Moody electorate, skill sets, time to deliberate: Corn, Paddack, Dorman

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 15-Jun-2010

In brief discussions with CapitolBeatOK at last week’s election filings, three well-known Democrats reflected on campaign season, the mood of the electorate and other issues.

State Sen. Ken Corn of Poteau, in an interview for News9 and CapitolBeatOK, reflected briefly on his philosophy of government last week, moments after filing for lieutenant governor.

Corn said, “I believe it is proper for government to have a role in taking care of families. The mood of voters is that they are frustrated. They are looking for elected officials who will take care of their interests.”

Asked if he thought 2010 would be a tough year for Democrats in Oklahoma, Sen. Corn replied, “I think it’s a tough year to be an elected official. In Oklahoma, the concern of voters is for jobs, schools and health care. We’ve got some work to do.”

Asked what he thought a full scale and effective effort would cost, Corn answered, “I think it will take about $2 million, and it could cost more. My issues are for job creation, education and health care.”

Concerning the latter, he added, “I’ll be pressing for a patients’ bill of rights, not more power for insurance companies.”

Corn, nominee of his party, is likely to face Senator Todd Lamb of Edmond, the Senate floor leader who must first dispatch four Republican primary opponents, including state Rep. John Wright. Joining the party nominees will be independent Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond.

After she filed last week for the Democratic Party nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction, state Sen. Susan Paddack of Ada spent some time chatting with CapitolBeatOK about the upcoming race. She said:

“I believe I’ve got the right skill sets. I have legislative and business experience, and I have been involved in community causes throughout my career.

“I have experiences in common education and higher education that prepares me to do this job. I am running to fight as hard as I can for good education.”

Paddack projected her campaign will cost some $1 million. Although she has primary opponents in Jerry Combrink of Durant and Larry Huff of Oklahoma City, it is widely anticipated she will face Janet Baressi, a Republican advocate of charters schools and other reforms, in the November election.

Paddack told CapitolBeatOK, “I’m going all out to win, like I do on everything I do.”

Every election season brings winners and losers. One of those who is already a winner in 2010 is state Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs. The Democratic solon from House District 65 ultimately did not draw an opponent, and is therefore reelected as a result of filing to stay in the job last week.

Before he knew he had avoided opposition, Dorman told CapitolBeatOK he was seeking to remain “tuned in” with the frustrations and concerns of voters. 

He said, “There is a lot of anger out there. The electorate is unhappy, very unhappy, with the way things are going up here at the state Capitol. They are yelling, demanding, change, but they feel as if things stay the same no matter how much they yell.”

Dorman repeated a concern heard frequently in the closing days of the legislative session and its immediate aftermath: “In some cases this year we only had 20 minutes to read bills as they came out.” Dorman said he would work with members of both parties to improve the deliberative process when the Legislature returns to work next February.