David Holt (politician)
Holt (right) with MSgt. Knight of the Oklahoma City Police Department (left)
|36th Mayor of Oklahoma City|
|Assumed office |
April 10, 2018
|Preceded by||Mick Cornett|
|Member of the Oklahoma Senate|
from the 30th district
|Preceded by||Glenn Coffee|
|Succeeded by||Julia Kirt|
|Born||March 10, 1979|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Education||George Washington University (BA)|
Oklahoma City University (JD)
David Holt (born March 10, 1979) is an American attorney, businessman and Republican politician who is the 36th Mayor of Oklahoma City. He is the youngest mayor of Oklahoma City since 1923, and for his first year in office was the youngest mayor of a U.S. city over 500,000. He is Oklahoma City's first Native American mayor. His signature achievement as Mayor has been the passage of MAPS 4 in 2019, a nearly $1 billion initiative including 16 projects. He also served in the Oklahoma Senate from 2010 to 2018 and there served as the majority whip of the Oklahoma State Senate.
Holt is the author of Big League City: Oklahoma City's Rise to the NBA (2012). In 2014, Holt was named a "Rising Star" in politics by Chuck Todd of NBC News. In 2017, Holt was named "OKCityan of the Year." In 2017, Holt announced he would be a candidate to become the next Mayor of Oklahoma City in 2018. On February 13, 2018, he was elected to be the next Mayor of Oklahoma City and was sworn-in on April 10.
Early life and education
Holt was born and raised in northwest Oklahoma City, with family roots in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma. David is Osage through his late mother, Mary Ann Fuller Holt, who inspired him to public service. He was also inspired by his maternal grandfather, Leonard Fuller (Osage), a World War II veteran and career Army officer who directed the Model Cities Program in McAlester, Oklahoma after his retirement from the military.
After graduating from Putnam City North High School in Oklahoma City, Holt earned a B.A. from George Washington University, which his mother had attended. He served as a sports editor for The GW Hatchet.
Holt also earned a Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University, and is a practicing attorney. In 2014, he was named director of investor relations for Hall Capital. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City University.
Early political career
Holt served as an aide to Dennis Hastert when Hastert was U.S. Speaker of the House, and during the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He served in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs under President George W. Bush.
Holt returned to Oklahoma full-time in 2004 and served as Oklahoma's coordinator to re-elect Bush in 2004. He served U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and Lt. Governor Mary Fallin. In 2006 he was appointed Chief of Staff to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, where Holt served until his election to the Oklahoma State Senate. Holt was Cornett's Chief of Staff when Oklahoma City successfully lobbied to attract a major league basketball team, gaining what is now known as the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association.
State senatorial career
Holt was elected to the state Senate on July 27, 2010 with 64 percent of the vote in the Republican primary and was unopposed in the general election. He took office on November 16, 2010. He succeeded Glenn Coffee, the first Republican Senate President Pro Tempore in Oklahoma history. On his first day of office in November, 2010, Holt was elected to the Senate Leadership as Majority Caucus Vice Chair. He was also named Vice Chair of the Senate Business & Commerce Committee and Vice Chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee. His first session as a Senator was notable for his efforts to lower the Oklahoma income tax, and his efforts to ensure that local taxpayers have control over their tax dollars. In his first session, Holt was named "Most Shining Legislator" by a local weekly publication. Later that year, Holt was credited with branding Route 66 where it passes through Oklahoma City, in order to define it as a tourist destination.
In 2012, Holt's second session, he was noted for being the primary author of a bill to eliminate the Oklahoma income tax, based on a plan proposed by economist Arthur Laffer. Holt also authored legislation to open up the Oklahoma Legislature to unprecedented transparency. Holt also authored legislation that became law that barred welfare recipients from using illegal drugs. In addition, the Oklahoma Republican Party named Holt one of Oklahoma's seven Republican members of the Electoral College for the upcoming presidential election. In late 2012, Holt was credited with instigating Oklahoma's first state recognition of the Hanukkah holiday.
For the 2013-2014 legislative sessions, Holt was elected as a Majority Whip for the Senate Republican Caucus. He was also named Vice Chair of the new Appropriations Subcommittee on Select Agencies. Holt introduced a "parent trigger" law for Oklahoma in the 2013 legislative session, which would authorize parents to take stronger roles in trying to improve underachieving schools. A similar law was depicted in the film Won't Back Down. In 2013, Holt authored successful legislation that legalized "Black Friday" and other low-price sales in the state of Oklahoma. Holt spearheaded an effort to honor African-American writer Ralph Ellison with a portrait in the Oklahoma Capitol.
In 2014, Holt was named to the national Legislative Leaders Advisory Board of GOPAC. Chuck Todd of NBC News, reporting on the politics of all 50 states, named Holt as one of two Republican "Rising Stars" in Oklahoma. He was re-elected to a second term when he ran unopposed. That year Holt has received a number of awards from non-profits and interest groups for his work. They include the following:
- "Legislative Champion" award by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
- "Sunshine Award" by Freedom of Information Oklahoma, for demonstrating a commitment to transparency in government.
- "Guardian Award" by the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women for his work on behalf of women and children.
- "Child Abuse Prevention Leadership Award" by Parent Promise.
For the 2015 and 2016 sessions, Holt was named Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Select Agencies. In January 2015, Holt introduced a comprehensive election reform package intended to boost voter turnout. He gained passage of a law to authorize online voter registration in the state. In 2015, Holt authored legislation to allow Oklahoma City and Tulsa to authorize charter schools. Holt was awarded the "Bulldog Award" from the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council for his work on addressing police videos taken from body-mounted cameras. Holt was a featured speaker at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in May 2015, an event that featured most of the leading presidential candidates. In September 2015, presidential candidate Marco Rubio named Holt as his Oklahoma campaign chair.
In 2016, Holt introduced a "sweeping proposal" to increase Oklahoma teacher pay by $10,000 to bring it in line with the national average. Holt helped spearhead a successful effort to secure an American Ninja Warrior shoot at the Oklahoma Capitol. Holt authored successful legislation to create a "revenue stabilization fund" intended to minimize the effect of future revenue shortfalls. Holt was awarded a Governor's Arts Award.
For the 2017 and 2018 sessions, Holt was named Appropriations Subcommittee Chair for Public Safety and Judiciary. Holt also introduced a comprehensive plan to increase teacher pay in Oklahoma by $10,000 again. Holt also carried successful legislation to allow Oklahoma flyers to use a drivers license to fly, as well as legislation to extend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. Holt was unsuccessful in his efforts to extend family leave for state employees.
Holt was elected mayor on February 13, 2018 after defeating Taylor Neighbors and Randall Smith in a nonpartisan race. Holt was sworn in as Mayor of Oklahoma City on April 10, 2018. He resigned from his position as state senator before taking office. At the time of his swearing-in, Holt was 39 years and one month, making him the youngest mayor of Oklahoma City since 1923 and the youngest current mayor of a U.S. city over 500,000, as well as the first Native American mayor of Oklahoma City through his mother who is a member of the Osage.
Carrying a unifying message of "One OKC", Holt's stated priorities upon taking office were upgrading core services, continuing improvements in quality of life, improving public education and incorporating the diversity of the city into decision-making.
Holt's second year in office brought his signature achievement, the development and passage of MAPS 4, a nearly $1 billion initiative to address 16 priorities. The Oklahoman called Holt "the architect" of the "most ambitious MAPS ever."  The initiative received 71.7 percent of the vote on December 10, 2019, a modern record for a sales tax vote in Oklahoma City. MAPS 4 includes funding for parks, youth centers, senior centers, mental health and addiction, a family justice center, transit, sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, streetlights, homelessness, Chesapeake Arena, an animal shelter, a new fairgrounds coliseum, a diversion hub, the Innovation District, a civil rights center, beautification and a multipurpose stadium.
In 2018, Holt was named a recipient of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans award. In 2019, Holt was elected to the leadership of the United States Conference of Mayors and was named Vice Chair of the International Affairs Committee.
Holt has served on numerous civic boards in the Oklahoma City area. He was president of the board of Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park from 2005 to 2008, during which time he led relocation of the program to downtown Oklahoma City. In 2013, Holt served as co-chair of the Myriad Gardens' 25th-anniversary celebration.
Holt wrote Big League City: Oklahoma City's Rise to the NBA (2012), a non-fiction political and sports published by Full Circle Press. It details the arrival of major league sports in Oklahoma City, culminating with the 2008 relocation there of the National Basketball Association's Seattle SuperSonics. The franchise was renamed as the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City became a "big league city."  Holt, who served as Chief of Staff to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett during the time, has said that "the arrival of major league sports in Oklahoma City was the most significant positive development in the city’s history since the Land Run of 1889."
The book was positively reviewed by Oklahoma media. The Oklahoma Gazette described the book as a "fascinating historical account." Kelly Ogle of KWTV-DT television noted during his regular "My 2 Cents" segment: "Holt's book is an enjoyable read, and a dandy little primer on the whirlwind ride this dusty old big league city has enjoyed over the last 25 years." Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman wrote that "David Holt tells us how we got here." 
In 2014, Holt was re-elected without opposition.
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- "Grandad". David Holt blog. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
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- "Re-elected". David Holt blog. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "MS Society". Holt for Senate. 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Bartlesville residents, state senator, freedom of information educator receive FOI Oklahoma honors at Sunshine Week conference". Tulsa World. 2014-03-15. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- "Guardian Award". Holt for Senate. 2014-05-23. Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- "Senator Holt Receives "Child Abuse Prevention Leadership Award"". Holt for Senate. 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
- "Charter school plan for Oklahoma City has supporters, detractors". The Oklahoman. 2015-03-30. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- "Senate President Pro Tempore Bingman announces committee chair and vice chair assignments". Oklahoma Senate. 2014-12-12. Retrieved 2014-12-19.
- "Oklahoma senator proposes measures to boost voter turnout". The Oklahoman. 2015-01-26. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
- "Starting Nov. 1, officials begin to explore online registration". The Oklahoman. 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
- "Social Media: David Holt Via Instagram…". McCarville Report. 2015-08-20. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
- "Oklahoma legislators discuss opportunities on 'emerging leaders' panel". The Oklahoman. 2015-05-23. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
- "Rubio Names David Holt Oklahoma State Chair". The Okie. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2015-09-13.
- "Teacher pay is front and center at Oklahoma Capitol". The Oklahoman. 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- "Oklahoma teachers would get $10K raise under bills filed by state senator". The Oklahoman. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2016-01-28.
- "'American Ninja Warrior' to film episode at Oklahoma Capitol". The Oklahoman. 2016-02-20. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
- "Lawmakers: New stabilization fund will help with future Oklahoma budgeting". The Oklahoman. 2016-07-27. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "Governor's Arts Awards Presented". The Oklahoman. 2016-12-07. Retrieved 2017-04-20.
- "Senate Pro Tem-designate Mike Schulz Announces Committee Chair, Vice Chair Appointments". Oklahoma Senate. 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
- "Latest pay plan would raise Oklahoma teacher salaries by $10,000". The Oklahoman. 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
- ""We should have done this years ago," Real ID measure approved by Oklahoma Senate". KFOR. 2017-03-01. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
- "Child sexual abuse victims to have more time to bring civil suit under bill signed Wednesday". Tulsa World. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
- "In second vote, Senate adopts family leave bill". The Oklahoman. 2017-03-22. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
- "About Mayor Holt | City of OKC". okc.gov. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
- "About Mayor Holt". City of Oklahoma City. 2019-04-10. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- "Election day arrives: Voters to have their say on MAPS 4". The Oklahoman. 2019-12-09. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
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- "Voters approve MAPS 4 in a landslide". The Journal Record. 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- "MAPS 4 projects". City of Oklahoma City. 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- "28,000 is a record for a concert crowd in the history of Oklahoma City, OKC Mayor reflects on Scissortail Park grand opening". KFOR. 2019-09-30. Retrieved 2020-02-12.
- "Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park to take new stage downtown". City of Oklahoma City. Archived from the original on 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2011-09-03.
- "Haneborg, Holt team up for Myriad gala". Retrieved 2011-04-18.
- "New Book Details Oklahoma City's Rise to 'Big League City' Status". The Oklahoman. 2012-04-24. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- Holt, David. "Big League City". Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Tramel, Berry. "Oklahoma City Thunder: New book to chronicle OKC's ascension". The Oklahoman. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Hoover, Brendan. "A new book details how OKC landed the Thunder". Oklahoma Gazette. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Ogle, Kelly. "My 2 Cents: Book Chronicles OKC's Rise To The Big Leagues". KWTV-DT.
- "State Sen. David Holt reflects on Putnam North roots in book discussion". The Oklahoman. 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-12-20.
- "SUMMARY RESULTS: Primary Election -- July 27, 2010". Oklahoma State Election Board. Retrieved 2011-05-24.
- Crum, William (13 February 2018). "Holt elected Oklahoma City mayor". NewsOK.com. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
- OKC Mayor Campaign website
- City of Oklahoma City web site
- Twitter account
- Facebook account
- Instagram account
| Member of the Oklahoma Senate
from the 30th district
| Mayor of Oklahoma City