Newly Elected OKC Councilmen Prepare To Take Office

Thursday, April 4th 2013, 10:21 pm
By: News 9

The OKC city council will look a bit different on Tuesday. That's when two of the council's youngest members will be sworn into office.

Both men are promising change. The newly-elected councilmen are replacing two well-known Oklahoma City politicians.

James Greiner of ward 1 and John Pettis Jr. of ward 7 have never held political office before. They admit they have a lot to learn, but right now they're riding on the momentum of their elections. They say they're ready and energized.

Greiner is a graphic designer and Pettis is the director of a non-profit organization, but they do have at least one thing in common. They're both young, in their early 30s.

"I believe that James is two years older than I am, so I'm the young person on the city council…but there have been a lot of young elected officials across our country," Pettis said.

Pettis beat out embattled councilman Ronald "Skip" Kelly who is currently facing a felony DUI complaint. Pettis says the priorities for his northeast OKC ward is to improve public transportation and increase economic development. He says the depressed areas of the city need just as much attention as Bricktown and downtown.

"Ward 7 is the only ward in Oklahoma City where residents have to go outside of the ward to shop," Pettis said.

Across town, longtime councilman Gary Marrs lost out to Greiner, who knocked on more than 3,000 doors to secure his seat.

"The attention that each neighborhood has gotten has declined some, and I've heard that from a lot of people," Greiner said.

Greiner's ward in northwest Oklahoma City is growing fast, which is why he says he hopes to make city government more responsive to the people by focusing on new infrastructure and public safety. Both men say they have already met with community leaders and their elders in city hall to ensure a smooth transition.

"I don't think the age will probably be a challenge, but I think the inexperience will be a challenge because there's so much to learn," Greiner said.

Both men have been elected to 4-year terms.