Patrick B. McGuigan
State Rep. Al McAffrey, the incumbent Democrat in House District 88, is running hard in the special election to fill the vacancy in Senate District 46.
The election will be held Tuesday, February 14, with early voting beginning this weekend.
The seat was held until January 15 by Andrew Rice, who resigned.
In other news, state House Democrats says they will push a clear alternative to the economic conservatism of the Republican legislative majority.
Last weekend, McAffrey was a host and featured speaker at the annual Medallion Dinner for the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
Sunday, in a brief interview with The City Sentinel, McAffrey said the first issues voters raise with him as he goes door-to-door are “Heathcare and education – and not wanting to do away with personal income taxes.”
When his Senate campaign began in the fall, Rep. McAffrey said he believed the top three issues were “Jobs, economy, and the safety of our children.”
His views have evolved somewhat since then. He explained his views this way: “People are concerned that the Republican leadership will raise taxes on the middle class while cutting taxes for the wealthy.” Further, he said, voters are worried about plans they say will cut health care.
McAffrey said voters are opposed to a state rule change “on insurance that would not require insurance company's to cover children at birth, and changes in education” under the leadership of Superintendent Janet Barresi.
McAffrey said he has not found any strong differences with Jason Reese, the other candidate seeking to replace Rice.
Last week, Democrats in the state House of Representatives laid out their own versions of tax reform, and said they would fight to “protect public education from kindergarten through college,” while pressing for investments in transportation and for safeguards over natural resources (read: water).
Democratic Leader Scott Inman of Del City said, in comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, “Our budget shortfalls over the past few years are a consequence of the decisions the legislature has made.
We have a revenue crisis, not a budget crisis. Republican leaders are again calling for further cuts to state services, claiming there’s a budget shortfall and their hands are tied, but this reeks of hypocrisy given that our budget shortfall does not deter them from radical efforts to again further reduce the income tax for the wealthiest among us.”
Inman, who served on the task force that studied business incentives and tax credits, wants to end assistance for “companies that ship businesses out of the state, and rewarding companies that create and retain jobs in Oklahoma.”
State Rep. Ed Cannaday of Porum said Democrats would push for more public school funding. He reflected, “I don’t understand the logic in cutting funding for K-12 schools and still talking about how we’re going to be competitive in the 21st century.
For those who think education is too expensive – consider the alternative. We have a responsibility to prepare our children for a complex and complicated future, and our caucus will be at the forefront of this movement to protect and improve our public education system.”
McAlester Rep. Brian Renegar said he would lead efforts to scrutinize water sales to neighboring states: “Much of this discussion has been without adequate public input, and in my opinion, not enough careful legislative deliberation.
Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said, ‘when the well is dry, we know the worth of water.’ We are all prepared to fight to preserve this precious natural resource.”
Democrats also pledged to support continuance of tax credits that help low-and-middle-class families. Rep. Seneca Scott of Tulsa advocated a system for public campaign finance, assailing the “Citizens United” precedent.