interested in city council and thought about running before,” she said. “Midwest City is such an incredible community and I’d be humbled and honored to serve residents.”
Bana says she would like to see more economic development, better public transportation and safer neighborhoods in Ward 5 as well as improved mental health treatment in the community.
“Midwest City is really growing and that’s something we should applaud. But it feels like Ward 5 has been left behind with all of the development,” she said.
Bana wants to see the city attract more businesses on the north side that would offer jobs, goods and services for residents.
“I’d like to see more small businesses that people need,” she said. “A grocery store between NE 10th and NE 36th Street would help a lot. And I’d like to see some corporations that offer higher paying jobs come here.”
She said the city also lacks proper public transportation and sidewalks to help residents who may not have their own transportation.
“There are some socioeconomic gaps here with more people walking for their needs whether it’s to the grocery store or to work than other wards in the city,” she said.
Bana is a first generation Iranian-American. Her family migrated to the United States when she was 10 years old. They raised their family in Del City. Bana said she developed passion for politics at a young age.
“I had family that was fleeing after the Iran-Iraq War. I was pretty young but I remember the military tanks and bombers,” Bana said. “At a young age, I became aware of the impact of politics on human life.”
She has lived in Midwest City for more than a decade. She’s been active in several local groups including the Midwest City Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast Committee, Midwest City