Jay Paul Gumm’s 2010 legislative record is mixed
By Patrick B. McGuigan
When he sat for an interview with CapitolBeatOK during last week’s filing for reelection as state Senator for District 6, Jay Paul Gumm of Durant, a Democrat, accurately predicted to CapitolBeatOK, “I don’t expect a primary challenge. I believe I’m good with my home folks and my home party.”
He continued, “I must say that the people of the district are like an extended family. They have been with us every step of the way during the struggles my son has faced (since an injury). I value the personal relationships that go beyond the issues and that surmount differences of left vs. right.”
However, even in the heart of “Little Dixie” – the traditional stalwart home of success for Oklahoma’s Democratic Party, Gumm said he expected to draw a Republican opponent. He reflected, “If my sources are correct, he will be filing soon. This is not, ultimately, a secret process and I expect someone to be there to challenge me from the other party.”
Gumm indeed drew a foe from the Grand Old Party, in the person of Josh Brecheen, until recently an aide to U.S. Tom Coburn, the Republican from Muskogee. As he faces the new challenge, Gumm is expected to run on his record of “getting things done” for those “home folks” he talked about.
This year, Senator Gumm pressed for a new law to protect the rights of veterans who are 100 percent disabled, some of whom have reported troubles in getting retailers to honor a sales tax exemption.
His Senate Bill 1321, signed recently by Governor Brad Henry, would fine offending retailers and allow disclosure of correspondence with the Tax Commission.
Gumm is considered a consistent pro-life vote. Tony Lauinger of Oklahomans for Life has described Sen. Gumm as one of the strongest pro-life Democrats at the state Capitol. Gumm has prided himself on school zone safety measures designed to protect children, advocated legislation to require insurance coverage of autism, and supported other proposals to benefit children with the affliction.
Gumm joined other southeast Oklahoma Democrats in opposing proposed water sales, and was part of the group of legislative Democrats who “locked up” in Committee against a measure that many argued would set the stage for Oklahoma City to gain advantage in use of regional water resources.
Gumm opposed the special needs scholarship bill in committee, and on the Senate floor in closing debate, which Governor Brad Henry signed last week.