OKC Mayor Speaks at Kiwanis

Keiran D Mayes, Jr., the featured Kiwanis Club member of the day, gave a stunningly entertaining account of his life and family.  We all appreciate Kerry on various levels, and Mayor Cornett admittedly had a hard act to follow.

 Mick Cornett, the mayor of Oklahoma City, included on his "wish list" that Oklahoma City residents remember how we arrived where we are [in our city's achievements] by all working together.  Sometimes success allows distractions.  All the varied groups, e.g., sports, arts, library and others, pulled together to produce over time where we are now. 

 Cornett gave a brief history of where the city stood in the 1970's and 1980's and extolled the steps taken by Mayor Norick and others to create current success.  Oklahoma City is a hub for the suburbs, not a bleak middle. 

 Maps and Maps for Kids have all proceeded without debt--an enormous positive for the highly productive one cent sales tax.  Over 80 citizens serve on various committees to execute the projects, and Maps 3 will also be financed over tax collected and then spent over time. He also mentioned what an effective, excellent city manager Jim Couch is.

 He answered questions about a range of subjects from bond ratings to Core to Shore to the downtown charter school, John W. Rex Elementary School.  Cornett also enumerated all the high ratings the city has earned.

Mayor Mick Cornett
Mayor of Oklahoma City

Mick Cornett became Oklahoma City's 35th mayor on March 2, 2004. He is just the fourth mayor in the City’s history to be elected to a third term.

During his tenure, Oklahoma City’s economy has been one of the strongest in the nation.  Standing for efficient government and responsible leadership, Mayor Cornett has worked to promote an inclusive and optimistic vision of Oklahoma City, fueled by bold ideas. Cornett's humble nature, intense work ethic and optimistic attitude have become emblematic of a city that, as Cornett says, "works hard and dreams big."

Path to City Hall
A fourth-generation Oklahoman, Cornett was born and raised in Oklahoma City, the son of a postman and a school teacher.  He graduated from Putnam City High School in 1976, where he was an All-State athlete.  In 2009, he became the sixth alumnus inducted into the Putnam City Public Schools Wall of Fame. From Putnam City, Cornett went on to the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a degree in journalism.

Cornett spent 20 years in local television, first in sports and later in news. He served as a reporter, anchor and manager, and simultaneously worked as a newspaper columnist and sports play-by-play announcer.  As a news anchor, he covered City Hall from 1997 to 1999, where he gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of city government in our daily lives.  In 1999, Cornett left local television and started his own business, while also returning to the University of Oklahoma as a journalism professor.

In 2001, Cornett entered politics by challenging a two-term incumbent on the City Council, and won his seat by the largest margin over a sitting incumbent in City history.  On February 24, 2004, Cornett was elected Mayor with 58 percent of the vote.   At age 45, he was the youngest mayor the City had seen since 1959.  Cornett was re-elected on March 7, 2006 with 87 percent of the vote, the highest percentage for any mayoral candidate in City history.  He was again re-elected on March 2, 2010, with 58 percent of the vote.

National Leader
As mayor, Mayor Cornett has become one of the nation’s foremost spokesmen for municipal issues.  Cornett is frequently asked to speak to Congress and the White House on behalf of cities across the nation.  In 2007, he was elected as a Trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the highest governing body in that organization.  He had previously served on the Advisory Board and as Chair of the Urban Economic Policy Committee.  Cornett is also the national President of the organization representing Republican Mayors and Local Officials (RMLO).  In June, 2010, Cornett hosted the mayors of the nation as they met in Oklahoma City for the Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  In that same month, he was named one of three global finalists for the “World Mayor 2010 Prize.”  Later in 2010, Governing Magazine named him their “Public Official of the Year.”

Education and Jobs
Mayor Cornett’s two highest priorities have been education and jobs.  

At the top of his list has been the implementation of the City’s role in MAPS for Kids, which continues to keep its promise to renovate or rebuild every single building in the Oklahoma City Public School District, while also providing capital funding to the 23 other school districts that serve Oklahoma City.

In 2007, the U.S. Conference of Mayors awarded Cornett the "City Livability Outstanding Achievement Award" for those efforts. Later that same year, Mayor Cornett led the charge to pass another initiative addressing school infrastructure in the inner city; amongst its elements are gymnasiums for every elementary school.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has enjoyed one of the strongest economies in the nation under Mayor Cornett’s tenure.  In his first five years in office, over 72,000 new jobs were created in greater Oklahoma City.  In 2009 and 2010, a time of national recession, Oklahoma City consistently had the lowest unemployment in the nation.

In his time as mayor, Cornett has repeatedly led the charge to promote a vision that the people of Oklahoma City have embraced.  

When the City proposed that it invest in the State Fair facilities to remain the “horse show capital of the world” in 2004, the voters agreed. When the City proposed that it invest in our streets in 2007, the voters again agreed.  

When Mayor Cornett proposed that Oklahoma City become major league for the first time, the fans turned out to support Oklahoma City’s new NBA team, and they voted to renovate the Ford Center in 2008.  Cornett's efforts to use sports as an economic development tool won him the Abe Lemons/Paul Hansen Award from Oklahoma City University in 2006, and the Ray Soldan Media Award from the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association in 2008.   

In 2009, when Mayor Cornett led the charge to successfully pass MAPS 3, a visionary infrastructure program that will continue Oklahoma City’s momentum and economic growth through the next decade, the voters again approved.  

At the same time, neither the City sales tax nor property tax rates have increased since Mayor Cornett took office.  

Because of the vision exhibited time and again by the people of Oklahoma City since Mayor Cornett took office, the nation’s eyes are on America’s 29th-largest city like never before.  For this success, Mayor Cornett is quick to credit the people of Oklahoma City, his predecessors, the City Council, the City staff, and a business community that understands the importance of a working relationship with City Hall.

Quality of Life
Mayor Cornett has taken a personal interest in the health of his citizens.  

On December 31, 2007, led by his own 42-pound weight loss, Cornett put Oklahoma City on a diet (www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com), sparking a movement to change the culture of obesity in Oklahoma City.

For those efforts, the Oklahoma State Medical Association awarded him the "Prevention in Practice" award, Blue Cross Blue Shield awarded him the "Rodney L. Huey, M.D. Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health" award, the Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition awarded him the "Public Official" award, the U.S. Conference of Mayors awarded him the "City Livability Outstanding Achievement Award,” and Fitness Magazine named him a “2010 Champion of Health and Fitness.”  In further recognition of those efforts, Cornett was a guest of the First Lady of the United States at the 2010 State of the Union.

Personal                                                                                                                                                                  Cornett recently completed his MBA studies at the NYU Stern School of Business, where he specialized in management, entrepreneurship and leadership. Graduation exercises were held July 30, 2011, in New York City and Cornett was selected by his classmates to make remarks at the ceremony. In 2010, Cornett was named “Advertising Man of the Year” by the Oklahoma City Ad Club for his work with the Ackerman McQueen advertising agency.

Cornett has three sons - Michael, Casey and Tristan.