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Jimmy Lawson, activist, professor, and finance professional announces candidacy for Oklahoma City Mayor

By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter —

OKLAHOMA CITY – Lifelong Oklahoma City resident, Jimmy Lawson has announced he is running for Mayor of Oklahoma City.

A product and supporter of Oklahoma City Public Schools, Jimmy graduated from John Marshall High School in the top 10 percentof his class with a 3.90 GPA. He has always believed that education can open doors of opportunity.

Jimmy excelled academically by earning his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and his Master’s degree in Business Administration fromOklahoma City University.  

A registered Democrat, Jimmy’s passion to serve others and help them to live a better life is why he has declared his candidacy for Oklahoma City’s Mayor. 

He has served the citizens of Oklahoma City for more than 20 years with a focus on the wrongfully convicted, feeding the homeless, and mentoring youth. 

His father, an ex-Marine and Pastor, instilled in him that giving up was never an option in his household. Growing up, Jimmy had the first basketball goal in his neighborhood. Jimmy says his father and basketball coach taught him to be competitive and fearless while being fair. 

Jimmy’s dedication to education and basketball motivated him to pursue a college education. His work ethic and determination allowed him to continue to excel in both areas.

Among his accomplishments on the basketball court, Jimmy received a NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarship to Grambling State University in 1998. During his first season, he earned the Southwestern Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year honor. He continued his basketball career at Oklahoma City University.

Lawson was named Professor of the Year in 2013 at the University of Phoenix and Adjunct Professor of the Year for the School of Business at Rose State College in 2019 – the first African-American to receive this honor.

Jimmy is the Director of Permitting Services at the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission and a professor at Rose State College, where he teaches finance and economic courses. His energy, abilities, and personality have made him productive and adaptive in any environment. 

During his life Jimmy’s actions have demonstrated that putting people first is not just a slogan, but rather a lifestyle for him. He is a fierce advocate and voice in the Oklahoma City community, bringing hope to the underprivileged. He will expand and continue that effort as mayor.

He is the lifelong best friend and advocate for Julius Jones, who graduated with Jimmy, both in the top 10 per cent of their class. Jimmy believes that Jones, now on Oklahoma’s death row, was wrongfully convicted of capital murder.

Jimmy is featured in the ABC documentary “The Last Defense,”  which exams the Jones’ case,and isexecutive produced by Academy Award winning actress Viola Davis. Jimmy’s compassion and pursuit of justice for Julius has earned him respect and recognition statewide and beyond. Jimmy continues to speak out publicly and fight for Jones’ commutation by the Pardon and Parole board and Governor Kevin Stitt.

His passion to serve the less fortunate is demonstrated by his years of feeding the homeless in Downtown Oklahoma City through NewPoint Church’s homeless outreach ministry. For the last 3 years, Jimmy has hosted an annual Christmas Toy Drive for underprivileged youth in honor of Julius Jones. Jimmy has donated time and toys to numerous organizations such as Jordan’s Crossings, Children’s Hospital, and families in marginalized communities.

Jimmy is the founder of the John Marshall Impact Team, a community partner with Oklahoma City Public Schools. The team provides mentoring and life skills to students at John Marshall High School and Middle School – “changing the trajectory of the next generation one student at a time,” he says.

In 2019, Jimmy created a college scholarship fund for John Marshall High School graduating seniors in honor of his late father, Bishop Lawson Sr. Each year the scholarship committee reviews applications and selects a senior to receive a $1,000 college scholarship. 

Jimmy says he is a living testimony of the power of education and feels from the mayoral platform he will be even better equipped to pay it forward to the next generation. 
“My vision for OKC is to provide access to resources and programs for all people, without barriers,” Lawson said.  “Eliminating homelessness, providing our youth with wrap around services, and creating equity in our criminal justice system are all imperative in order for Oklahoma City to reach optimum growth and maximization. I believe we can challenge the status quo and shift the paradigm for generations to come.”

If elected, Lawson would be the first African-American Mayor in Oklahoma City’s history

Jimmy and his wife Tamara have been married for 17 years and have three daughters; ages 20, 15, and 13.  Jimmy says he loves “pouring into his children” and leading by example. He has coached his daughters in basketball and continues to do so for the younger two through his Burner U Basketball organization. 

The Oklahoma City Mayoral primary is scheduled for February 8, 2022. To learn more about Jimmy, visit

Jimmy Lawson, candidate for Oklahoma City Mayor. Photo provided.
Jimmy Lawson, candidate for OKC Mayor, with his family (L-R) Janiya, ,Jayla, his wife Tamara, and Talia. Photo provided.