Patrick B. McGuigan, editor
State Senator David Holt officially entered the race for mayor of Oklahoma City on Monday, February 27. Holt has worked closely with Mayor Mick Cornett, who is not seeking reelection next year.
A rising star in Oklahoma politics, Holt has a proven ability to raise money and a depth of experience with national, state, and local issues.
He advocates limited government in the Legislature’s upper chamber, and has for several years been the most persistent Republican voice pressing for a public school teacher pay hike. He is also the author of “Big League City,” a book published in 2012 which chronicles the process through which the Sooner State’s capital city garnered a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise.
Holt made his formal announcement in a web video posted early Monday.
In his lift-off, Holt encouraged city voters to sustain Cornett’s vision:
“I’m part of the generation that has chosen to build our lives here because of the visionary leadership of those who came before. We must maintain that same optimistic attitude, that same hunger to build a great city that got us here. We must capture the best elements of the past, but inject them with new energy and new ideas. We must renew the vision.”
Holt also outlined his platform:
“I believe Oklahoma City’s best days still lie ahead, but only if we rededicate ourselves to seeking the next big dream, while still maintaining a steady focus on the fundamentals — jobs, police and fire protection, streets and infrastructure, great schools, and quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
A series of local citizens are shown in the Holt announcement video, saying that progress for the Sooner State’s capital city is “not finished yet.”
Holt’s finale in his announcement reads:
“This journey we’ve been on together — I want it to continue. I know it can. Over the course of the next few months, we’ll get to know each other even better, as we take this grassroots campaign to every corner of this city, our city. A mayor must first listen, and I’ll be listening to you. And then I’m going to ask you to join me as we write the next chapter of this story together, as one OKC.”
Holt is the son of a teacher and social worker. His family has resided locally for “the better part of a century,” his release said. A graduate of the Putnam City School system, he garnered a B.A. from George Washington University and a law degree from Oklahoma City University.
Before spending the last seven years in the Senate, Holt worked as chief of staff to Mayor Cornett. He worked previously for other elected officials.
The author of 60 proposals that have been signed into law, he persistently has called for teacher pay raises. He advocates and practices government transparency, and was saluted for that work with the “Sunshine Award” from Freedom of Information Oklahoma, Inc.
Monday’s announcement release noted he had received from “Guardian Award” from the state Commission on the Status of Women, the “Bulldog Award” from the state District Attorneys Council, and a Governor’s Art award.
Sen. Holt has pressed legislation to increase voter participation in the state and city. He is an advocate of the free press and a steady supporter of local journalism, including as advertiser on the elected officials page (usually page three) of The City Sentinel.
Holt’s volunteer work includes membership on these boards: The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, Allied Arts, the Oklahoma City Arts Council, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, the Putnam City Public Schools Foundation, the Ralph Ellison Foundation, and Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, among others. Last month, the local Friday newspaper designated him “OKCityan of the Year.”
Holt’s wife Rachel is an Assistant Attorney General. He is a member of the Osage Nation; he and his family attend St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church.
At least three others have entered the race, or are expressing interest in it (see our separate story). The mayoral election will be held February 13, 2018.