Editor’s note: This is part one of a three part series summarizing the responses of area candidates that participated in Thursday’s Candidate Forum.

The Ardmore Chamber of Commerce and Ardmore Young Professionals hosted a candidate forum Thursday evening for those candidates running in contested primaries this election cycle. The official primary election is slated for June 26, with in-person voting June 21, 22, and 23.
Each candidate was asked a series of questions and allotted a short time in which to respond. The full video is available online at Ardmoreite.com/videos. Here are some highlights from each candidate.
Republican candidates for the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, District 48

Jason May
Jason May, an Ardmore attorney, has been practicing law in Ardmore for nine years. “I decided that something had to be done because I got sick of turning on the news every night and seeing what our state did that day to cause an embarrassment,” May said. May also said the state has serious financial problems and proposed a statewide audit.  May reiterated an earlier promise not to accept campaign donations from any special interest groups. “I’m doing that because I feel like lobbyists are a big part of the problem with public office, because then they’re not interested in helping you, the citizens.”
May said the funding issues plaguing the state were a result of promised funding not being applied where it was promised.
“I think we need to see if the money that we already have coming in is enough to fund the services of the State,” May said. “I suspect that it is. We hear about the Department of Transportation losing $230 million and the Health Department stashing away $40 million in a secret account because they don’t want the State to know about it. That shouldn’t happen.” May said Oklahomans should be outraged at the apparent mismanagement of funds and suggested creating an online resource that would allow taxpayers to track all spending down by the state.
“That’s why I think we need more people in office who are not politicians. People who are going up there to actually make a difference, not to line their pockets and help their buddies,” May said. “You should demand accountability and transparency from your elected officials.”
In addition to his promise not to accept campaign funds from special interest groups, May has pledged to donate his salary, if elected, to local nonprofits.
Tammy Townley
Tammy Townley described herself as a ‘Carter County girl.’ “I want nothing more than to be your voice at the Capitol,” said Townley. Townley said she felt strongly that she should step up and be part of the solution for the state.  Townley said she understands the issues seniors face and feels she can make a difference. “I’d like to shore up the ADvantage program to make sure that the program continues with no stutter or hiccoughs,” Townley said. Townley also said she has concerns about the opportunities for businesses in the area, especially when it comes to the number of “quality employees” currently available. “I would like to put more emphasis on the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center, on our University Center,” Townley said. She said there is a need for training to bring in new businesses. “That is the way we’re going to build a better economy, by bringing in more business so there’s more revenue, more jobs, more spending.”
Townley said she believes the state is on the right track and should continue with the measures that are currently in place.