John Tyler Hammons
|John Tyler Hammons|
|47th Mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma|
May 19, 2008 – February 20, 2012
|Preceded by||Wren Stratton|
|Succeeded by||Bob Coburn|
4 September 1988 |
Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA
|Religion||Southern Baptist|
John Tyler Hammons (born September 4, 1988) is an American politician who served as the 47th Mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma from 2008 to 2012. He gained national attention when he was elected on May 13, 2008, as a 19-year old freshman at the University of Oklahoma, after winning 70 percent of the vote in a runoff election against 70-year-old, three-time former Muskogee mayor Herschel McBride. Hammons was reelected on April 6, 2010, in a four way race.
First elected at the age of 19, Hammons was among the youngest mayors in United States history. After serving two terms, Hammons, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, commenced studies in summer 2012 at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Life and education
John Tyler Hammons was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on September 4, 1988 and its an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. Hammons graduated from Muskogee Public Schools in 2007. Before beginning his senior year, Hammons was a delegate to the Oklahoma Boys State. During his senior year, Hammons was MHS student body president and was president of both MHS Young Republicans and MHS Young Democrats.
After graduating, Hammons attended the University of Oklahoma for his freshman year of college. He transferred to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in the fall of 2008. In 2010, Hammons enrolled at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, where he graduated in 2012. Hammons is currently enrolled at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Hammons declared his intent to run for mayor of Muskogee on January 29 and filed for office on February 5. By the end of the filing date, Hammons was one of six candidates vying to be mayor, including a former Muskogee mayor and a former city councilor. On election night on April 1, Hammons won the popular vote by coming in first place with 42% of the vote. Herschel McBride came in second place with 38% of the vote. The remaining 20% was divided among the four other candidates. With the general election failing to deliver a candidate with an absolute majority, the Muskogee City Charter required Hammons and McBride to face one another in a run-off election to determine who would serve as mayor. Vote tallies showed Hammons carried the east side of Muskogee while McBride carried the west side. At the May 13 run-off election, Hammons had captured 70% of the vote., with Hammons winning the largest popular vote total of any candidate in Muskogee history and the largest margin of victory in Muskogee County history. Former Muskogee City Manager Clay Harrell said he hadn't seen such a shakeup in the city government since 1952.
At a press conference held on November 30, 2009, at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, Hammons announced that he would seek a second term as mayor of Muskogee. Hammons drew three opponents: local businessman and cousin of sitting US Senator Tom Coburn Bob Coburn, local travel agent Chris James, and local volunteer Teresa Garris. On election day, April 6, 2010, Hammons handily won reelection to a second two-year term, receiving just over 51% of the vote in the four way race, defeating his nearest opponent by 20 percentage points. In the election, Hammons carried 17 of the City's 18 voting precincts.
On May 19, 2008, Hammons was sworn in as 47th (and youngest) Mayor of the City of Muskogee. During his term, Hammons laid out plans to improve city infrastructure and to establish a countywide enhanced 911 telephone system, both of which were approved by the voters.   Much of Hammons' first year in office was focused on improving the City's quality of life. In an effort to promote and expand literacy, Hammons, by working with the Muskogee Public Library and Muskogee Public Schools, issued the Mayor's Reading Challenge by asking Muskogee residents "Are You as Well Read as a High Schooler?". Hammons also established the Mayor's Taskforce on Public Health and charged it with finding ways to improve the public health of Muskogee. The Taskforce launched the Muskogee Wellness Initiative, a program of the Mayor's Office designed to partner with governmental health agencies and the private medical community to improve nutrition, promote physical exercise and reduce tobacco use throughout the City.
Hammons' second term began on April 12, 2010. In the days leading up to his inauguration, on April 10, Muskogee's Arrowhead Mall was the site of a violent shooting. The event resulted in one fatality and five injuries. In his inaugural address, Hammons called for increased funding for the Muskogee Police Department's crime prevention fund and for consolidating the City and Muskogee County Sheriff's Office's SWAT teams into a single joint City-County Special Operations Team.
In an effort to deregulate the local taxicab industry and promote free market ideas, Hammons proposed that the City Council repeal the law establishing a barrier to entry for new taxicab companies. Hammons' proposal was unanimously approved by the City Council. To spur economic development, Hammons called on the City government to increase its tourism development and event marketing budget in order to attract more tourists to the City. He called on the City Council to reduce "burdensome" regulations on local businesses. Hammons also called for tougher sanctions against local businesses who fail to remit their taxes, particularly by increased enforcement and by denying tax delinquent businesses the ability to bid on City contracts. Hammons' tourism proposal was subsequently approved by the voters of Muskogee in January 2012.
2008 Presidential Election
Hammons endorsed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani early in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. When Giuliani withdrew from the race, Hammons endorsed Arizona Senator John McCain. Hammons was also Oklahoma's youngest at-large delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. While at the RNC, on his 20th birthday and the final day of the RNC, Hammons had the opportunity to meet Giuliani.
- Hammons appeared on Fox TV's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, on October 24, 2008, winning $25,000 for his charity after missing the question "What's the name of the first American woman to travel to outer space?". Unsure of the correct answer, he "copied" the 5th grader's answer, which was wrong.
- Hammons was the opening joke for Bill Engvall's 2009 album "Aged and Confused".
- The magazine Cosmopolitan named Hammons as one of seven sexy young politicians in January, 2010.
- Associated Press (2008-05-14). "College Student, 19, Elected Mayor of Oklahoma City of 38,000". Fox News.
- Muskogee Phoenix Staff (2010-04-06). "Hammons wins re-election". Muskogee Phoenix.
- "Hammons sets his law school schedule". Muskogee Phoenix. March 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
- The Oklahoman (2008-05-17). "19-year-old mayor puts Muskogee on the map". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
- Friedman, Emily (2008-05-15). "Teen Mayor Talks Politics, Roommate". ABC News.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-02-06). "Three more file to run for mayor". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-04-02). "Mayor's race down to two". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-05-14). "Youth trumps experience: 19-year old wins mayoral race". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-05-18). "New faces to be sworn in". Muskogee Phoenix.
- McMahan, Liz (2009-11-30). "Hammons: I'll run for 2nd term". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Spaulding, Cathy (2010-04-07). "Mayor stays, the rest go". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Slipke, Darla (2010-04-07). "Win surprises young Muskogee mayor". Daily Oklahoman.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-09-25). "Mayor outlines vision for City". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Purtell, Keith (2008-11-05). "County 911 ballot measures pass". Muskogee Phoenix.
- McMahan, Liz (2009-06-09). "Voters approve sales tax issues". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Spaulding, Cathy (2008-09-24). "Are You as Well Read as a High Schooler? Mayor issues challenge". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-09-16). "Mayor looks to improve residents' health". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Purtell, Keith (2008-10-11). "Forum garners healthy lifestyle ideas". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Purtell, Keith (2009-09-08). "Veterans not giving up fight to have POW-MIA flag flying". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Wright, Chris (2009-07-13). "Fight over flag sparks patriotic protest in Muskogee". News on 6.
- Wright, Leif (2010-04-12). "Mayor to suggest city, county law enforcement work together". MuskogeeNOW!.
- McMahan, Liz (2010-04-21). "Taxi ordinance up for repeal". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Spaulding, Cathy (2010-08-14). "Mayor says tourism growth key". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Associated Press (2008-05-21). "Muskogee's teen mayor". MSNBC.
- McMahan, Liz (2008-12-17). "Woman plans to witness historic moment". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Womble, Ashley (2010-01-29). "7 More Politicians We'd Like to See Shirtless". Cosmopolitan.