NORMAN — As a sixth-grader at Irving Middle School, Stephen Tyler Holman watched Norman City Council meetings on television.
Although he was intrigued by them, it didn't occur to him to go to a meeting in person until he was in high school and a political science teacher made it a requirement. After one meeting he was hooked and began attending regularly.
Two years ago, Holman's love of city government prompted him to run for city council. Defeated, he tried again this year. Tuesday, he was sworn in as the Ward 7 council representative. At 28, he is the youngest member of the council.
Also sworn in Tuesday to two-year terms were Greg Heiple, 48, Ward 1; Robert Castleberry, 48, Ward 3; and Lynne Miller, 67, Ward 5. Mayor Cindy Rosenthal took the oath of office for a third three-year term.
“I never thought I would be sitting up here,” Holman said. “I want to give a big thank-you to anyone who ever supported me.”
Holman replaces Linda Lockett, 74, who defeated Holman in 2011 when he made his first bid for a council seat. The two, who live just a block apart, embraced as Lockett relinquished her seat to him after the oath-taking ceremony.
“I experienced the humility of losing to Linda,” Holman said. “I learned so much from her. I hope to continue to work with her.”
Heiple replaces Roger Gallagher, and Miller replaces Dave Spaulding. Castleberry was elected to a full term after being appointed to the Ward 3 seat a year ago.
“I'm profoundly grateful to be serving,” Heiple said, adding that his motto is “lead with kindness.”
“I am so happy and excited to be sitting up here. I feel this is a tremendous honor, and I promise I am going to work really hard at this job,” Miller said.
Rosenthal issued resolutions commending the outgoing council members “for their extraordinary commitment.”
The new council faces tough issues ahead, the mayor said, including questions about high-density developments and needs for an adequate future water supply, a wastewater fee increase and establishment of a stormwater utility.