MIAMI – Candidates for all parties and one non-partisan contest in the November election were invited and those who accepted the sounded off at last Friday’s Eggs ‘N Issues on different topics and political platforms.
U.S. Representative District 2
The race for the seat of Oklahoma U.S. Representative District 2 is between Republican incumbent Markwayne Mullin, Libertarian Richard Castaldo, Democrat Jason Nichols and Independent John Foreman.
Independent candidate for U.S. Representative District 2, John Foreman said he is a moderate running in a campaign challenged by partisan politics.
“My campaign is not about the individual, it’s about the parties,” Foreman said. “We’ve got to fix the politics issue. We need to stop and think about who we are voting for,” he said.
With a 17 trillion dollar debt, reducing debt and balancing the budget are Foreman’s priorities.
Foreman believes the state would benefit from saving more money for independent businesses.
“You want to grow the economy, put more money in the hands of the little guy,” he said.
Due to a miscommunication or misunderstanding Mullin was unable to make commentary as a candidate due to believing he was appearing in his official capacity and therefore prohibited from campaigning.
Castaldo and Nichols were invited and did not attend the forum.
State Representative District 7
The Oklahoma State Representative District 7 seat is a contest between incumbent Democrat Ben Loring and Republican William Leonard.
Leonard told the attendees he is a Constitutional Conservative who looks to the Constitution, his faith and other experts for advice and guidance in his decision making.
The U.S. Army Veteran’s lengthy military service and experience included tours in Afghanistan and in military contract work in Egypt. Leonard said his training and experiences taught him how to work as part of a team and helped develop team leadership skills.
“It served me very well,” Leonard said. “I’m not a career politician. I’m a working individual.”
His military service work and civilian careers have allowed him to work with people from all walks of life and from his experiences he said he made the observation that industry, work options and building an educated workforce are vital to addressing Oklahoma’s problems and issues.
“We have to be dedicated to fixing them,” he said.
Loring is running for reelection to his second term and said he loves Oklahoma and wants to improve the state.
“I want you to know I love Oklahoma. I love the state I love the people but we’ve got problems here,” Loring said.
Loring cited the state’s survey rankings as one of the bottom states in the nation for quality of life. He said healthcare, opioid addictions, teen pregnancy, low birth weights, education, technology deficiencies, crowded classrooms, child poverty and other problems plague Oklahoma.
Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse alone won’t solve these serious issues, according to Loring.
Loring said his son who lives in Arkansas recently told him there’s no reason for him to want to return to Oklahoma to work and live.
“I dream of an Oklahoma where my son would want to live, where he would want to raise his family here, “ Loring said.
Ottawa County Commissioner District No. 1
Ottawa County Commissioner District No. 1 candidates Mike Furnas and Mike Moore are vying for the seat vacated by retiring Commissioner John Clarke.
Furnas, of Commerce, thanked several in the community he had worked for and had worked with on several projects throughout the area.
“I learned a lot of things from some real good people,” he said.
Furnas said his work in different agencies and departments in cities in the county and involvement in several projects enables him to understand how to find funding streams and work with others to accomplish important projects.
“There’s wonderful work that’s been done around here collectively, and its’ stronger than any one man or woman, and that’s the best idea you’ll ever see and an example of what you can do, ” he said. “ I can only help if I’m elected.”
Moore, spoke very briefly saying he currently works for Ottawa County District No. 1 and has helped complete several projects.
“I need the votes and I’m going to continue what we’ve been doing,” Moore said.