As of this week, five of Oklahoma’s City nine elected officials are 40 years of age or younger. Much has been written recently about the increasing diversity of the city’s leadership, and for good reason. There is excitement and anticipation of change.
As I have interacted with each of them over the past couple of months, I’m struck by their passion for improving Oklahoma City while ensuring that all voices are represented, and their courage to try new things in order to encourage economic development and prosperity for all.
City leadership is a role that has significant impact on the daily lives of citizens. Decisions made by this body will help shape what Oklahoma City looks like and the goals we pursue and invest in, including the determination of possible MAPS 4 projects to be considered in the coming months.
The increasing diversity of our city leadership goes beyond age and includes new perspectives, greater representation for many of our residents and more opportunities for inclusion and collaboration.
JoBeth Hamon, 28, is the new councilwoman for Ward 6. She works for the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma and has a long volunteer history with service agencies, particularly helping the homeless and those in need.
Ward 2 councilman James Cooper is 36 years old, a public school teacher and Oklahoma City’s first openly gay councilman. Nikki Nice, 38, was elected in November to represent Ward 7. Both councilmembers Cooper and Nice are African American, making this the first time in Oklahoma City history to have two black council members at the same time.
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