Harding to seek Ward 6 seat on OKC City Council
Nathaniel Harding, a MAPS 3 advisory board member, Afghanistan veteran and oil-and-gas company president, said Wednesday he will run for the council seat from central Oklahoma City's Ward 6.
Councilwoman Meg Salyer announced last week she will retire when her current term ends next year.
She was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2011 and 2015.
Harding, 36, is a member of the MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board and chairs the MAPS 3 streetcar subcommittee, and is a member of the Downtown Design Review Committee, all volunteer posts.
Harding said in a written statement that he is running "because everyone deserves to live, work, and raise their family in a safe, inclusive, and forward-thinking community."
He said in a telephone interview it was important to the long-term viability of the community that the city and public schools collaborate to improve students' performance.
He singled out public transit in a broad sense — from streetcars to sidewalks — and police and fire services as top priorities.
"We all deserve to feel safe in our communities," he said.
Harding also echoed Mayor David Holt's expressed commitment to diversity in decision-making.
"We must embrace the power in our city's diversity, along with our can-do spirit, to build a city that lives up to its full potential," he said in his statement.
Harding was born in Norman.
He earned his high school diploma in 2000 from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he played football and hockey and ran cross country and track.
He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2006 with degrees in mechanical engineering and Russian, and has a Master of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma City University.
Harding and his wife, Amanda, have three children, Maggie, Lucy and Jack.
They attend St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in the Gatewood neighborhood.
Harding served six months with the Air Force Reserve in a joint command in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2012. He was honorably discharged in 2016.
Harding is president and co-founder of Antioch Energy, which has offices in Bricktown.
He represents his family's third generation in oil and gas, going back to Harding Brothers Oil Co. in Dallas.
Elections are early next year in Wards 2, 5, 6 and 8.
Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell and Ward 8 Councilman Mark Stonecipher have said they will run for re-election.