Not sure if you live in OKC's Ward 6? Check here and meet your city council election candidates

Ward 6 Oklahoma City Council candidates JoBeth Hamon and Marek Cornett, from left.
Ward 6 Oklahoma City Council candidates JoBeth Hamon and Marek Cornett, from left.
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City council seats are up for election for about half of Oklahoma City's residents this month.

In Ward 6 — which includes downtown and nearby neighborhoods like Classen-Ten-Penn, Stockyards City and Capitol Hill — incumbent Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon is being challenged by Marek Cornett, a business owner and the daughter-in-law of former Mayor Mick Cornett.

Hamon, 32, was elected to serve on city council in 2019 and during her time has advocated for more affordable housing, better public transit and reforming public safety in Oklahoma City. Hamon has lived in Oklahoma City for more than eight years and is the education coordinator at Mental Health Association Oklahoma. She received her bachelor's in family and community services from Oklahoma Baptist University.

Oklahoma City Council elections:Who's running? Check OKC ward map, where to vote and more

Cornett, 39, has served on Oklahoma City's Traffic Commission since 2020, and says she wants to increase walkability and density in the ward, support first responders and seek solutions for Oklahoma City's unhoused population. Cornett has lived in Oklahoma City for 10 years and is the owner of digital marketing agency Alaine Digital. From the University of Oklahoma, she received her bachelor's in business administration in finance and a master's in public administration.

The Oklahoman sent each candidate for city council the same four questions that will help voters get a feel for each candidate's priorities and stances on issues facing Oklahoma City. Find Hamon and Cornett's responses below, and follow the links to see responses from candidates from Ward 2, Ward 5 and Ward 8.

Oklahoma City Ward map

Thanks to redistricting after the 2020 census, your ward may have changed since the last city council election. To find out what Oklahoma City ward you live in, check out the city's interactive ward map.

Ward 2 Candidate Q&A:Not sure if you live in OKC's Ward 2? Check here and meet your city council election candidates

Ward 5 Candidate Q&A:Not sure if you live in OKC's Ward 5? Check here and meet your city council election candidates

Ward 8 Candidate Q&A: Not sure if you live in OKC's Ward 8? Check here and meet your city council candidates

Editor's note: Responses from all candidates were edited for brevity and clarity. Responses are in the order candidates will appear on the ballot. Additional notes from The Oklahoman are found in italics.

Q. What would be your top priority if you were to win your election?

Hamon: If I were to win re-election, my top priority is to increase the amount of and access to affordable housing in Oklahoma City. Homelessness and rising cost of living expenses are the main concerns I continue to hear from residents and have a great impact on the health and stability of our neighborhoods. As housing costs have risen dramatically over the past years, the need for housing that is accessible has become even more acute and is crucial to preventing and ending homelessness. Additionally, it can create a stabilizing effect for our neighborhoods so that longtime residents aren’t priced out and those with modest incomes continue to have access to neighborhoods in the core of the City. In particular, I am interested in the City working more diligently on implementing recommendations from the 2021 Housing Affordability Study which include creating new funding mechanisms in future bond packages, and pursuing the creation of a community land bank as a tool to preserve housing affordability in our neighborhoods.

COMPLEX CONCERNS:Public housing is disappearing as solution as unmet demand rises in Oklahoma

Cornett: My first priority is addressing our human and public safety needs. I’ve knocked thousands of doors, and Ward 6 voters want compassionate, serious solutions for the unhoused that preserves public safety and produces cleaner, safer streets. We want short- and long-term solutions, not political grandstanding. To make this possible, we have to unite as a community that incorporates everyone: residents, local business owners, public servants, non-profits, policy experts and City staff. We can create a vibrant community that includes everyone. And we need to consider that our built environment affects everything from public safety for commuters, a thriving economy that provides good paying jobs and a city we are excited to call home.

Q: Oklahoma City is the 10th-largest city in the nation by square miles, creating debate between some council members concerned the city needs to focus on taking care of existing infrastructure and others who believe the city should accommodate those wanting to live in rural areas. If elected, what would you do to ensure residents across the entire community receive comparable city services?

Hamon: Since I took office in 2019, the city has approved multiple new annexations of property into the city. I have voted "no" on these annexations, because we already struggle to provide adequate services to all areas of the city and have infrastructure that we struggle to maintain. I am interested in halting sprawl and new annexations of suburban development, maintaining agricultural and rural land use patterns in the more rural areas of the city, and removing regulatory hurdles that make infill development more costly and difficult to navigate than it should.

Oklahoma City is really, really big:How it got that way, and the challenges it faces due to its size.

Cornett: As the Ward 6 City Councilperson, my primary focus is this ward in particular. Our ward has the oldest infrastructure in the city, it’s easy for me to argue that investment should continue to be a focus here. As I’m knocking doors, neighbors regularly bring up issues for their streets (some of which have gotten to be in such poor condition they could be considered simply gravel drives) and their water lines that are regularly breaking, sewage lines that are regularly seeping and storm water drains that are regularly overflowing. To ask the citizens of Ward 6 to continue to forgo desperate infrastructure developments isn’t in my community's best interests.

OKC getting bigger:Annexation of 160 acres leaves Deer Creek residents feeling ignored.

Q. The Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area continues to show a strong rate of population growth and a low rate of unemployment. If you are elected, what would you do to ensure those trends continue?

Hamon: While unemployment rates have remained low, the rate of those actively participating in the labor force has continued to decline as well, which is a negative indicator of a healthy economy and population. If re-elected, I would continue to advocate that the city commit to removing barriers for people who are not participating in the labor force as well as use its advocacy efforts at the state capitol to push for increased wages for many of our undervalued but crucial industries. Specifically, I would like to see more policy attached to the incentive funds we provide to hold companies accountable to ensuring the jobs they are providing are available to more people in our community, particularly those with a history of incarceration. As a state with a high history of incarceration, we must ensure that the benefits of new jobs to our economy are truly accessible to all to ensure we not only have lower unemployment, but access for more of our residents to have access to economic opportunity.

More:OKC is now America's 20th largest city by population.

Cornett: First, density and incremental development. Especially in Ward 6, we’re looking for businesses and residents to call this place home. By increasing the services provided in those neighborhoods while also allowing for more affordable housing options, we create better neighborhoods.

Second, transportation infrastructure. As our population continues to grow, it’s important to provide a variety of mobility options by way of bus, bike, foot, wheelchairs or any other mechanism people may use to navigate our city.

Third, I would continue to invest in economic development opportunities. Growing our workforce has been good for our city, and continuing to utilize the economic incentive fund voters overwhelmingly approved in the 2017 General Obligation Bond. Voting against opportunities to increase our availability of high quality jobs isn’t what’s best for citizens nor is it what voters in Ward 6 want our representative to do.

Q. Oklahoma City and its police department and the state of Oklahoma currently are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether they discriminate against adults with behavioral health disabilities. Does this concern you, and how would you address the issue if you are elected?

Additional coverage on this topic can be found at

Hamon: Yes, this has been of great concern to me, and is something I regularly hear from residents about when I am in the community. If re-elected, I would continue to advocate progress on the development of the city's own appropriate mental health crisis response as well as investment in updating our dispatch system and training to dispatchers so we can better identify behavioral health crisis calls and send the individuals with the right training and knowledge to those crises.

Cornett: I understand that in this process, the DOJ division focused on the Americans with Disabilities Act will examine procedures and services at the state and local levels. It’s too early to speculate what they will find, but as a councilperson, I will be responsive if DOJ ultimately articulates concerns. I think mental health is a major challenge in our city. I support the MAPS 4 investments in mental health and would like to see more in the future.

Oklahoma City's city council election is Feb. 14

Love, and democracy, will be in the air this Valentine's Day.

Oklahoma City residents from wards 2, 5, 6 and 8 will vote on their next city councilmember on Feb. 14. To request an absentee ballot, see a sample ballot or find your polling place, visit the Oklahoma State Election Board's OK Voter Portal. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Jan. 30, and absentee ballots must be hand-delivered by 5 p.m. the day prior to an election or received by mail no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Early voting will run Feb. 9 and 10 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma County Election Board, 4201 N Lincoln Blvd. South Ward 5 residents can vote early at the Cleveland County Election Board at 641 E Robinson in Norman, or the Moore Norman Technology Center at 13301 S Pennsylvania in Oklahoma City.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the location of early voting in Cleveland County.

What's ahead?

You can find Q&As for all of the wards up for election on Feb. 14 on Look for the Ward 8 Q&A in the newspaper on Wednesday.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OKC Ward 6 city council election candidates discuss plans for office