The GOP ballot for Oklahoma County’s District 3 runoff election contains two current county employees with vastly different experience levels: Myles Davidson and Amy Alexander. However, each candidate touts their respective tenures in government as a reason voters should elect them to the vacant District 3 seat on the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners.
Davidson, Calvey’s chief deputy since January 2019, previously worked in District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan’s office from March 2009 until 2019 — marking a total of 14 years working with the county’s Board of Commissioners.
“County government is very complicated, very immense. There are lots of very complicated statutes. [It’s a] very different environment in which we operate in,” Davidson said. “If you do not have the experience to operate in that — you can ask Commissioner Maughan what it’s like, you can ask Commissioner Calvey why he hired me — it is a learning curve that is steep.”
Amy Alexander, who has served as a field representative under Maughan since July 2021, has worked in county government since February 2018. Prior to joining Maughan, she worked in the Oklahoma County Clerk’s Office and in the county’s engineering office.
“He has been there longer than I, but what does he have to show for that? If people elect him, they can expect the exact same results and the same from the county as they’ve had for the past (14) years that he’s worked there,” Alexander said. “I think we’re all ready for change. It’s time to move forward. It’s time to try something different, because what we have been trying is clearly not working.”
Oklahoma County District 3 covers far northwest Oklahoma City, Edmond, Arcadia, Jones and Luther. The GOP’s nominee will face Democrat Cathy Cummings, a former mayor and councilwoman of The Village, in the Nov. 8 general election.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Early voting was held Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Early voting is also open Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
‘We need to start holding people accountable’
Asked what he would say to voters who have been unsatisfied with Oklahoma County government during his tenure as an employee, Davidson said he believes residents largely trust county government — pointing to the June 28 vote which approved $260 million in bonds to help build a new facility that will replace the troubled 13-floor jail that was constructed more than 30 years ago.
“The citizens of Oklahoma County just entrusted $260 million to the way the county government is working right now,” Davidson said. “So I think they’ve made their voice loud and clear that they trust the direction of those that are running things right now.”
Joking that the county needs “a magic pill that gets rid of fentanyl” in order to stop the number of deaths at the jail, Davidson said he wants to stop inmates from directly receiving care packages and mail.
“I don’t believe the individuals should be able to receive a piece of mail from the outside,” Davidson said. “I’m not keeping you from your mail. I’m just going to keep you from the original piece of mail, because what we’re finding is that these individuals can actually lace a letter with fentanyl.”
There have been 12 deaths at the Oklahoma County Jail so far this year, with the most recent occurring July 31. There were 14 deaths at the jail in 2021.
Davidson said difficult combating fentanyl is not exclusive to Oklahoma County.
“At the risk of sounding very cliche, build the wall, set the border down and start controlling the in-flow of fentanyl,” Davidson said.
Alexander said county officials still need to be cognizant of the ongoing problems at the current county jail while the new one is being built.
“We need to start holding people accountable. We can’t forget about these people that are going to be in this jail until this new one is built,” Alexander said. “The commissioners need to be in there spending more time investigating for themselves.”
A ‘unique opportunity’ in Oklahoma County.
Davidson said the county has a “unique opportunity” to partner with daily living centers and establish crisis intervention centers for adults.
“There are those that are in mental health crises about to do something that begins a downward spiral in their life,” Davidson said. “Just a little bit of intervention at the right time will make a drastic impact on their life and set it back straight.”
One concern Davidson noted is a $70 million infrastructure backlog across the county. He said he and other county officials are discussing creating a grant-writing department to help the county to obtain federal dollars for completing county infrastructure projects.
“So hopefully, we can get out there and start getting a bunch of the money and start knocking off some of this $70 million with some federal funds,” Davidson said.
Alexander said county officials need to get into District 3 and figure out specific needs.
“I’m not sure there’s a lot of visibility with our current District 3 office in the community,” Alexander said.
Asked to identify the county’s biggest needs, Alexander said she would like to see ARPA dollars used to fix sewage lines in Bethany, which is in District 2.
“Eight to five, I’m still working for District 2. I’m hanging out in my district,” Alexander said. “I’m definitely excited to get to spend some time with them and see what the needs are (in District 3).”
Davidson responds to OSBI’s Calvey investigation
During an awkward dual press conference Thursday, Calvey announced that elements of his DA campaign are being examined by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater confirmed that he had asked OSBI to look into allegations that had been brought to his office by a county employee. (Calvey is facing Oklahoma County Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger in the Aug. 23 runoff.)
Asked Friday if he ever had concerns about the separation of public resources from campaign activity while working in Calvey’s office, Davidson said he has “never had a single concern.”
“The OSBI’s investigation is in response to DA Prater’s request. Upon their investigation I’m confident they will find that there has always been a standard of transparency and a respect for the law and its adherence in Commissioner Calvey’s office,” Davidson said.
Alexander on filing late: ‘It is a learning curve.’
During and after the June 28 primary, Davidson criticized Alexander for filing her campaign committee statement of organization and second quarter campaign finance reports with the Oklahoma County Election Board on July 21, a month after the June 20 deadline. Alexander brushed off the situation.
“It is a learning curve,” Alexander said. “I was late filing on my first time because I misunderstood and I thought that you didn’t have to file until you received $1,000 In donations. I filed once it was brought to my attention, but it’s still really confusing.”
According to each candidates’ campaign finance reports, Alexander has received just $900 in donations, while Davidson has received more than $136,000.
Alexander said her campaign has largely been financed through her own personal funds, and that she has not asked anyone for money because of her belief that “human connections are free.”
“I do not have a fancy campaign team. I have four children, three of them are grown. My youngest one is 17. So it’s been me, my husband and my grown kids that have really done almost all of this work ourselves,” Alexander said. “I’m hoping that the voters will realize this and understand how resourceful I can be with money.”