I grew up in Choctaw but have lived in Bethany for over 20 years. I am a civilian employee of the Oklahoma City Police Department in the Evidence Management Unit where I transferred after spending six years as a 911 dispatcher. My wife and I have three children. I joined the Libertarian Party in 2000 and have served as state chairman as well as in other positions as a party officer and I have been a candidate for legislative, municipal, and county office. Most recently I ran for Oklahoma County Clerk in 2016, winning over 89 thousand votes (36%), making me the most successful Libertarian candidate ever in Oklahoma.
Why are you running for this office?
I am running for Governor because we have two establishment parties who are more concerned with fighting with each other and with gaining power than they are with serving the interests of the people of Oklahoma and what we need instead is leadership that will empower individuals in this state to live as they choose, increasing your liberty to be more productive, create better communities, find more personal fulfillment, and become more prosperous. The key to a better life is not found in making more laws, it is within each of us. It’s time we had political leadership who understands that.
What do you think are the top three biggest challenges facing our state?
Our education system is controlled by a 150-member super school board at the state Capitol that is entirely unqualified to make decisions about your child’s education. Authority and responsibility for what happens in the classroom needs to be moved back to the local level within reach of parents and teachers. Until that happens, no amount of funding will significantly improve student outcomes. b) Our incarceration rate is the highest in nation. We must stop putting people into the prison system who shouldn’t be there in the first place, it is immoral and too expensive to fail to prioritize cell space for only those who are a genuine threat to harm others. c) The state budget must be trimmed of corporate welfare and tax favoritism, these things are wrong in and of themselves and our failure to prioritize spending leaves core functions of state government underfunded.
What are your top five priorities to address while in office?
My priorities will be: a) Fixing education by putting authority and responsibility at the local level within reach of parents and teachers. b) Addressing our unacceptable incarceration rate through sentencing reform, making the provisions of SQ 780 retroactive, increasing support for drug courts, and improving how we address mental health within the criminal justice process. c) Prioritizing state budget spending to focus on core services and eliminate favoritism for special interests. d) Addressing mismanagement and poor practices among state agencies that lead to woeful inefficiencies and waste. The current administration has been asleep at the switch for eight years, it’s time for a Governor who will pay attention. e) Promoting economic growth by reducing regulations that stifle small businesses and by working to focus availability of education for our young people in high school and secondary education institutions on filling deficiencies in necessary and well-paying trade skill occupations.
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?
When faced with an issue where popular opinion does not match my personal view, I will weigh the depth of that opinion against what principle might be at stake. If the principle is sufficiently important that I must go against what most people would want, I will make the effort to communicate my position and why I believe it essential to stand on principle, but I do not believe this would be likely to happen during my term.
What is your proposed plan for protecting the states natural resources, including water?
In regard to natural resources, particularly water, in my view water is a valuable and finite resources that is continually becoming ever more so. It will be incumbent upon the next Governor to proceed carefully regarding water resources. One of the establishment party candidates has been a mayor of a city that has successfully acquired water from rural areas to be used for recreational purposes in his city. We cannot afford to have political decisions made in favor of the short-term interests of a small group of powerful people if we are to ensure that resources continue to be available for all Oklahomans.
Chris Powell, Runoff election - Governor - Libertarian