Larry Heikkila: a conservative Constitutionalist with a vision for Norman
By Shane SmithLarry Heikkila, Norman’s conservative candidate for mayor, expresses his vision for his hometown as simply this: return Norman to its state as a properly functioning, non-partisan municipality, one that takes care of its firefighters, police, and small businesses. A city operating for the taxpaying residents, respecting them, and giving them a voice. This might seem a radical vision indeed, as it departs significantly from the policies of the current mayor and city council. “I would right the ship,” as Larry himself puts it.
I recently caught up with Larry on the campaign trail to see how things were going. “Well, I’m in the thick of it!,” the upbeat candidate expressed to me. He’s been surprised by the enthusiasm. “Voters are motivated and energized. They’re angry. They’ve felt that they don’t have a voice, and I would give them one.”
Larry prefers speaking to smaller crowds, and ideally enjoys meeting voters face-to-face and hearing what they have to say in person. His campaign doesn’t advertise his upcoming speaking engagements primarily because they want to avoid attracting the mobs of left-wing agitators that like to show up in force at conservative gatherings and wreak havoc. A sad reality that conservative and Constitutionalists deal with in today’s America.
What issues are people most angry about? “The treatment of the police force, and the homeless situation,” Larry tells me frankly. He explains that Norman police are stressed, overworked, and underpaid. “We have detectives who are forced to work calls that they shouldn’t have to work because the department is short-staffed. Officers can’t take time off. We’re also down 27 firefighters. That is absolutely unacceptable to me. As mayor, in addition to getting our police force and fire the money it needs to reach the national standard, I would also support a mental health fund for our police and firefighters. They see terrible things, and they should have the support that they need.”
The homeless situation needs to be brought under control, Larry tells me. Voters feel that the way that the homeless situation has been handled has been a complete failure. “The people I meet with feel that the homeless population is being given priority over they themselves.” The result being a growing population of transient homeless who arrive in Norman because what they hear about the programs that they can take advantage of.
Norman Police Chief Kevin Foster has expressed his concern about the criminal element within Norman’s homeless population. At a recent city council meeting, Foster explained that Norman has seen an 11% increase in felony crimes committed against residents. He requested that nine police positions be filled to help handle the enormous increase in violent crime taking place. Larry forcefully echoes this sentiment: “Norman residents need to feel safe when they’re at the park, or going out, but many don’t,” because they are accosted by the transient homeless population who are attracted to the generous benefits afforded to them by the city. “Parents need to feel safe with their children when they go out. Women need to feel safe enough to go out alone. We have a duty to protect these people and to provide a safe city for them to live and work in. I certainly want to help the Norman citizens that are in need of help. But I will not tolerate the Norman taxpayer being taken advantage of.” He explained that the reality is that resources are scarce, and they need to go to those in genuine need of help, those who are in crisis, and those who sincerely wish to improve their lives. That would take the form of counseling, and helping them to get back on their feet. But a path out of their situation would be a must.
Larry expressed his disgust and disbelief at the news of vaccine mandates being forced on police and fire departments across the nation by similar liberal mayors. “It should be about choice. What’s so bad about choice?” He regarded it as shameful, and made clear that he would never support such a policy. “I got the shots, but it’s none of my business whether you did or not. Same way with masks. It should be about personal choice, not mandates from government.”
Larry Heikkila, in his own words, seeks to restore sanity and non-partisanship to Norman governance. A municipal local government with no delusions of a Left-wing utopia. A government that protects its citizens from the powerful, outside influences that appear to have gained a foothold in this city. “I think its great to listen to the other side, to hear what they have to say. Nothing wrong with that. But we have a duty to operate the city for the taxpaying residents. We’ve moved very far away from that, and I would bring us back.”
Norman voters will cast their vote on February 8th, 2022.
Shane Smith is a pro-liberty writer based in Norman, Oklahoma. He blogs at: RepublicReborn.com, and can be reached at: email@example.com