Mick Cornett became Oklahoma City’s 35th mayor on March 2, 2004. He is first mayor in the City’s history to be elected to a fourth term, and is currently the longest-serving mayor among the 50 largest cities in America.
The son of postal worker and school teacher, Mick Cornett was born and raised in Oklahoma City. From an early age, his parents taught him the value of public service and encouraged him to keep the faith, work hard and dream big. Mayor Cornett now leads a thriving community that reflects the same principles his parents instilled in him.
He has been honored by various organizations and publications as the top mayor in Oklahoma and the United States – and an international panel selected Mayor Cornett as the second-best mayor in the world. Newsweek magazine called him one of the “five most innovative mayors in the United States.” Governing magazine named him national “Public Official of the Year.” Politico placed him on the publication’s Politico 50 list of “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2015.”
He was President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors from June 2016 to June 2017.
His leadership was instrumental in bringing the NBA to OKC, and he famously put the entire city on a diet to raise awareness on the national issue of obesity. During his time in office, Oklahoma City has invested nearly $2 billion in schools and infrastructure dedicated to improve the city’s quality of life. That investment generated nearly $6 billion in private sector investment.
Mayor Cornett provided oversight for the completion of MAPS for Kids, one of the nation’s largest, citywide investments in public education. He championed the passage of MAPS 3, which includes a new convention center, a 70-acre downtown park, modern streetcar system, the nation’s most advanced whitewater rafting facility, senior wellness centers, hundreds of miles of new bike trails and sidewalks and a new fairgrounds expo building.
MAPS 3 also raised the bar on civic engagement in OKC, from guidance in the selection of projects to the more than 70 citizens serving on subcommittees responsible for steering the projects toward completion.
Mayor Cornett is a popular international speaker on the topics of health and wellness, urban design, placemaking and walkable cities. Nearly 1.5 million people worldwide have viewed his TED TALK on those topics.
He produced, wrote and directed the award-winning documentary, “Oklahoma City: The Boom, The Bust and The Bomb.” The documentary was released to critical acclaim in 2015 and earned top honors at New Jersey’s Golden Door Film Festival.
He earned a degree in journalism at the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from New York University.
He is married to Terri (Walker) Cornett and has three sons.
Path to City Hall
Mayor Cornett entered politics after a successful 20-year career in broadcast journalism, where he served as a reporter, anchor and manager. As a news anchor, he covered City Hall from 1997 to 1999, where he gained a deeper appreciation for the importance of city government in our daily lives. In 1999, Mayor Cornett left local television and started his own business, while also returning to the University of Oklahoma as a journalism professor.
In 2001, Mayor Cornett challenged a two-term incumbent on the City Council and won the seat by the largest margin over a sitting incumbent in city history. Three years later, he was elected mayor with 58 percent of the vote. At age 45, he was the youngest mayor the City had seen since 1959. Mayor Cornett was re-elected in 2006 with 87 percent of the vote, the highest percentage for any mayoral candidate in city history. He was re-elected in 2010 with 58 percent of the vote, and earned a historic fourth term in 2014 with 65.7 percent of the vote.
In addition to his leadership role with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Cornett serves on the Urban Parks Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and in leadership roles with Community Leaders of America, Building America’s Future, Smart Growth America and others.
He is one of the nation’s foremost spokesmen for municipal issues. Mayor Cornett is frequently asked to speak to Congress, the White House and national media on behalf of cities across the nation.
A proponent of infrastructure investment, Mayor Cornett co-authored an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times in 2015 with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to show the bipartisan support among mayors for a fully funded transportation infrastructure appropriations bill. Their efforts paid off, as Congress passed a five-year, $300 billion bill for federal transportation programs and infrastructure.
He has been a guest on “Meet the Press,” “Ellen,” Rachael Ray,” CNN, Fox News, Fox Business News, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Fusion TV, National Public Radio, HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “The Rachel Maddow Show” and dozens of other network and cable news and current events programs.
In 2010, Cornett hosted the mayors of the nation as they met in Oklahoma City for the Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In 2016, Oklahoma City will host a U.S. Conference of Mayors Leadership Meeting as well as well as the annual meeting of the Mayor’s Institute for Urban Design.
Awards and Honors
- Politico Magazine Politico 50 – the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics, 2015
- Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year, 2010
- World Mayors, No. 2 Mayor in the World, 2010
- Newsweek Magazine Top Five Innovative Mayors, 2012
- American Architectural Foundation’s Joseph P Riley Award for Leadership in Urban Design
- Dean McGee Award Winner, 2013
- Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame Inductee, 2014
- OU School of Journalism Distinguished Alumni Award, 2011
- Governor’s Arts Awards: The George Nigh Public Service in the Arts Award, 2015
- Oklahoma Mayor of the Year, 2013
- Oklahoma State Medical Association “Prevention in Practice” award, 2010
- Blue Cross Blue Shield “Rodney L. Huey, M.D. Memorial Champion of Oklahoma Health” award, 2010
- Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition “Public Official” award, 2010
- U.S. Conference of Mayors “City Livability Outstanding Achievement Award,” 2010
- Fitness Magazine “2010 Champion of Health and Fitness,” 2010
- Guest of the First Lady of the United States at the 2010 State of the Union.
- Putnam City Schools Wall of Fame