The Osage Nation will have one of its own taking the oath of office as an Oklahoma State Senator when the new state legislators are sworn into office in November. And two other Osages are vying for two elected office seats in this year’s General Election on Nov. 2.
David Holt, who is Republican and lives in Oklahoma City, was elected to the State Senate in the July 27 Primary Election. Since there were no Democratic challengers for this soon-to-be vacated seat and Holt won over 50 percent of the vote, he will begin a four-year term after taking oath on Nov. 16 and when the 53rd Oklahoma State Legislature convenes in 2011.
Holt is believed to be the first Osage elected to the state legislature since Assistant Principal Chief Scott BigHorse served a two-year term as state Representative in the 51st state Legislature from 2006-2008.
“I returned the Osage to the legislature,” Holt said of his election win, adding “I’ve always been interested in public service and helping people. I get to represent the people who made me who I am.” The 31-year-old will represent Senate District 30 which covers northwest Oklahoma City where he was raised and now lives with his wife Rachel and their infant son George.
According to the Oklahoma State Election Board, Holt won the July 27 election with 5,125 votes over opponent Matt Jackson who received 2,934 votes which is over 63 percent of the district’s 8,059 votes cast that day.
After taking oath as Senator, Holt will be bringing his experiences in working at the city and federal government levels to the table, which he believes will be an asset considering the Oklahoma state government will be undergoing changes with a new administration after the Nov. 2 election. Current Gov. Brad Henry is term-limited so either Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. Jari Askins or Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin will be elected the state’s new governor.
“Turnover (in the state government) is inevitable so we need leaders who will inspire people in a new way,” said Holt who is currently the chief of staff to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. Holt will leave Cornett’s office when he is sworn in and plans to work part time in the private sector while serving as Senator.
Holt is the son of Stroud Holt and the late Mary Ann Fuller Holt (Osage) who he credits for his interest in politics because she was interested in public service. Mary Ann Fuller Holt, who died when David Holt was a teenager, wanted to work for a state senator but turned down an opportunity when her son was a toddler because she wanted to see him grow up.
Holt attended and graduated from Putnam City Schools and attended George Washington University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science. GWU is also the same institution attended by Mary Ann Fuller Holt, according to David Holt’s biography posted to his campaign Web site.
“When I filed my papers to start my campaign organization,” David wrote in his Web page bio, “I went back to my car and cried – because of what it would mean to (his mother). Because she died young, a part of me wants to live for her, to do the things she was unable to do, to realize her dreams and live her values. I want to make up for the life she lost, and I want to continue my family’s tradition of public service.”
Holt worked for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert during his final semester at GWU. From 2002 to 2004, Holt worked in the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs as an advocate to the U.S. Congress for the President’s policies during George W. Bush’s first term. In 2004, Holt worked on Bush’s re-election campaign in Oklahoma after moving back with wife Rachel whom he met while attending GWU.
Holt also has a law degree from Oklahoma City University thanks to night courses and believes that educational experience will help him as a senator. “I looked at the options and it made sense for a public service career. I’ve been around laws and it’s great to get an understanding of their foundation.”
Holt, who has been Mayor Cornett’s chief of staff since 2006, said his focuses, as a Senator, include “lowering the tax burden as much as possible,” supporting policies which improve public education and “pro-business reform so jobs can be created from Oklahoma City to Pawhuska.”
His area ties are through his late maternal grandfather Leonard Fuller who grew up in the Pawhuska area and served as an Army colonel during World War II and the Korean War.
“As an American Indian and Osage, I hope to be engaged in conversations to make sure we have great relations between the tribal governments and the state,” Holt said. One project Holt said he would like to see finished is the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum which is being built in Oklahoma City and is in need of building funds.
Holt also served as the Master of Ceremonies during the inauguration of the Osage Nation’s new government in 2006.
Eli Potts wins Democratic nomination for OK House seat, advances to Nov. 2 election
Sand Springs resident Eli Potts won the Democratic nomination for an Oklahoma House seat in the Aug. 24 runoff election and will be on the Nov. 2 election ballot. He will face Republican challenger Jadine Nollan for the District 66 House seat which covers Sand Springs (where he was raised) and west Tulsa.
In unofficial results provided by the state Election Board, Potts won the Aug. 24 runoff election with 601 votes which is 55 percent of the total votes cast that day while his challenger Andrew Williams received 488 votes.
Potts, 21, worked as a legislative aide to incumbent Lucky Lamons, who is not seeking another term, during the last legislative session. While working for Lamons, Potts helped with research, bill filings and met with voters who contacted Lamons’s office.
“I think people were able to see my dedication to serving the district,” Potts said of his runoff election win. If elected, Potts said he will work on “bringing quality jobs to the district” as well as work on supporting education-related legislation. v Potts also credits political work by his mother, Cheryl Potts, in helping fuel his interest in public office. Cheryl Potts served on the now-defunct Osage National Council in the 1990s.
“Politics have been in my blood,” Potts said. “My early memories are when (his mother) served in tribal politics and I remember going into the council house with her.”
Potts holds an associates degree from Tulsa Community College with plans to attend the University of Oklahoma. While at TCC, Potts was active in student government which included serving as student vice president. Potts is a Coca Cola Scholarship recipient for facilitating a Leadership 101 class at TCC and was recently recognized as a “distinguished alumnus at the Best of TCC awards banquet,” according to his campaign Web site.
Potts, who is single, believes his age (21 is the minimum age requirement for state House representatives) is an advantage in holding public office. He is also active with the Oklahoma Youth and Government Legislative Program which is aimed at teaching students about the government process.
“I don’t see my age as a problem,” he said adding new ideas can solve current problems. “Old ideas led us to current problems. We’re going to need people in office who have a new way of thinking.”
In the meantime, Potts says he will focus on the campaign trail leading to the Nov. 2 election. “We’re going to keep knocking on doors and keep listening to the people.”
Potts’s campaign Web site is online at www.elipotts.org.
Jeff Jones seeking District Attorney’s Office for Osage, Pawnee counties
First Assistant District Attorney Jeff Jones (Oklahoma District 10) is making a run for the District Attorney’s office as a Democratic candidate. Oklahoma’s District 10 covers Osage and Pawnee counties.
Jones, of Skiatook, will be on the Nov. 2 ballot and is running against Republican candidate Rex Duncan of Sand Springs.
Duncan is a state Representative who is a lawyer and Oklahoma National Guard officer. He represents District 35 which covers Noble, Osage, Pawnee and Payne counties.
Jones, who has a law degree from the University of Tulsa, worked in the private law practice field before joining the District 10 DA’s office as an assistant district attorney in 2002. He has served as First Assistant District Attorney since 2006.