Oklahoma City’s first openly gay councilman takes office

April 9, 2019
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In this Monday, April 8, 2019 photo, Councilman-elect James Cooper reacts to a shout from a marcher as he participates in a march in support of the LGBTQ community, in Oklahoma City, Okla. (Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma City’s first openly gay councilman has taken the oath of office.

James Cooper was sworn in Tuesday along with other council members elected in February.

Mayor David Holt joined LGBT advocacy group Freedom Oklahoma and dozens of people waiving rainbow flags Monday during Cooper’s celebratory walk to City Hall, where he thanked them for their support.

Cooper has served on Oklahoma City’s transportation board and campaigned on expanding public transit and making the city more pedestrian friendly and accepting.

Holt tweeted that Cooper’s election shows City Hall is for “OUR neighbors who have not always felt welcome.”

The mayor has heralded the “new energy” the 37-year-old Cooper and 28-year-old Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon will bring to City Hall. Five of eight council members are 40 or younger, as is Holt.