Cooper, Hamon take OKC council seats
Their literary choices tell much about their insurgency.
James Cooper and JoBeth Hamon took the oath of office Tuesday, cementing the generational shift on the Oklahoma City Council.
Cooper, 37, rested his hand on a copy of the U.S. Constitution in a ceremonial swearing-in by his mother, Cloise Cooper, at the beginning of Tuesday’s council meeting.
Hamon, 28, chose “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, held by her mother, Beta, as her father, Brad, looked on.
Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell and Ward 8 Councilman Mark Stonecipher also began new four-year terms.
As an English and film studies professor and currently AVID college prep teacher at Jefferson Middle School, Cooper said he chose the constitution because “language matters a lot to me.”
“Language is law,” he said.
Cooper said he was pleased to keep a campaign promise in his first day, as the council took action to clean up a house in the Mayfair Heights neighborhood that has been occupied by squatters and was the scene of a stabbing earlier this year.
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Hamon said her father gave her “A People’s History” when she graduated from high school in Prineville, Oregon.
Hamon said “A People’s History” gives an “underdog perspective” on topics such as Native American history, and the American labor and civil rights movements. She said she planned to keep it her office as a reminder that there is "another side of the story."
Cooper and Hamon represent the city’s most densely urbanized wards. Cooper is the first openly gay member of the council; Hamon is the 11th woman to serve.
With their election, a majority of the nine-member council is age 40 and younger.
Mayor David Holt, who turned 40 last month, is the eldest among the group, which includes Ward 1 Councilman James Greiner and Ward 7 Councilwoman Nikki Nice.
Cooper and Hamon both won outright victories in primaries on Feb. 12, as did Greenwell and Stonecipher.
Greenwell, 65, took the oath of office from Municipal Judge Donald Kiffin with his wife, Pam, at his side. He is beginning his third term representing southwest Oklahoma City.
Stonecipher, 61, took the oath from Chief Justice Noma D. Gurich of the Oklahoma Supreme Court with his wife, Debbie, at his side. He is beginning his second term representing northwest Oklahoma City.
District 1 Oklahoma County commissioner administered the official oath to Cooper and Hamon.