Oklahoma Gazette takes a look at the candidates for Oklahoma attorney general

Oklahoma Gazette takes a look at the candidates for Oklahoma attorney general. 

By Nazarene Harris

The underdog

Mark Myles is the Democratic candidate for Oklahoma attorney general. - ALEXA ACE
Photo by Alexa Ace

If 62-year-old attorney Mark Myles wins Oklahoma’s general election race in November, he will become the state’s first black attorney general. The opportunity to make history, he said, is exciting. And the chance to change Oklahoma for the better is even more so.

“There’s enormous opportunity here to make a difference in the lives of Oklahomans,” Myles said.

As attorney general, Myles said he would make changes in the state’s prisons, health laws, environment, schools and streets.

He was born in Germany, where his father was stationed in the U.S. Army.

The family moved to Lawton when Myles was in the sixth grade. He spent his youth immersed in books and basketball, football and track.

“I was decent,” Myles said of his athletic abilities.

His campaign manager, Daniela Busciglio, tagged along to a local coffee shop where Myles met with Oklahoma Gazette for an interview.

“He’s being modest,” she said. “He had several letterman jackets.”

Myles smiled and shrugged.

“They’re gone now, but that’s OK,” he said.

Myles’ letterman jackets, along with other sentimental items like a congratulatory letter he received from his former boss at IBM, were stolen from his Mesta Park home a few weeks ago in a burglary he believes was political in nature.

“I walked away from the Red Cross wanting to be more like the people I volunteered with.”

“It seems that way,” Myles said. “Why wouldn’t they take my wife’s jewelry, the furniture, our fine dining ware? But it’s just stuff. Life goes on.”

Myles, the only Democrat who chose to run against Hunter, said he doesn’t have any enemies and has experienced nothing but kindness during his 77 Strong Tour, his mission to visit and campaign in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties before election day.

After high school, Myles attended Oklahoma State University, where he studied economics and engineering. Following college, he enjoyed 21 years with IBM until April 19, 1995, when the Oklahoma City Bombing changed his life.

Myles’ office was not far from where the bombing occurred, and the YMCA building that was impacted by the bombing was where his daughter was scheduled to attend daycare.

“Just a few weeks before the bombing, we decided to keep her home a little while longer,” Myles said.

All of it, he said, hit too close to home.

“I didn’t understand how that could happen or why,” Myles said.

He poured himself into volunteer work with the Red Cross and felt closer to Oklahomans than he’d ever felt in his life.

“I was around these people whose lives were all about service,” Myles said. “I walked away from the Red Cross wanting to be more like the people I volunteered with.”

Myles left IBM and went to law school at University of Oklahoma.

After working as a prosecutor and defense attorney, Myles said, he is ready for the job he has dreamed of for years. As Oklahoma’s attorney general, Myles said he would bring some much-needed change to the state.

His four priorities would be ensuring public safety, improving public health, gauging public trust and looking out for the public’s interest.

Specific goals he hopes to achieve include ensuring prison time for violent criminals while rehabilitating and releasing nonviolent criminals. He would redirect the money that would otherwise be used to house nonviolent criminals to fund teachers and schools.

Election day

The term of Oklahoma’s attorney general begins the first Monday in January and runs parallel to the term of the state’s new governor. Hunter or Myles will serve as state attorney general for four years.

The general election is Nov. 6. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 12.