Oklahoma Kid Governor for 2023 is Vance Proud

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christian Soto
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Mila O’Brien, the current elected Kid Governor of Oklahoma, stands as a shining example of what a sixth grader can do. As the current Kid Governor of Oklahoma, Mila aims to inspire kids of all ages.

Yet, behind Mila’s journey to becoming the Kid Governor of Oklahoma lies a narrative that connects with Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma. 

Mila’s family has been working on Vance dating back to 1979. Her grandfather, retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael O’Brien, was a medical technician. 

Fast forward to today, the O’Brien family still has a strong presence at Vance.

Starting with Mila’s grandmother, Lynda O’Brien, who is a store associate at the Vance Commissary. Lynda, who had previous jobs at Vance dating back to 1982, has been working at the Commissary for the past six years.

“I feel that Mila sees the goods that Vance provides our family,” said Lynda. “You know, she (Mila), comes out to the base and does the activities and she loves the camaraderie among the military family.”

As for Mila’s parents, the two of them play a vital role in delivering world-class pilots. 

Mila’s mother, Courtney O’Brien, is a T-6A Texan II scheduling specialist, and her father, Phillip O’Brien, is the lead mechanic who maintains the T-38C Talon aircraft at Vance. 

They both believe Mila’s relationship with Vance plays a strong role in her position as Oklahoma’s Kid Governor.

“Her grandpa Michael has instilled in her the practice of being aware of your loved ones’ struggles and being there to help them if you can,” said Phillip. 

“I believe that Mila’s early exposure to kids from all backgrounds and cultures that she met through Vance has really played a part in understanding that all kids have different skills and different mental health challenges,” said Courtney.

As for the Oklahoma Kid Governor, her campaign has a heavy emphasis on mental health for kids residing in Oklahoma.

“My main goal is to see an uptick in mental health for kids in Oklahoma,” said Mila. “I want Oklahoma’s kids to be happier, to have a better future, and even a better ‘now.’”

Mila has been making strides in her desired role. Recently, she met with licensed practitioners and lawmakers about the current state of the youth mental health crisis in Oklahoma.

From early memories at the swimming pool on Vance, to becoming the Oklahoma Kid governor, Mila’s family could not be prouder of the young girl they raised. 

“We are so proud of Mila and all that she has accomplished at the age of 11,” said Courtney. “She has spoken to massive groups of adults and kids in different settings to share her platform.” 

As for Mila, who plans to seek re-election in the upcoming 2023-24 election, the sky is the limit.