Tahlequah voters earlier this month elected Suzanne Myers, Relator and Northeastern State University retiree, to represent them for the next four years, and she’s already been jotting down some ideas.
Myers was born in Fort Smith and graduated from Altus High School. She immediately worked in retail and attended Westark for a year before she transferred to NSU in Tahlequah.
“I came to Tahlequah in the fall of 1979 and enrolled at NSU at that time. Several years later, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and soon after earned my Master’s Degree in College Teaching in 1993,” Myers said.
She said she had the best college experience and hopes every freshman and transfer student could share the same.
She worked at the Sears Catalog Store, as well as the Office of Student Affairs, during her time in college.
Myers obtained her real estate license in December 2006, when she came to a crossroads in her professional career.
“What do you do ‘in the real world,’ as opposed to the higher education world, that can utilize the experiences I have had in the professional world for 30-plus years? The bottom line, in my NSU career was the sheer joy that came from helping people. Helping first-time students get over the fear of college. Encouraging a 45-year-old displaced worker their dream of being a social worker can be obtained, even at 45 years old. Assuring a family their only child would be fine at a four-year regional university, we would do our best to ensure their safety and comfort level,” Myers said.
Myers can still help people even in her career as a real estate agent, which is her ultimate goal.
“Whether they are selling and moving from Tahlequah, or for career or retirement, they are moving to Tahlequah, I can help answer all their questions and help guide them with their decision-making. It is all about people. Always has been. Always will be,” she said.
Myers said running for a political office wasn’t on her radar, but that changed when she began talking to city employees and community leaders. She said it was apparent that communication, compassion, appreciation, and collaboration were areas she felt strongly about and perhaps needed addressing.
She said she will begin focusing on those aspects of city government as soon as she is sworn in as mayor May 1.
“I believe there are hired and elected officials in our community who are eager to continue to do their jobs, share their thoughts and vision with others who share the same outlook and optimism. I plan to work with everyone to let them do their jobs and explore options for continued growth and ways of making our community the best it can be,” she said.
Myers has been meeting with staff and community leaders and citiznes and asking questions, while listening to ideas and suggestions.
“There are some issues that seem very pressing to our citizens, and I need to determine what has been said and documented. [There’s] so much to evaluate and learn! There are a few positions vacant at the city, and I would like to see us advertise those positions and attract qualified applicants who want to be a part of a team that will be improving the quality of life in Tahlequah,” Myers said.
While the job and duties of Tahlequah’s mayor may be part-time, it’s evident that anyone who sits in that chair devotes more time and energy to the role. Myers, who works with Century 21 Wright Real Estate, said she she’s fortunate to work with a supportive company, and she’ll be collaborating with Realtor Jessie Barnard once she takes office.
“Those wishing to utilize my real estate expertise can feel confident that together Jessie and I – as well as others in our company – will make their real estate transaction a priority, and they will benefit from the experience and expertise of both Jessie and me,” Myers said.
Given that the Feb. 14 was Myers’ first election in which she ran a race, she said she was unfamiliar with the process.
“When the numbers of the votes began rolling in, I was not sure what to make of it. I was thrilled with each precinct report, but nervous for the next one to be read. I am thrilled. I am so humbled. I am confident this is a role I can do well in, but everyone needs to remember I am one voice at the table, and it will truly take a village,” she said.
During some presentations while campaigning, Myers said she offered a seat at the table for those with work or life experiences in which they could share for community and leaders to consider.
“I meant that; please reach out to declare your interest and eligibility for the ‘Mayor’s Draft.’ Tahlequah needs and wants to hear your voice,” she said.
The mayor-elect is guaranteeing how decisions will be made after information is gathered, sorted, and discussed.
“Please reach out and become involved. You are valuable and we want to see you involved and engaged in the next four years,” Myers said. “I will work hard for this community and want to be very proud of the work we are able to accomplish as a leadership team and members of this great community.”