Oklahoma 1st District
The gushers of the 1905 Glenn Pool discovery made Tulsa one of America’s oil boomtowns, settled not just by people from the immediate hinterland but also by Midwesterners and New Englanders of Yankee stock. In the 1920s, as its art deco skyscrapers rose on the heights above the Arkansas River, it was still a raw town, but one intent on becoming more cultural. It was optimistic and ready to seek economic change, yet culturally and politically conservative, with a Yankee elite and an American Indian heritage recalled today in one of the nation’s best collections of Western art at the Gilcrease Museum—left by oil millionaire Thomas Gilcrease, who was one-eighth Creek Indian. In the decades since, Tulsa has boomed and occasionally busted. The city also is the headquarters of Oral Roberts University and its 60-story City of Faith Hospital. It has remained cosmopolitan but conservative. A travel writer for The Washington Post once termed Tulsa “a fine replica of European grandeur.” People here do not resent the oil companies or the new rich; they identify with them. In 2003, voters approved the Vision 2025 economic development referendum, a $900 million investment funded by a one-cent sales tax increase, as part of Tulsa’s efforts to diversify from being solely one of America’s leading petroleum centers. After Citgo Petroleum announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters from Tulsa to Houston, local officials persuaded American Airlines to move its maintenance and engineering center and over 7,000 jobs to Tulsa from Kansas City; that move spurred other aerospace-related development in the city. In 2008, the Salary.com website ranked Tulsa 12th-best among 69 cities for building personal wealth. Plano, Texas came in first, and New York City was last.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 1st Congressional District of Oklahoma includes Tulsa, Wagoner, and Washington counties, and slices of Rogers and Creek counties—just about all of the Tulsa metropolitan area. The political tradition here is heavily Republican, strengthened in recent decades by opposition to national Democrats’ cultural liberalism. Even during the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s, Tulsa maintained its contagious enthusiasm for new business enterprises and innovations. But some business groups worried that the state’s strict 2007 law to force out illegal immigrants would cause a loss of workers and hurt Tulsa’s economic base.