Monday, July 10, 2006

Leadership on the Ballot

Leadership is on the ballot in Senate District 26 where three Democrats are vying for the opportunity to face an opportunist Republican from Cordell in November. Sayre attorney and combat veteran Tom Ivester, veteran ag teacher and magazine publisher from Sentinel Larry Peck, and Canute insurance agent and businessman Wayne Walters addressed an audience of about 50 Kiowa County voters at a candidate forum in Hobart tonight. Each of the candidates is seeking votes to fill the seat being vacated by long-time Senator Gilmer Capps.

The three Senate candidates spoke following a forum that highlighted four candidates for Kiowa County Commissioner District 1: Tim Binghom, Stan Bredy, Steve Hooper, and Donnie Squires. There's no Republican in the race so one thing's for sure, the district will be represented by a Democrat!

Ivester spoke briefly of his experience as an Army officer and said that the district deserves extraordinary leadership. He said the bulk of his campaign contributions have come through independent grassroots fundraising. He said if minimum wage became an issue in southwest Oklahoma he would certainly listen wholeheartedly to concerns about the issue and acknowledged that "you can't raise a family on minimum wage." Rural communities need two things to succeed , he said, and that is access to healthcare and a school. Like the other two candidates in the race he said it would be "over our dead bodies" that we would vote for forced school consolidation. And like the other two candidates, Ivester noted that economic development is the top issue for rural southwest Oklahoma. The key, however, he said, is how do you do it? He told the crowd that extraordinary leadership would make the economic development a reality. "I want to make things happen in southwest Oklahoma," Ivester said. "I'm running for State Senate because we need leadership that offers opportunity and demands responsibility, a health insurance system that's fair to middle class families, and practical ideas for jobs to give our economy a shot in the arm." As to practical ideas, Ivester said he thinks it's going to take more than prayers to get a new sewer system for one community in the district. "It will take leadership, and working together."

Larry Peck told the audience of his leadership experience as an ag teacher and FFA advisor for 27 years in Sentinel. Also a farmer and rancher, Peck and his wife Mary publish Ag Youth magazine. "I will speak up for the citizens of this district, I will take your voice to the state capitol," he said. "I was raised right, as a Democrat, believing in hard work and common sense, I have western Oklahoma values." Peck said the most important issue was keeping the schools strong and rural economic development. "No one does a better job teaching kids and making good citizens than our rural schools. I will fight to the bitter end to protect our rural schools from forced consolidation." He suggested that expanding the career tech centers would be a key to economic development for the region that would also help keep young people in the area.

Wayne Walters said he is committed to bringing quality jobs, affordable health care and the best education to Western Oklahoma families. Walters thanked his wife, a Canute school board member, for her strong support and for being an active part of the campaign build on the power of faith and personal responsibility. He told of the rewards of hard work and perseverance through tough times for his family and for the region, and vowed to take that experience to the state capitol. Walters said if elected he would do whatever was needed to help raise the minimum wage, noting that you can't raise a family on $5.15 an hour, not in the city, and not in rural Oklahoma. A one time instructor in farm and ranch management at Western Oklahoma Vo-Tech, Walters said the #1 issue facing the district is economic development. "We have to stop the out migration of our kids" through economic development. Walters said "partisan politics and special interest groups are killing us, we've got to do what's right for Oklahoma. I am a Democrat and I will do what is right for southwest Oklahoma." He finished by saying that his father taught him that you should always leave things a little better than you found them, "I feel that responsibility to do what we can to make healthcare accessible" and to do something about economic development for the people in SD 26.

State Representative Ryan McMullen moderated the forum that was organized by Kiowa County Democratic Party chair Bobbie Dacus-Osmond. Senator Gilmer and Wanda Capps attended the forum. Some of my favorite area Democrats were there also, including Patty Johnson, Bill Metcalf, Dennis and Linda Binghom, Joe Hancock, Jan Celsor, Sam Pfenning, Kiowa County Sheriff Buck Jones and Reid Davis. Governor Brad Henry was represented by Field Coordinator David Floyd.

Do you have a favorite in this race? If so, comment on this entry, let us know why you support one or the other candidate. This will undoubtedly be a tight race, so check out the websites for these candidates soon.

3 comments:

Kiowa County Vet said...

This was a good forum. It was not tilted in the favor of any candidate since they had to all answer the same questions. I felt like Tom Ivester had the edge. He is a veteran of Afghanistan. His leadership and service to his country make him the favorite in this race. He has spent his entire life in a small town and has been funded by small town people.

texlahoma said...

The wage-hike proposal died when Democrats did not gather enough support to pass the bill. Amendments need only a simple majority, while bills require 25 votes for passage.

The final vote on the bill was 23 Republicans and one Democrat -- Tom Ivester of Elk City -- against, and 23 Democrats in favor of it.

texlahoma said...

The wage-hike proposal died when Democrats did not gather enough support to pass the bill. Amendments need only a simple majority, while bills require 25 votes for passage.

The final vote on the bill was 23 Republicans and one Democrat -- Tom Ivester of Elk City -- against, and 23 Democrats in favor of it.