By Patrick B. McGuigan
Two candidates aiming to defeat state Rep. David Dank are on the November 2 ballot in House District 85.
The Democratic nominee is Oklahoma City School Board member Gail Vines. She is the owner of Flip’s, a popular wine bar and restaurant on N. Western Avenue.
Although socially deemed a liberal who is supportive of inclusiveness in public policy, Vines drew the ire of some advocates of gay rights when she voted, along with a majority of the board, to approve the firing of a teacher officials felt had used class time to advocate the lifestyle at the expense of instruction.
A judge later ordered the man reinstated to a teaching post in the school district. Vines has supported a new school district anti-bullying policy that included gay students in its strictures.
In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Vines said, “David Dank is known as a maverick Republican not because he thinks the Republican leadership is too extreme, but because he thinks they are too moderate. House District 85 has moderate and intelligent Republicans, Independents and Democrats. I represent the vast number of citizens who realize that real work gets done in the middle.
“House District 85 needs a representative who actually knows what it takes to meet payroll and pay bills week in and week out, and handle the ups and downs of an economy.”
She continued, “David Dank was a lobbyist and worked for his wife when she was a politician who held this seat for 12 years. He has been in the seat for four years continuing to work for far rightwing causes. District 85 needs more than a career rightwing politician and lobbyist. We deserve someone who has worked in a non-partisan way with conservatives and liberals to actually get things done.
“My experience on the OKC school board is proof enough that I have the ability to get things done. Sixteen years of the Danks is enough.”
Concerning her Independent opponent Ed Shadid, who carries the support of the Green Party of Oklahoma, Vines said, “Ed Shadid is a fine surgeon but like David Dank he represents an extreme of the political spectrum. We do need to do more as a state to promote clean energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it takes a sense of balance to actually move forward. Like so many others in my district, I feel like I’m ‘stuck in the middle with you.’”
Concerning the priority issues in the race, Vines believes, “My top three issues are education, education, and education. I feel I’ve been in the trenches with my work on the school board. I think we need someone at the Capitol who actually understands the dynamic of getting things done.”
Ed Shadid, the Independent, is running a different kind of campaign, using email, Facebook, and literature drops that have included compact discs so potential voters can study for themselves the September 8 event where he sponsored the visit to Oklahoma City of consumer advocate (and four-time presidential candidate) Ralph Nader.
Shadid’s literature stresses his support for major ballot access reform in Oklahoma. He notes in that material, “No Independent has won election to the Oklahoma state House of Representatives in 76 years and no member of a party other than the Democrats and Republicans has won in 96 years.”
Shadid stresses his family’s long history of service in the state, providing “medical care to thousands of Oklahomans over the past 100 years.” In his messaging, Shadid plays up his endorsement by the Greens.
Shadid’s policy proposals beyond ballot access reform include an excise tax on sugared beverages to finance better access to health foods, opposition to the past year’s wave of anti-abortion measures at the state Capitol, support for labor unions and advocacy of laws banning discrimination against “GLBT” (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered) citizens.
In his initial campaign release, posted on Facebook, Shadid asserted he is “impassioned when thinking and discussing the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Concerns about the health of Oklahomans, especially the epidemics of obesity and nicotine dependence, have pervaded his medical practice since inception.”