Editor’s note: Candidates for state and national offices on the ballot for the August 28 runoff election were invited to respond to questions for profiles in The Ardmoreite. Those who chose to respond will be featured alongside their ballot opponent. For those that did not participate, basic information will be provided.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in geology from Oklahoma State University and a law degree cum laude from Oklahoma City University. I have lived in Edmond for 25 years and I’m actively involved in my family’s farm and ranch in Ellis County. I serve as a trustee for Church of the Servant United
Methodist Church where I have been a member for almost 30 years. I was first elected in 2008 to the office of Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner. Before being elected as a Commissioner, I spent almost six years as an administrative law judge, where I was honored to receive the Commissioners’ Public Servant Award in 2001. I have more than 22 years experience in the private sector, including owning and operating my own law practice and geology consulting firm. I have a passion for serving others and Oklahoma.
2. Why are you running for this office?
If we want different results in Oklahoma, we must do things differently. Instead of complaining or criticizing, I decided I could offer something different. I am running because I am ready to put my diverse experience in the private and public sector, my background in rural and urban Oklahoma and my skills as a proven leader and problem solver to work every day to improve the lives of Oklahomans.
3. What do you think are the top three biggest challenges facing our state?
The biggest challenges include the need for greater collaboration of elected officials to develop long-term solutions to a better budget process that balances necessary government services with the cost of such services, improve education outcomes and diversify the economy to promote growth and job opportunities.
4. What are your top five priorities to address while in office? Those priorities would include hiring the best staff possible with the current $372,000 budget allocated to the Lt. Governor; building good relationships with the Governor, the Legislature, statewide elected officials; working and facilitating with others on the budget process, improving education outcomes, diversifying the economy with a goal towards economic growth and increasing job opportunities in the private sector; helping facilitate the implementation of steps needed to produce long-term solutions in the areas where I can be most effective; and making effort everyday to improve the lives of Oklahomans and the standing of Oklahoma across the nation.
5. When faced with a specific situation that puts your personal viewpoint at odds with a great many of your constituents, what decision do you make and why?
As a corporation commissioner, I have dealt with making difficult decisions on a day to day basis that are often at odds with some person or group. When faced with such decisions, I follow the law, the constitution and my values in working with others to craft a solution that seems right and for the greatest good.
What is your proposed plan for tourism and parks service throughout the state?
Starting in January 2019, the tourism statute changes and the Governor will now appoint the executive director of the tourism department, 74 O.S. Sec. 2206, and the eight member board appointed by the Governor will now be advisory only, 74 O.S. 2203. Based on the statutory change, any plans from the Lt Governor involving tourism will need to start with the Governor, executive director and the advisory board. My proposed plan would start with a request to the Governor to facilitate an evaluation of the tourism department with the executive director which would encompass revenue sources, personnel, expenses and assets. Once that evaluation has taken place, I would like to facilitate with interested leaders, tourism personnel and those from the private sector involved in tourism locally and statewide to develop a long term plan for growing and improving tourism across the state.