MUSKOGEE — John Tyler Hammons may have already performed his grandest feat as mayor, even before taking office. He put Muskogee in the national spotlight.
Hammons, 19, beat his 70-year-old opponent in a runoff election Tuesday, getting nearly 70 percent of the vote. Hammons, who just completed his first year at the University of Oklahoma, spent Wednesday fielding questions from national news networks and producers of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” "Everybody has the same question,” said Hammons, who will be a delegate to the Republican National Convention in the fall. "‘Why would you do this at 19?' I think they're fair questions. A lot of people are asking if I think I can do this. Of course I think I can do this, or I wouldn't have run. The voters think I can do this. It's amazing what some people think you don't know.” Even though he hasn't taken office yet, Hammons was sitting in the mayor's office Wednesday, getting used to the feel of leading the city of about 40,000 people, 50 miles southeast of Tulsa.
Open and transparentHe's polished, stays on message and isn't fazed by tough questions about the future of Muskogee or pending labor talks with the firefighters union. Hammons defeated former Mayor Hershel McBride in Tuesday's runoff.