COMMERCE - Newly elected mayor Michael Hart officially promised on Friday to do his best to serve the citizens on what many believe was an unprecedented day.
Not only is Hart thought to be the city's youngest mayor, but he is likely the first recite the oath of office on his birthday.
Flanked by his two children, Hart raised his right hand before a room full of beaming young faces who may know him better than most - his child care clients.
The 26-year-old Army veteran is a Commerce High School graduate, an honor student at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and co-director of Jelly Bean Child Care in Commerce.
He said Friday that he is excited and ready to start sorting through the city's issues.
Hart sought the mayor's seat after returning home from six years in the military to find his city lacking.
“When I came home, I found that a lot of things just were not right,” Hart said. “This opportunity arose and I took it.”
Topping his “to do” list is communicating with the council and the public and generating discussion about how to improve things.
The controversial topic of lot restrictions has not gone unnoticed by Hart, nor have issues regarding code enforcement and failing infrastructure, the new mayor said.
“I am ready to jump in,” he said.
Hart said he was eating dinner when news of the win came in. Within seconds of the unofficial announcement of his victory, Hart began to receive phone calls, text messages, heard the sounds of honking car horns and was offered a slew of handshakes and high-fives.
He offered his appreciation Friday to the voters who placed their faith in him.
Among those most excited about Hart's win were the childcare clients who admitted that they really don't know much about what a mayor does - but they have a new-found interest in how a city works.
The youngsters joined city staff members in the singing of a boisterous “He's a Jolly Good Fellow” as Hart signed his oath of office.
“He will be a good mayor,” said 11-year-old Madison Hogan.
Hogan, like the majority of her childcare peers, applied a basic rule of thought - that Hogan's success as a father and a teacher have prepared him well for the job as Commerce mayor.