March 22, 2018
American Legion Post 1
1120 E. 8th St., Tulsa, OK 74120
Contact: Debra Copes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TOWN HALL TO BE HELD AT AMERICAN LEGION POST 1
CANDIDATES FOR TULSA COUNTY ASSESSOR TO SPEAK
American Legion Post 1 in Tulsa invites the community to a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:00 p.m. Tulsa County Assessor candidates, Byron Burke, Darren Gantz and John Wright will share their visions and will be available to hear your concerns and answer your questions.
American Legion Post 1 is proud to continue its tradition of supporting democracy and facilitating community engagement.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATES:
Born and raised in Tulsa, Byron Burke graduated from Edison High School and Oklahoma University with a degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance and he served six years in the Oklahoma Air National Guard.
Byron has been a member of The International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) for over twenty-five years – the internationally recognized leader in innovation, education and research in this specialized field. Byron served on the Tulsa County Excise/Equalization Board for 4 years, 2 years as Chairman. Byron has 3 children and a grandchild that live in the area. Byron is a member of Tulsa’s First United Methodist Church. Byron has been involved with Boy Scout Troop One for over thirty years and has been awarded the Silver Beaver Award by the Indian Nations Council.
Byron Burke has enjoyed a forty-four year career in property taxation beginning in the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office in 1974. From an entry level appraisal department position as a real estate measurer and inspector Byron was soon promoted to commercial appraisal. The following year Byron was assigned to work as the field appraiser for the Tulsa County Equalization Board, the body that hears tax protests filed by Tulsa County property owners. That experience working all types of commercial, residential and industrial properties and hearing about specific problems property owners can experience gave Byron a passion for accurate property valuation, limited taxation and helping taxpayers.
After the 1975 Equalization Board session Byron was promoted to Chief Deputy under then-Assessor Wilson Glass. His first assignment as the Assistant Assessor was to complete the 1975 Tax Roll. This project required Byron to work in every department in the assessor’s office setting deadlines to complete the necessary work to produce the tax roll in a timely manner. His time as Chief Deputy gave him an opportunity to work on court cases and legislation that form many of the laws and practices within Oklahoma today.
In 1977 Byron started a private property tax consulting practice to provide Real Property and Personal Property tax services to property owners. The firm grew into a nationwide firm representing property taxpayers in all fifty states and Canada. Byron sold his company to Ryan LLC in 2013 and today he serves as Director of Ryan’s Tulsa Office. Ryan is the world’s largest property tax practice with sixty-six offices spread across the world.
“It is time to give back to our wonderful community,” Byron said. “I would like to bring my knowledge and experience to the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office to implement the best practices I have witnessed working in hundreds of taxing jurisdictions throughout the United States. With a modern property tax system we can increase our local funding to schools and county services. With Truth in Millage (TRIM) we can work to reduce tax rates and save taxpayers money while broadening our property tax base.”
A successful businessman and lifelong conservative Republican Darren Gantz is a 5thgeneration Oklahoman. An American traditionalist by nature, Darren has a strong commitment to defending the right of individual citizens to maintain control over decisions that profoundly impact their lives as opposed to allowing those in positions of power to determine everyone else’s future.
For Darren, core values of integrity coupled with service to others makes him always ready to roll up his sleeves to have a positive impact. In the past that has led him to volunteer his hard work on many fronts. He is known by many for his efforts on behalf of the Christmas Parade, battered women, the homeless shelter and helping to build nature trails. Others know him for his service to his church where he ushered for 5 years and served on multiple church committees including the building committee, the personnel committee, and the hiring committee. His commitment to public safety found him involved in a jail remodel, a law enforcement memorial committee and a jail task force. Many parents with kids the age of Darren and Melissa’s son, know him as a volunteer football, soccer or baseball coach.
As many Republicans will attest, Darren Gantz has kept his sleeves rolled up for years when it comes to building up the conservative cause in Oklahoma. As President of the OSU College Republicans, Darren showed his recruitment skills by expanding participation in the group from 12 members to over 2000. Moving on to Executive Director of the State College Republicans, he started new chapters on 6 college campuses where there had been no chapter. More recently, in 5 years as Chair of the Tulsa Republican Men’s Club, Gantz has worked to increase participation from 8 to over 200 active members. As recognition of his achievements on behalf of the party, the Oklahoma Republican State Party has awarded Darren Gantz 2 Gold Keys and Republicans have had him serve on 5 executive committees.
John A. Wright, currently Chief Deputy for the Tulsa County Assessor, will run for Tulsa County Assessor for the term beginning January 1st, 2019.
“I believe my background, training and experience have best prepared me to provide stable continuity of leadership for this important office that contributes in a large way to the undergirding of the funding for the local schools, Tulsa Community College, Career Technology, and other important community entities,” Wright said.
The county assessor’s core responsibility is to place an accurate market value on all property in the county on an annual basis, Wright said. This value is a factor along with the locally voted millage rates to provide funding for so many community services.
In addition to the Advanced Assessor Certification achieved through the Oklahoma State University Center for Local Government Training, Wright previously served House District 76 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 12 years prior to joining Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel’s executive staff in November of 2010. In the House of Representatives, he chaired the Agency Oversight and Administrative Rules Committee for six years as well as being voted by his colleagues to two terms as Majority Caucus Chairman. Wright served as chairman for two statewide Republican conventions as well as chairman or parliamentarian for numerous Tulsa County GOP Conventions.
The International Association of Assessing Officers has awarded Wright with Accredited Status based on tested classes, continuing education hours as well as years in the profession.
Wright holds an inactive Oklahoma real estate brokers license having been a part of the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors for ten years prior to joining the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office.