Republican Oklahoma State Senator Frank Simpson retained his seat for a third term this Tuesday with just over 70 percent of the district’s support.
The percentages may not have varied much, but the voter turnout has multiplied exponentially according to data retained by the state and county election boards. In Simpson’s first race against Darryl Roberts in 2010, Simpson won the seat with 62.67 percent of the vote — with a total of 13,408 votes to Roberts’ 7,987. The following term in 2014, Simpson pulled ahead by 76.7 percent against Democrat Chequita Williams with 13,112 votes to Williams’ 3,988. This year, Simpson took on Democrat Justin Arledge with 16,085 versus Arledge’s 6,805.
With Carter County voter turnout at 46 percent versus the 2014
numbers at just over 37 percent of registered voters going to the polls according to Carter County Election Board data, the community’s engagement is significant, Simpson said. “This was a big day,” Simpson said. “It was a tremendous win thanks to the overwhelming support from the district.”
Simpson said he felt good going in, but “never dreamed” the margin would be as wide as it turned out. “I didn’t take anything for granted,” Simpson said.
Priorities remain similar to previous terms, Simpson said, but with a few additions since his appointment as the committee chairman of appropriations for health and human services. “I’ve been meeting with the Department of Human Services over the past two months,” Simpson said. “There will be some significant changes.” Simpson said key changes will include focusing on improvements. “I’ve been working with the Office of Juvenile Affairs,” Simpson said. “I’ve been working with OJA for two or three years, but now that I’m chairman of appropriations, I can have more of a direct role in helping them provide services to troubled youth. What we’ve been able to do is shut down an outdated and poor facility in Norman that we were using to house girls. Those girls have now been moved to Shawnee to their main facility and have a lot better living conditions there.” Simpson said a bond issue was passed to help OJA build a new facility in Shawnee. The new project will move away from the institutional setting of current facilities used by the agency. It will house both boys and girls on the same campus in separate facilities.
Along the same lines, Simpson said the Department of Human Services continues to strive toward permanency with a push to locate homes for children in the foster care system. “We need adoptive families,” Simpson said. “One of our goals is to find adoptive families to move those children out of state care,” Simpson said.
Simpson said his priorities continue to include Oklahoma’s veterans and their care. “We are working with Sen. Tom Cole regarding important issues that need to be addressed,” Simpson said. “That includes the Choice program. We can do better for our veterans.” Cole also won his seat for the 4th congressional district against Democratic candidate Mary Brannon by 63.1 percent. Cole, from Moore, was first elected to the US House of Representatives in 2002.
Simpson said he is optimistic for the future of the state moving in to the upcoming legislative session. Simpson’s office at the Capitol in Oklahoma City can be reached at (405) 521-5607 or by email at simpson@oksenate.gov.