OKC Ward 6
From left to right, OKC Ward 6 City Council candidates are Jim Holman, JoBeth Hamon and Nathaniel Harding. (NonDoc)

JoBeth Hamon knows what it’s like to navigate Oklahoma City’s public transit system. Her experiences helped nudge her in the direction of running for public office for the first time.

The 28-year-old is among three candidates seeking the Ward 6 city council seat in an election set for Feb. 12. Earlier this month, she received the endorsement of Ward 2 City Councilor Ed Shadid.

It was a natural progression of her social service background, which includes working as an education coordinator for a mental health organization.

“I don’t own a car so I saw firsthand how important city government is to our daily lives,” Hamon said. “I know what it’s like to miss a bus and wait an hour for another one. There wasn’t anyone in the ward talking about the same issues so I sort of volunteered myself to run.”

Oklahoma City business owner Nathaniel Harding got a taste of city government working on the MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board. With a list of 300 endorsements himself, Harding said he believes serving on the council is his best opportunity to make a difference.

“The MAPS model has been transformative and a lot of cities are mimicking it,” he said. “Working on MAPS 3 gave me a chance to see what can be done when people work together, and I want to continue that.”

At 68, Jim Holman is the elder of the group. He had a long career as an auto dealer but isn’t ready to slow down in retirement.

“Giving back to the city, which has been a great home for me, is probably the biggest reason I wanted to run,” Holman said. “For a guy my age, I’m high energy.”

Oklahoma City’s Ward 6 City Council seat represents portions of north and south OKC. (Screenshot)

JoBeth Hamon, 28


Occupation: Education coordinator for Mental Health Association Oklahoma
Experience: After graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Hamon joined the Episcopal Service Corps in Chicago, which offers young adults the opportunity to serve a community. Back in Oklahoma, her professional work has focused on mental health education.
Platform: Hamon’s work and life experiences have shaped her platform.
“Working in social services, I know that everyone talks about how complicated homelessness is,” Hamon said.”It’s actually pretty simple: People need homes and we don’t have enough affordable housing. If we want to keep our reputation up as a great place to live, that needs to be addressed.”
Favorite thing about Oklahoma City: Hamon likes the city’s creative side.
“I think it’s a place where we have a lot of younger people who are doing unique things in art and music and in social services,” she said. “That’s creating a community that spans a lot of different spectrum. It’s neat to see how a lot of those things are possible in Oklahoma City.”
Why should someone vote for you?: “There’s been this whole discussion about diversity among our elected officials,” Hamon said. “To me, those things are race, gender and class but also diversity of experience. Typically people elected to office come from a business or real estate background. Diversity lends itself to different priorities and a broader connection to what’s happening in our community. We need a lot of different kinds of people at the table.”
Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Nathaniel Harding, 37


Occupation: Founder and president of Antioch Energy
Experience: Harding was a captain in the United States Air Force Reserve. He served on the MAPS 3 Advisory Board and worked on the streetcar subcommittee.
Platform: Public education, improving transportation throughout the city and better funding for public safety are among Harding’s top issues.
“Knocking on doors throughout the ward I hear a lot about public education and how that can be improved,” Harding said. “Public education is a very important social-equity issue and also an economic-development issue. We need to provide a quality education for every family.”
Favorite thing about Oklahoma City: Harding is a fan of Oklahoma City’s can-do vibe.
“I love our dream-big spirit,” Harding said. “Sam Anderson captured so well in his book Boom Town. We have a constant desire to improve, an ambition that we can always be better and I think that’s been a big part of the secret to our success as a city.”
Why should someone vote for you?: “To me it’s really important to listen to every part of Ward 6. I want to advocate for everyone. The ward is very diverse, and I think I bring experience I have had working with the city and various non-profits to solve complex challenges.”
Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Jim Holman, 68


Occupation: Retired auto dealer
Experience: Holman had a lengthy career in business and served on the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parks Commission. In the past, he served on the Oklahoma Alzheimer’s Association board of directors.
Platform: Among Holman’s top issues are improving public safety, more oversight of Oklahoma City Public Schools and continued repair of streets in his ward.
“Everyone has their eyes on our school system,” he said. “That’s not a typical task for the city council, but I do believe it has a role in making the system better.”
Favorite thing about Oklahoma City: Above all, Holman believes the key to Oklahoma City’s success are its citizens.
“The streetcar and NBA are all wonderful but when you’re out talking to the people you see it’s them that make it special. There’s a very pro-OKC attitude out there.”
Why should someone vote for you?: “I think my skill set is a good match for the council,” Holman said. “We have a new mayor and a new city manager. By the time this is over, half the city council will be new. I’m a quick study with a lot of experience.”
Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook