The Duncan Banner
From watching the morning rush of customers into his family’s doughnut shop to operating a successful dental practice in the same office on the same street for 34 years, Mike Nelson has watched Duncan’s history unfold around him.
Now on the cusp of turning 60, Nelson finds himself seeking a second term on the City Council of the town where he grew up.
“This is my hometown,” Nelson said. “I’m proud of it. I just want to give back to the community.”
First elected in 2011, Nelson has two opponents in his bid for re-election. If experience at City Hall is considered a plus, he may have a trump card -- he also served five years on the Duncan Planning Commission.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Nelson has practiced dentistry from the same Elk Avenue location for 34 years.
During that time, Elk has been transformed from a two-lane blacktop to a five-lane concrete thoroughfare, and Duncan Regional Hospital has grown from a single-story hospital to a sprawling campus.
The changes in Duncan are the result of community support, said Nelson, who said there are more things he’d like to do in city government before leaving office.
“A councilman’s job is not to manage anyone. A councilman’s job is to listen to the people. Three or four nights every week, I’m listening to somebody on the phone, and I can either help solve their problems or sometimes just listen to them. They just want to be heard, so I’m helping people that way,” he said.
If re-elected, Nelson said he would like to continue to make Duncan more “family friendly.”
An avid reader of history, he has been active in the Duncan Art Guild and Stephens County Historical Society. He walks about three miles a day in his neighborhood, he said.
Nelson also is an ordained minister. He performs marriages throughout the year and asks that payment for the service be given to the Stephens County Humane Society.
Nelson has been married to Barbara for six years. He has three grown children and five grandchildren. His three children are graduates of Duncan High School and OU.
As his children were growing up, Nelson encouraged them to take pride in their community, as he said he was taught by his parents.
They owned Nelson’s Doughnuts, and he spent his high school years working at the shop before school. This earned his the nickname “Doughnut” from his classmates.
Nelson said he is glad to see other people taking an interest in the city and reacts to drawing two opponents as a positive sign.
“The more we get people involved, the more pride we have in our town. Without pride in our town, we can’t improve,” he said. “I’m proud of where we’re going. The future looks bright.”