Job 1 -- Protecting your individual rights
I have a passion to protect the inalienable rights granted to us in the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. In those first two amendments to the Constitution are these core freedoms: speech, religion, press, assembly, redress of grievances, and to bear arms -- are under siege by hostile, anti-American voices in the highest offices and institutions. I have no higher duty, if elected, than to work with other legislators to protect these freedoms. The right to life of unborn Oklahomans ranks very high on my list of priorities. This freedom, yet unrecognized in law, deserves our attention continuously until the victory over injustice for the most innocent is won.
The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association has ENDORSED only a handful of candidates in Oklahoma. I am honored to be named among those few. Voters are telling me at the door how important this right is to them, so I am pleased to defend citizens against "common sense gun laws" (a popular phrase used by people who would redefine the 2nd Amendment) that abridge their rights.
Law enforcement / systemic racism
With one son in law enforcement, and another serving in the Air National Guard, I believe our LEOs, military and all first responders deserve much more credit and support for their selfless devotion to public safety and public service. I believe that "systemic racism" is a myth perpetuated by people who want to "tear down the system." America's founding principles are built on timeless Judeo-Christian ethics. Individual cops and members of every profession may fail to live up to the high ideals, but "the system" is not broken. We must expose and remove every bad actor in public service (including politicians!) and continue to seek to live up to our great U.S. Constitution, described by author Cleon Skousen as giving human civilization a "Five Thousand Year Leap."
Let’s stop the waste!
I am committed to defunding, reversing or limiting the impact of bad legislation that expands government authority beyond its constitutional limits, both state and federal.
I’m passionate about business
I see small business as a powerful engine that employs half of all working Americans. I grew up in my dad’s small businesses in Anadarko. What a great education! I will fight for small business against oppressive government regulation, taxes, and bad management habits. I see jobs in a post-COVID Oklahoma as top priority. Manufacturing must be sought but small business must be nurtured.
Life and liberty are paramount
I defend life at all stages – from conception to natural death. I believe that all children need better protection and defense from abortion, abuse, neglect and trafficking. I am outspoken as an advocate for parental rights, individual liberties and accepting responsibility for one’s own choices. This has been my position for 40+ years.
Healthcare matters to me
I have fought to protect access to rural healthcare in this district for years. Rural healthcare faces profound challenges, as does healthy living choices by citizens, which exacerbates the healthcare demand. I advocate for more competition and transparency to bring down costs for patients and reduce taxpayer burden.
What are the issues in District 56?
Frequently I’m asked to identify key needs in the district. Of course there are many, but here’s a starting point for discussion:
Access to good water, remains the greatest need in Western Oklahoma, and in Chickasha (the largest community in this district), the community wrestles with an inadequate supply of water that barely meets (and occasionally fails) clean water standards. This intractable problem needs a solution that doesn't bankrupt us.
In communities to the west, (Caddo and Kiowa counties) has nearly disappeared and jobs are precious, so economic development is the challenge that competes with water as the highest priority.
Rural healthcare operates on a razor-thin margin. The cry for Medicaid expansion is in the air, but the cost may be unmanageable. In Chickasha, I led the campaign to save the hospital from closure with a quarter-cent sales tax that passed by a huge margin and allowed us to build a $17 million surgery and imaging center. Rural healthcare faces profound challenges, as does healthy living choices by citizens, which exacerbates the healthcare demand.
How can we expand business?
Every day I get asked how we can encourage business growth in the district. Realizing that I have no experience as a legislator but 40 years in business, I’ll offer these recommendations:
Reduce the cost of government through enhanced and refined auditing that seeks to raise funds by stopping waste and fraud. Then, we must find the courage to publicly announce and herald the savings as the conservative alternative to pro-tax thinking by our opponents. Merely opposing new taxes is not enough but finding revenue without new taxes is politically superior.
Increasing transparency in every state agency is the best path to shame wasteful spenders in government and let voters see if spending matches their priorities. Better budgeting and management can save cash. Lifelong appointments are always wrong. We must seek policies that increase accountability and stop the spend-it-all-or-lose-it mentality in all agencies.
Let’s protect energy producers.Raising taxes on oil and gas, while giving generous subsidies to wind energy, is counterintuitive to the voters. They see it as a scheme. Tax policies should be revised and pension plans should be reformed, no matter how unpopular, because unfunded liabilities are unfair to the taxpayer.
What would I do first if elected?
I’ve been asked several times what would be my first priority in office. Knowing that an elected member of the house has a small voice in a 101-member body, I’d like to offer this:
Understanding that a coalition is needed to achieve any desired legislative outcome, I'd work first to find like-minded House members who wish to uphold conservative, pro-business priorities.
Profit is not a sin
Since business profits are a key engine to all progress, I'd join any willing legislators to identify new legislation to enhance business growth. The public policy minds who say "profit is a 4-letter word," and who see companies large and small as the greedy exploiters of the working poor need to be addressed head-on. Profit is not a sin. It is the glorious fuel for building strong communities, healthcare priorities, prospering families, stable state infrastructure, and pathways for new technologies. I am a strong advocate for pro-business arguments, solutions, and innovation. I'm against new taxes and regulations.
Improvements to schools
Support classroom teachers but control rapidy expanding administrations. Expand school liberty to give families greater freedom in pursuing education that works for their children. Emphasize classical learning in all grades to give students a greater understanding of historical narratives. Destigmatize home schooling by recognizing high-achieving homeschool graduates and work to integrate sports activities for families making all schooling choices. Work to end the college vs. career-learning battle that some leaves students feeling superior if they choose college or inferior if they choose trades. Improve Internet service to rural Oklahomans whose homes and schools need equal access to online resources.
Should we expand Medicaid (SQ802)?
Reducing freedoms in the market does not serve the greater good for citizens. If we approve SQ802, Medicaid expansion will bring federal dollars to Oklahoma, but that will create a $250+ million obligation for taxpayers (our share of the program after federal dollars are expended) and it may take otherwise insured individuals out of their plans to add to this 'free' program, which reduces competition and options.
Who am I?
I’ve worked in communications for 38 years, first in news, then in professional communications for three universities, and then as a consultant for businesses large and small.
I’ve enjoyed taking a key role in community development, education and charity. I’ve been an active volunteer for the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce for 34 years, helping to coordinate its Civic Hall of Fame Awards program in recent years. I was honored in 2006 to be named Oklahoma Communicator of the Year in a joint announcement by two professional organizations. I’ve served on eight various boards, including the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame, the Chickasha Festival of Light, and The Salvation Army.
I was raised on a farm in rural Caddo County on land that's been in the family for more than a century, home base to six generations of my big family. My wife, Kathie, and I have four adult children and one daughter-in-law.
I have a reputation as a problem-solver. My long career in business, education, communications and charity have shown that I’m a team player and consensus builder.
Why am I running?
I love this question. I get it from voters every day. We seem to get narrow, one-issue candidates who play only one note in the band. My experience in education + business + communications + philanthropy set me apart as a broadly educated and broadly interested citizen-candidate.
I endorse robust capitalism, energy and agriculture, philanthropy and education. I oppose political correctness and its attack on people of faith, free speech and 2nd Amendment rights. I believe that most problems have answers that are within our reach if not within our capacity to collaborate. I believe that better communication -- both from the voters to the legislature and from the legislature to the citizens -- is not a bumper-sticker phrase as a priority, but an objective that I can help address.
I believe that pro-socialism thinking in our universities must be confronted with pro-capitalism advocacy and education. I grew up working in my dad's half-dozen small businesses in Anadarko (in this district), so I see small business as an engine that needs respect and support against high taxation and burdensome regulations.
On what panels have I served?
The Salvation Army of Grady & Caddo Counties (chairman) / Chickasha Festival of Light Board (member) / David Waldorf Performing Arts Council (member) / Chickasha Affirming Community Through Service (Chairman) / GEAR-UP Advisory Board (member) / Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame (member) / Oklahoma Communicators Council (chairman) / Oklahoma College Public Relations Association (chairman) / Grady Memorial Hospital Quality Performance Initiative Council (member) / Chickasha Public Schools Strategic Planning Taskforce (member)/