Exiting the Tunnel: The year behind us, the year ahead – Mayor David Holt

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Mayor David Holt took office April 10, 2018, as Oklahoma City’s 36th Mayor. He was elected Feb. 13, 2018, with 78.5 percent of the vote. It was the largest vote percentage achieved by a non-incumbent candidate for Mayor since 1947, and it made Holt the youngest Mayor of Oklahoma City since 1923, the first Native American mayor of Oklahoma City, and at the time of his election, the youngest mayor of a U.S. city with more than 500,000 residents.

Mayor Holt’s “One OKC” message reflects his belief that Oklahoma City can continue to thrive only if we set aside the things that divide us and find common purpose. He applies that philosophy of unity to his four top priorities:

  • Maintaining upgrades in core services, including streets, transit, infrastructure, police and fire protection
  • Continuing our improvements in quality of life and our commitment to economic growth through MAPS & other initiatives
  • Supporting and improving public education
  • Incorporating the diversity of our city into decision-making

In his second year in office, Mayor Holt recorded his signature achievement, shepherding the development and successful passage of MAPS 4, an ambitious, nearly $1 billion package that will address 16 critical challenges and opportunities.


love_your_okcThe development process Mayor Holt led for MAPS 4 raised the bar for inclusivity and transparency and culminated in a unanimous Council vote for the package. On December 10, 2019, the voters of Oklahoma City overwhelmingly approved the eight-year, one-cent sales tax to fund MAPS 4 with 72 percent of the vote, the highest percentage of support for any sales tax in modern Oklahoma City history.

The 16 priorities addressed by MAPS 4 include:

  • Upgrades to all neighborhood parks as well as establishment of regional youth soccer facilities and upgrades to specific city parks and recreational facilities
  • At least four new state-of-the-art youth centers
  • A new wellness center and funding to provide equitable access to all MAPS senior centers
  • Facilities to address mental health and addiction challenges and to lessen pressure on the county jail
  • A new building to permanently house the family justice center operated by Palomar, which provides services to victims of domestic violence
  • Transit upgrades, including 500 new bus shelters and two bus rapid transit lines to the Northeast and the South
  • More sidewalks, more bike lanes, more trails and more streetlights
  • Truly affordable housing to address homelessness
  • Upgrades to Chesapeake Energy Arena and related facilities to secure our future relationship with professional sports and concerts
  • A new state-of-the-art animal shelter
  • A new coliseum at the OKC Fairgrounds to maintain the economic impact of that facility
  • A new “diversion hub” to provide support to residents involved with the criminal justice system so they can achieve a better life and find diversion from jail or prison
  • Investments in the Innovation District to support economic diversification, with projects to include connectivity, a small business resource center, and an innovation hall
  • A new civil rights center in Northeast OKC to tell the city’s civil rights story
  • Beautification along key corridors citywide
  • A new multipurpose stadium to host professional soccer and other events

For more information about MAPS 4, click here. For a more in-depth look at Mayor Holt’s work in all of his priority areas at City Hall, watch or read his most recent “State of the City” address here.


Mayor Holt has quickly emerged as a national leader among mayors. In 2020, he was elected by his peers as a Trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the highest level of leadership in the organization. He also serves as Vice Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors International Affairs Committee. In 2020, he was also elected to the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities (NLC). He is a member of the NLC 2020 Presidential Election Task Force and is co-chair of NLC’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force. Mayor Holt is also an advisory council member for Accelerator for America, and a member of the 2019-2020 Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

A month after taking office, Mayor Holt was named one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” under the age of 40 by JCI USA (Jaycees). As Mayor, Holt has also received the Visionary Award from the OKC Black Chamber, the Outstanding Civic Leader Award from the Asia Society of Oklahoma, the Shadow & Act Award from the Ralph Ellison Foundation, the Aspire Award from OKC Young Professionals, the Inspiring Hope Award from Upward Transitions, and the Key Contributor Award from the Oklahoma Academy.

For more information about Mayor Holt’s previous honors prior to his election as Mayor, click here.


Mayor Holt was born and raised in Oklahoma City. The son of a teacher and a social worker, Mayor Holt has had family in Oklahoma City for the better part of a century. He graduated from Putnam City Public Schools as a National Merit Scholar before receiving his B.A. from George Washington University and his law degree from Oklahoma City University.

Mayor Holt had already served a U.S. House Speaker, a U.S. President, a Lt. Governor and Members of the U.S. House and Senate when he became chief of staff to his predecessor, Mayor Mick Cornett, at age 26. He served five years in that position before being elected to the Oklahoma Senate, where he served almost eight years.

For more information about Mayor Holt’s previous public service and community service prior to his election as Mayor, click here.

Mayor Holt is also the author of the 2012 book “Big League City: Oklahoma City’s Rise to the NBA,” which chronicles Oklahoma City’s renaissance leading up to that time.

Mayor Holt is a licensed attorney and works for a family-owned investment company in Oklahoma City. He and his wife Rachel, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs, have two children, George and Margaret. The Holts are members of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church. Mayor Holt is also a member of the Osage Nation.

Chair of the Day
Teresa Rose Crook

Having spent her career serving others and improving her community, Teresa Rose Crook brings years of experience and expertise to her role as Executive Director of CFO. Teresa earned both her Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University before she traveled the state representing school districts in over 150 communities. She has held various executive positions including her time at Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Oklahoma City Community Foundation. Teresa’s expertise in community relations, government affairs, philanthropy and legal matters, combined with her heart for giving, enable her to provide individuals, families and organizations with guidance and options as they choose the best way to approach giving.

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