Young Mayor Attracting Spotlight

Wednesday, May 14th 2008, 5:53 pm
By: News On 6

He's barely old enough to vote, but 19-year-old John Tyler Hammons is now the mayor of Muskogee. He got a lot of attention when he announced his bid for public office and is going to get a lot more attention now.

The News On 6's Steve Berg reports Hammons won by a landslide, 70%. Now he's getting interview requests from national news networks, and talk shows, even a reality TV show.

Hammons is trying out his new office at Muskogee City Hall, just to get a feel for it.

"This is humbling.  I mean, this isn't my office yet," said Hammons.

In fact, the computer isn't even plugged in yet, but next Monday, it will be official. He's the youngest American mayor in a city the size of Muskogee or larger. Even more impressive maybe, he made some Muskogee history too on election night.

"I carried every single precinct, unconfirmed reports, that's never happened, and unconfirmed reports that I won by the largest margin ever," said Hammons.

How he did it, he thinks, has something to do with that computer. A combination of high-tech and grass roots, with web-based campaigning that helped negate his opponents' spending advantage, by way of e-mails.

"Y'know hey, only so and such more weeks left, only two weeks left, make sure you tell all your friends," said Hammons. "Y'know it was just a way to send out massive amounts of information very quickly and for free."

And of course, his age no doubt has a lot to do with the notoriety.

There probably weren't any other small town mayors mentioned on The View this week. CNN and CBS are scheduled for Thursday morning. Jay Leno is calling. A producer wants to do a reality show on him.

"I can see the news.  I can see being on talk shows.  But you want to do a reality TV show about me.  That's the one I'm having a tough time grasping," said Hammons.

He says the attention is interesting, but he hopes to use it to put a positive spotlight on Muskogee.

"The campaign was selfish if you will," said Hammons. "It's not about me anymore.  It has to be about Muskogee.  It has to be about the community.  What are we all doing together."

Hammons ran on a platform of a more open government. He says his first project will be to create an independent ethics committee for city officials.

Hammons will be transferring from OU to NSU, so he can keep up with his studies.