Sen. Todd Lamb, Rep. John Wright get ‘face time’ with GOP activists
By Patrick B. McGuigan
Four Republicans seeking the job of lieutenant governor attended an Oklahoma City event on Wednesday (July 14) where they politely presented contrasting but generally conservative views and objectives. Each candidate focused on how he intends to help lead the state if he emerges as the party’s nominee.
State Sen. Todd Lamb of Edmond, who served as Senate Floor Leader the last two years, is widely regarded as front-runner in the race. However, state Rep. John Wright of Broken Arrow — a leader for House Republicans for four of his six legislative terms who is now majority caucus chairman – is making a case for himself in appearances around the state.
Also participating in the most recent candidate forum, before members of the Capitol Republican Caucus in downtown Oklahoma City, were Bernie Adler of Oklahoma City and perennial candidate Bill Crozier.
In his remarks, Rep. Wright maintained that transparency and openness in government are vital issues to restore or maintain popular confidence in the purposes of government. He spoke with pride of his role in developing a conservative agenda for the state, including advocacy of the right-to-work referendum that passed in 2001.
Wright noted that although the Legislature is the leading force for policy development in the state, he would work to influence new legislators and soon-to-be-former colleagues. His top four issues are tourism development, transportation infrastructure improvements, encouragement to individual Oklahomans to pursue higher or continuing education, and “to esteem the role of traditional marriage.”
Adler said he is “tired of all the bickering and fighting” among state leaders. He said, “I’ve been upset long enough that I thought it was time to get involved.” He lamented that half of the state legislators did not attract opposition this year.
The 78-year-old political newcomer said he was “not running for myself, but for you.” He confessed he “does not believe in a party line.” Adler believes in “negotiation and getting things done,” and separated himself from most in the room on the subject of immigration. Adler believes punitive steps toward illegal immigrants will not work or prove beneficial to the state.
Sen. Lamb pointed to his campaign brochure as a source of more information, saying the best thing about the document “is my wife Monica on the cover, and our two kids on the back.” Lamb stressed the economic development and opportunity message that has driven his campaign, noting his frustration 27 of the 30 Oklahoma counties touching adjacent states have incomes lower than our neighbors.
He focused on ways to improve on Oklahoma’s economic performance versus Texas, saying, “our kids are smarter and our wives are prettier” than neighbors in the Lone Star State. He promised to focus on business retention an recruitment, and on tourism as a business generator. He said he would press for policies to remove impediments to economic growth and job creation, as identified by successful business leaders.
Lamb described his convictions as those of “a conservative who believes the Constitution is not a suggestion, and the Second Amendment is not a suggestion.” The former secret service agent, including presidential protection, pledged, “I was willing to take a bullet for Bill Clinton, I will work hard for you.”
Crozier, who has run previously for the U.S. Senate and schools superintendent, said he played a role in development of a state agency devoted to environmental quality, and in advocacy for the “Northwest Passage” roads to and from the Panhandle.
All attendees at the Capital Republican Caucus meeting had a bloc of about 10 minutes with each of the candidates on a rotating basis. Attendees included longtime local activists Tom and Kay Dudley (the former secretary of state), Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan, Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor, as well as Capital Republican caucus leaders Ken Bartlett and Charles Potts.
The fifth candidate for “light guv” in the Grand Old Party, Paul Nosak of Tulsa, did not attend the forum. The group of five men will square off in the July 27 primary, with a rematch for the top two likely in the August 24 runoff.
The winning Republican candidate will face state Sen. Kenneth Corn, a Poteau Democrat, and Richard Prawdzienski, an Edmond independent, in the November election.