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Ward 6: Council Candidate Profiles

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News- City of Lawton News- City of Lawton

Programming Note: 7News is profiling all candidates running for the Lawton City Council. We continue on Wednesday, with a look at the two candidates running for the Ward 7 council seat. 

LAWTON, Okla._ The race to become the next councilor for Ward 6 in Lawton has drawn considerable interest; there are six candidates running for one open spot.

The Ward 6 councilor represents city residents who live west of 67th Street, from Rogers Lane to Lee Boulevard.

Cherry Phillips has lived in Lawton for 45 years and for the past 11 has owned and operated Fit for Life. She’s a personal trainer for older adults. She says the city has a lot to offer but there are areas needing improvement.

“We have good schools; we just need to build on our school system,” says Phillips. “I think we have come to a point here in Lawton that we need to take the next step."

One of her five competitors is Sean Fortenbaugh. The army brought Fortenbaugh to Lawton 17 years ago. He’s now the owner of two pizza shops in town and is confident his business experience will help contribute to the city's future.

“Being in business you have to worry about what's going on right now, but I also need to be looking at one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now…” says Fortenbaugh. “I think the council could benefit from that planning ahead and knowing where we're going in the future.”

Michael Baxter is running for council for the fourth time. He sat on the council before, from 2000-2003, and he credits himself as part of the team to make the Southeast Water Treatment Plant a reality.

“Last time I ran…I did a lot of things for parks…this time we're in a little different boat,” says Baxter. “The gang population is up 800 percent. That's not good."

A self-proclaimed problem solver, Robert Weger says the Lord called him to Lawton 17 years ago to lead the Bible Baptist Church, where he serves as pastor. Weger is hoping he can lead the city in a positive direction in the areas of public safety and economic development.

“Correct what is lacking and continue with what is working...I don't just want to name the problems; I want to solve the problems,” says Weger.

Dale Copley is also vying for the open seat. Copley is a Vietnam veteran and retired from the Los Angeles Police Department after 13 years of service. For the past 12 years he's worked as a maintenance contractor on post at Fort Sill. He believes his experience in law enforcement could be an asset the council. His top priorities are getting road work completed and holding the chief of police accountable for changes within the department.

“Take care of the police department (and) make sure that the other departments are run correctly,” says Copley.

Frankie Parks Sr. argues that the race for the Ward 6 council seat needs to be centered on curbing the city’s drug problem. Parks served 25 years in the military, had a 20-year career with the United States Postal Service, and he is currently a bus driver for the Lawton Public Schools, where he says he became aware of how close drugs are coming to the city's children.

“If we can stop the drugs from coming into Lawton, we can stop the murdering,” says Parks.

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