March 31, 2023

Meet our Board Chair: Mayor G.T. Bynum

As the fourth member of his family to serve as Mayor of Tulsa and a sixth-generation Tulsan, calling Tulsa home means a lot to Mayor G.T. Bynum. In the past year, he passed the most comprehensive budget in the  City of Tulsa’s history, celebrated a $132 million commitment from Scheels to build a new sporting goods store in the city, and announced the largest housing endeavor in City history — a half-billion-dollar housing initiative that seeks $500 million in community investment over the next two years to help boost the city’s stock of affordable, transitional, supportive and market-rate housing. His time as Mayor also includes establishing PartnerTulsa and serving as the chair of our Board of Trustees.

For this month’s trustee spotlight, we heard from the Mayor, about his vision for Tulsa and the impact he believes PartnerTulsa can have for years to come.

Q: Why do you serve on the PartnerTulsa board?

First, because I believe its stated purpose of using economic development to create equality of opportunity is crucial for building the kind of city we want Tulsa to be. I also believe the mayor – whoever it happens to be at any given time – has a unique vantage point to offer in broader board discussions and decisions because of the myriad projects the mayor is involved in every day. Lastly, establishing PartnerTulsa is one of the most important things I will do during my time as mayor so it is important to me that I am personally engaged in making sure it is successful.

Q: What current PartnerTulsa project are you most excited about?

Rather than one specific project, my greatest excitement is for the change I know PartnerTulsa will bring about over time by systematizing the use of economic development as a tactic in creating equality of opportunity in our city. That kind of change doesn’t happen in a few years, or in one mayor’s term. It happens over years and decades when we intentionally create systems that prioritize equality of opportunity over and over and over again. PartnerTulsa exists to do that, and the impact will be substantial over time.

Q: What is your vision for Tulsa?

From the day I stepped into office, my vision was to make Tulsa a globally competitive, world-class city. We seek to achieve this through three main pillars: making Tulsa a safe city; making Tulsa a city of opportunity for everyone; and making Tulsa a city of investment in which this generation defines the community we will leave to the next. PartnerTulsa serves as a crucial bridge between the second and third pillars of this broader strategy.

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?

I am the fourth member of my family to serve as Mayor of Tulsa. My great-great-grandfather Robert Newton Bynum served as Tulsa’s mayor from 1899 to 1900 and founded Tulsa’s first public school. My grandfather, Robert J. LaFortune, was the Mayor of Tulsa from 1970 to 1978 and managed one of Tulsa’s greatest periods of growth from being a city to being a metropolitan area. My cousin Bill LaFortune, who currently serves as a District Judge for Tulsa County, was the Mayor of Tulsa from 2002 to 2006 and led the Vision 2025 initiative which ended decades of failed economic development capital improvements votes and resulted in the construction of the BOK Center.