New Altus mayor excited to continue city’s growth

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 13, 2021 at 6:15 PM CDT
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ALTUS, Okla. (KSWO) - The new mayor of Altus says he hopes to continue leading the town in the right direction.

Robert Garrison took over the position from former Mayor Jack Smiley last week. Garrison says he never envisioned becoming mayor when he ran for City Council, but now that he’s in the position, he is excited for what he can do to help grow Altus in the future.

Mayor Garrison has lived in Altus for more than 50 years. For nearly 30 of that, he’s worked as a coach and teacher at Altus Public Schools.

“Most of the community knows me and knows what kind of person I am. People know that if they contact me, I get right back with them as soon as I can. I’m pretty straight forward, I’m not a person who likes to be out there, even doing this interview is very hard for me to do. I’m a very quiet, humble type person,” Garrison said.

Garrison was the Ward 4 City Councilman until last week, when the council voted to name him mayor.

“Knowing that they put that trust in means something big when people that we all work together respect you enough to put you in that spot,” Garrison said.

Now that he’s in that spot, Garrison said he wants to continue Altus on the path it’s on.

“As mayor, I want to continue doing what we’re doing on the council side of this, which is I’m going to really see Altus push forward on their MAPS projects and the beautification of Altus and keep pushing Altus the way we’re going presently. We’re really in a good spot right now, we just need to keep moving Altus that direction,” Garrison said.

Going forward, Garrison expects there to be some challenges but thinks the people around him, and the people who came before him, will help mitigate those.

“I think the main challenges are going to be the same as any challenges you get, there’s always a faction that will say why did you pick him instead of someone else. But I don’t see really any challenges, the city is in good hands with Gary Jones and Jack Smiley left it in a pretty good spot for me to step in and go,” Garrison said.

Garrison will be filling the rest of Smiley’s term, which is a year and a half. He said he’s not sure what the future holds after that time is up.

Since he’s now mayor, Garrison’s council seat is now open. The council is already working on finding people who are interested in filling the remainder of that term. Garrison said they’ve had five or six people express interest already but is unsure of when they’ll make a decision.

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