LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - In less than two weeks, voters in Lawton's Ward 7 will head to the polls to select someone to represent them on the city council.
V. Gay McGahee has been serving as the Ward's City Councilwoman for the last 22 months after stepping in to replace the Late Stanley Haywood, who died in September of 2015.
McGahee was born and raised in Lawton. She currently works as the Office Manager at Galilee Baptist Church, and as a women's counselor at the Comanche Nation Family Assistance Center.
Onreka Johnson is running against McGahee. Johnson was born in Lawton but moved away when she was young. She moved back nearly 20 years ago.
She is the executive director of a program for homeless youth in Lawton. She also volunteers at the Unity Next Community Center and is a behavioral health case manager with Life Works Counseling.
While filling in for the late Councilman Stanley Haywood, McGahee said she has learned a lot
"I've gained some experience and knowledge, I've been able to implement some successful outcomes of issues and I'd like to be able to continue to serve this community, to better this community," McGahee said.
McGahee said just a few of those accomplishments include dedicating Pennsylvania Avenue to Haywood and solving drainage issues on 52nd street.
Johnson said because of her work in the community, she knows what the people want and can step in to lead them.
"I'm starting to hear a lot of the concern and see them first hand especially here at the community center and also being out in the street with our outreach program. I feel that passion I have that I do in the community to bridge that over to the seat and be a true voice for the people," Johnson said.
Both Johnson and McGahee have very specific things they would like to do if elected.
"The first thing I would like to change is really the outlook that everyone has on Ward 7. Boosting morale with the citizens there, getting them engaged, first of all educating on the system and the process, building the bridges between the city government and the residents that's one thing as I was out walking and knocking on doors and talking to people, there's a big gap there and I want to close that gap," Johnson said.
"We have bad streets throughout the ward and throughout the city, Sheridan Road between Lee and Bishop Road really is one of my main concerns as streets go. Then just helping the citizens with the issues they call me on. I get a lot of calls and they're generally just the concerns going on right outside their doors," McGahee said.
Both candidates said being elected to city council would mean the world to them and believe they are truly the best candidate for the job.
"I am committed to serving these citizens. I have no hidden agendas, no plans to do anything but help the citizens of Lawton and to better this community," McGahee said.
"I have a clear track record working in the community. I say what I mean and I mean what I say, I will be available anywhere from 24 to 48 hours and will strive for the 24-hour response. I'm available, I'm open and I know I will represent the citizens of Ward 7 the way they want to be," Johnson said.