FAMILY HERITAGE

David and his mother, Mary Ann Fuller Holt
David and his mother,
Mary Ann Fuller Holt

In some ways David Holt had a partner on his journey to the State Senate. His late mother, Mary Ann Fuller Holt, aspired to work at the State Capitol.

A public servant herself, she dreamed of one job – to work for an Oklahoma State Senator. She instead chose to raise her only son. When she died suddenly when David was just 14, a new life dedicated to public service was born.

Little did Mary Ann know the impact her courage, her activism, and her conservative values would have on David. He would go on to serve a U.S. President, a U.S. Speaker of the House, a Lt. Governor, a Mayor, a U.S. Senator and several Congressmen, before becoming a Senator himself.

"Mary Ann was so interested in public service," says David's father Stroud. "If she were alive to see what he has accomplished, she would need oxygen."

The third generation of her family to call Oklahoma home, Mary Ann journeyed to Washington, D.C. for college, graduating from the same school David would - George Washington University. And like David would later do, she came home to serve in local government. But when David was born, she put her career on hold.

When David was a toddler, she was offered that dream job of working for a State Senator. David's father and grandfather tried to convince Mary Ann that they could figure out a way to make it work. But she said, "I want to see David grow up."

And now, David serves in the Oklahoma State Senate, the very place Mary Ann dreamed of working.

"Because my mom died young, a part of me wants to live for her, to do the things she was unable to do, to realize her dreams and live her values" says David. "I want to make up for the life she lost, and I want to continue my family’s tradition of public service."

Mary Ann was an education activist in the Putnam City School District, fighting for truth, conservative values and education excellence. She was also active at the state level with issues relating to gifted and talented education. She was doing her work at a conference in southwest Oklahoma when she died suddenly of a rare blood disorder.

David Holt grew up that very day.

David’s father, Stroud Holt, and Mary Ann’s father, Col. Leonard Fuller, took over David’s upbringing after Mary Ann’s death. They, too, are a big part of why David has pursued a life of public office.

David and his father Stroud Holt.
David and his father Stroud Holt.

"My dad and my grandfather did a great job raising me after my mother’s death," says David. "They sacrificed for me. They sacrificed for a lot of other people, too. My dad was a teacher, and my grandfather was a colonel in the Army. Their example, along with my mother's, instilled in me a sense of duty. That’s why I like public service."

"I don’t know if I’m paying it back, but I’m trying to pay it forward with a productive, service-oriented life."

Starting in the second half of the 20th Century, the Holts have been ranchers in the McAlester area. David’s paternal grandfather, Charles Holt, Sr., served in the Navy in World War I and spent his entire life in agriculture.

David's father graduated from the University of Oklahoma and spent three decades teaching English, first in Poteau, and then in the Putnam City School District, first at Putnam City High School and later at Putnam City North. After retirement, Stroud began ranching full time at the Holt Family Ranch west of McAlester. He dedicated St. Michael’s Chapel there in 2009, on the hill where he and David both maintain homes.

On David's mother’s side of the family, David is the fourth generation to call Oklahoma home. David's grandfather, Col. Leonard Fuller, an Osage Indian, was raised in the Pawhuska area. He was a colonel in the U.S. Army, serving in the Pacific theater during World War II, and in the Korean War, where he earned a Bronze Star. After retirement, he served in various community leadership roles in McAlester.

Col. Fuller spent the last three years of his life in the care of David and his wife, Rachel, in Oklahoma City. He died at the age of 96.


UPBRINGING


David was a Cub Scout
David (middle of first row)
was a Cub Scout, Webelos and Boy Scout, following in the legacy of his grandfather, who was a member of the first Boy Scout troop in America in Pawhuska, OK. This was taken when David was a member of Pack 599 at Wiley Post Elementary.

David Fuller Holt was born at Presbyterian Hospital in Oklahoma City on March 10, 1979, the only child of Mary Ann and Stroud Holt.

David grew up in the 30th Senate District, mostly in the Rock Knoll area at Northwest Expressway and Northwest 63rd. David attended preschool at Learning Tree and entered kindergarten at Wiley Post Elementary School, where he later served as student council president. He attended Hefner, and then moved on to Putnam City North High School as part of the first freshman class to enter the building.

At Putnam City North, David served as sophomore class president, student council spirit vice president, and graduated as a National Merit Scholar. He was named "Most Likely to Become President" by his senior classmates. David was one of 15 graduates of Putnam City Schools featured in a 2007 ad campaign for the District.


education


David graduated from his mother’s alma mater, George Washington University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor of arts in political science. David rowed competitively and was sports editor of the GW newspaper.
David’s path to public service began at GW, where he held internships with then-Oklahoma Congressmen J.C. Watts, Jr. and Ernest Istook.

Most importantly, David met his wife Rachel at George Washington.

Later, while working full-time, David obtained his Juris Doctor from the Oklahoma City University School of Law.


PUBLIC SERVICE


David and Speaker Hastert David and Speaker Hastert.

Inspired by his family and his community, David has embarked on a life of public service that has brought him to the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the State Capitol and City Hall.

While still finishing his final semester of college, David went to work full-time for U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, just feet from the Speaker’s desk, in the center of the U.S. Capitol.
On September 11, 2001, just 10 days after David proposed to Rachel at the Holt Family Ranch, terrorists struck Washington. David later wrote about that day for The Oklahoman.

David and Speaker Hastert

David bore witness not only to the events of 9/11, but also to the congressional response in the days and weeks after. David had a front row seat at the center of American politics during some of the most intense months in American history.

David and President Bush in the Oval Office
David and President Bush
in the Oval Office

In May 2002, David began two years of service in the White House. He served President Bush in his Office of Legislative Affairs as an advocate to the U.S. House of Representatives for policies that included lowering taxes and waging the War on Terror. David later wrote about President Bush's record for The Oklahoman.

In just a few years, David had gained valuable and unique experience, and he was determined to bring it home to Oklahoma.

In May 2004, David left the White House, and he and Rachel returned to Oklahoma full-time. David coordinated Oklahoma’s efforts to re-elect President Bush while also serving U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe in Oklahoma City. In 2005, David served in the State Capitol for then-Lt. Governor Mary Fallin.

In 2006, David became the Chief of Staff to Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, one of the largest cities in the nation to have a Republican Mayor.

David with Mayor Cornett and Speaker Newt Gingrich at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
David with Mayor Cornett and Speaker Newt Gingrich at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs

David served as the Mayor’s top adviser during a period of unprecedented progress in Oklahoma City. While a member of the team leading the Oklahoma City renaissance, David established a reputation as a creative, hard-working problem solver. He later wrote about that time in his book Big League City: Oklahoma City’s Rise to the NBA.

In 2010, David was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate to represent the community that he has called home since the day he was born.


grassroots


Through grassroots activism and service to highly-respected Republicans at all levels of government, David has been a leader in the conservative movement.

David has been active in Republican campaigns since childhood. In 2004, he served as coordinator of Oklahoma's successful efforts to re-elect President George W. Bush. Those efforts, through Oklahoma Victory, secured a majority for President Bush in every single one of Oklahoma's 77 counties. President Bush's success helped to fuel a sweep for the Oklahoma Republican Party in the 2004 elections.

David at 2004 RNC
David at the 2004
Republican National Convention

David was a member of the Oklahoma Delegations to the 2004 and 2008 Republican National Conventions, the latter from which he blogged for NewsOK.com. David also worked for the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Committee. He has aided filmmakers and authors documenting the presidency of George W. Bush, appearing in Newsmax Magazine, an award-winning documentary, and a New York Times-bestselling book.

In 2012, David was selected by the Oklahoma Republican Party as one of Oklahoma’s seven members of the Electoral College.

David has also been an occasional contributor to The Oklahoman's op-ed page and the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.

David currently serves on the Oklahoma Republican Party State Committee.

In 2014, David was named to the national board of GOPAC, which seeks to encourage the next generation of Republican leaders.


community leader


David is a tireless community volunteer and has served on the boards of numerous community organizations.

David was named "40 Under 40" by OKC Business News in 2006, and an "Achiever Under 40" by The Journal Record in 2010. He is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City Class XXVI. In 2010, he was featured in the "Share the Prayer" campaign.

David served from 2005 to 2008 as president of the board of Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, guiding that organization through a period of unprecedented growth and a relocation to downtown Oklahoma City. In 2013, he served as co-chair of the 25th anniversary of the Myriad Botanical Gardens. In 2014, David became President of the Ralph Ellison Foundation. He also successfully spearheaded the effort to place a portrait of Ralph Ellison in the Oklahoma State Capitol.

David's current and past board and association memberships include:


 

family life


David and Rachel at the Holt Family Ranch David and Rachel
at the Holt Family Ranch.

David and Rachel married in 2003. Rachel is a former Oklahoma County prosecutor. They have two children, George and Margaret.

The Holts are members of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church. David is a member of the Osage Nation. The Holts reside in Oklahoma City and also maintain a home at the Holt Family Ranch west of McAlester.