20 somethings run for same seat in OK district

Posted at 6:33 PM, Apr 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-20 19:33:50-04

Currently, James Leewright holds District 29 as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, however will pursue other endeavors as a candidate for the Oklahoma State Senate.

With his seat becoming vacant this campaign cycle, three candidates have moved forward to file and replace Leewright.

The group includes 22-year-old Kyle Hilbert and 21-year-old Macy Gleason.

Both Hilbert and Gleason are students at Oklahoma State University and grew up near one another in Depew and Mannford respectively.

However, Hilbert will be the Republican candidate for House District 29 while Gleason will campaign against Rick Parris to become the Democratic nominee for the same seat.

It is not unprecedented that a candidate as young as Hilbert and Gleason may hold high office in the state of Oklahoma.

In 2008, John Tyler Hammons was elected Mayor of Muskogee as a 19-year-old freshman student at the University of Oklahoma.

Hammons was elected for a second term before pursuing his law degree in 2012 and remains the youngest person to hold a high office in Oklahoma.

Though young, both candidates have many ideas to better their district and hope to campaign all across Oklahoma in order to voice their message and speak with voters.

Gleason, who is aspiring to become a teacher, says her decision to run for state legislature was not taken lightly and refers to an experience that motivated her to help create change.

“I went to a school and I walked in and had my lunch. The teacher said that we are going to have to lock your lunch in the closet because these kids wont steal anything, but they will steal food because they're hungry. To hear that and to not be motivated to do something about it, when I have the ability to do so, wasn't an option for me,” Gleason said.

Gleason will begin student teaching next semester and hopes to help save district schools from falling further during the Oklahoma budget crisis.

Hilbert, who will graduate from OSU in May, says his campaign will examine many issues regarding the state of the district, but will primarily focus on maintaining his core values.

“I'm going to be the same person that I was before I started campaigning, during the campaign, and after, hopefully, being elected. I hope to be that person people can count on. Not everyone is going to be able to agree with me, that's just not possible, but at the end of the day they know that I'm going to be making decisions that stick true with my values,” Hilbert said.

Both Hilbert and Gleason will raise money, create brands, and try to separate themselves from one another during the campaign trail.

To learn more about Kyle Hilbert click here.

To learn more about Macy Gleason click here.