By Conor Fellin
Dan Patten, a University of Tulsa alumnus and Student Association’s president during the 2009–2010 school year, entered the race for the District 4 seat of Tulsa City Council on April 15. Patten will be running against incumbent and Blue Ox Dining Group owner Blake Ewing.
The Collegian talked to Patten about the race, his time at TU and his plans for Tulsa.
Patten recalls being an underdog in his race for SA president, when he ran against SA’a former vice president and its chief of staff. Despite this, Patten “ran a good campaign” and won the presidency.
Though he has been involved in student government as far back as he can remember, Patten describes his time with SA as the first time he had to deal with constituents.
“When I ran as SA president, I thought I had a lot of great ideas as to how I wanted the school to be,” Patten said. When he was elected, however, he found that “you have a lot of competing interests, and most everyone has a pretty valid point on why they want something the way it is or the way it should be.”
“I wanted to be president…when I saw Danny Patten’s leadership in that office,” said John Lepine, then a freshman senator who would go on to take the presidency in 2012.
Patten first became involved in local politics when he served as campaign manager for Dewey Bartlett in the most recent Tulsa mayoral election.
“Even though (Bartlett) was speaking at events, a lot of times I was speaking for him,” Patten said, “and I was handling the constituents’ concerns. That was when I was figuring out what it was going to be like running for city councillor.”
Patten is now running for city counsel on a platform of fiscal conservativism, road development and improved public safety.
Patten denied concerns that, as Bartlett’s former campaign manager, he would be “the mayor’s puppet.” When asked how his policy would differ from Bartlett’s, he said, after a short pause, that he would be a little more willing than Bartlett to invest in Tulsa’s future.
Patten commented upon the difficulty of running against Ewing, the incumbent District 4 city councilor and owner of the restaurant conglomerate Blue Ox Dining Group, which among others includes Joe Mamma’s and the Phoenix. However, recalling his tough race to become SA president, Patten expressed confidence in his ability to win.
To pull that off, Patten plans to spend his time door-to-door campaigning in the months between now and the Nov. 4 election.
When asked if he had any advice for the newly incumbent Michael Mancini, Patten kept it simple. “Have fun,” he said. “Being SA president was one of the most fun years of my life.”