Mayor Ed Bolt: City and tribe – aligned in purpose

Mayor Ed Bolt
Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt

For far too long, an unnecessary and costly conflict between the City of Shawnee and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation has done little to improve our community. In fact, it has held us back and prevented us from attracting business and leveraging our joint potential. 

On September 20, the Shawnee City Commissioners unanimously passed a measure to formally de-annex land south of the North Canadian River and cease ongoing legal proceedings with the Nation. This action frees both the City and the Tribe from the gridlock that has stifled progress and opens the door for continued collaboration. Additionally, the Commissioners authorized a continued cooperation agreement with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

I was honored to join Tribal Chairman Barrett on Tuesday to exchange gifts and publicly sign this joint resolution and cooperation agreement, which will allow both entities to eliminate any duplication of efforts and focus on important community projects, such as water system improvements, fire protection, housing, transportation, improving public facilities and more. The agreement is a high-level, mutual framework that will steer all future agreements, creating a path forward to improve the quality of life for all Shawnee residents, and making the community more attractive for economic investment – positioning Shawnee for future growth.

This was an historic moment for our community that signified the Tribe and City are ready to move forward – aligned in purpose. As we resolved to set aside past differences and move forward in a spirit of mutual respect, the City and the Nation launched a new initiative called Shawnee Aligned. Shawnee Aligned will serve as a platform for shared projects and collaborations between our two governments.

Together, we make Shawnee more prosperous and attractive for economic development, federal grant programs and incoming residents. As neighbors, we benefit from each other’s successes. This positive and productive government-to-government relationship will strengthen our economies and improve the quality of life for our shared citizenry and beyond.

As Chairman Barrett and I signed a joint resolution together on Tuesday at the CPN Cultural Heritage Center, I was moved by the last two lines as they were read aloud by our Ward 3 Commissioner Travis Flood.

“WHEREAS, the City and the Nation stride ahead in the confidence that they will accomplish greater things in harmony than they could ever envision in former discord; and

WHEREAS, this agreement will bring certainty, respect, acceptance, and a commonality of purpose that ushers in a new era of partnership.”

In the coming weeks and months, CPN and City of Shawnee staff will be working together to identify ways to collaborate and eliminate duplications of effort. Updates on progress and joint projects will be posted to the website.

The future is now even brighter for the community of Shawnee. I am confident that TOGETHER we will accomplish great things.

Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt graduated from Mustang High School and attended The University of Oklahoma as a Political Science Major.  He has been a Shawnee resident since 2002.   He worked 29 years for AT&T, where his final assignment was as a Regional Sales Manager for State Government and Higher Education.  Since retirement in 2008, Bolt started his own photography business in Shawnee and opened a photo studio and art gallery on East Main Street.  He bought a condemned building and completely rebuilt it in an effort to help revitalize the downtown area.  Bolt is very active in a number of local civic organizations.  He serves as Community Coordinator for Safe Events for Families, Vice Chair for Historic Shawnee Alliance, and Secretary for Visit Shawnee Inc. He and his wife, Phyllis, attend St. Benedict Catholic Church and Wesley United Methodist Church.