Tom Guild, a retired University of Central Oklahoma professor, announced this morning (Monday, November 7) he will run for Fifth District Congressional seat. Guild’s formal entry into the 2012 campaign built on his formation of an exploratory committee in October, when he held a fundraiser at the “Change Oklahoma” headquarters in Oklahoma City.
In a statement provided to CapitolBeatOK, Guild, a Democrat, said, “Many people have lost faith in our government. The middle class and the working poor are under attack and it is becoming more and more difficult to achieve the American Dream. The people of Oklahoma, and of our great country, deserve better representation.”
Republican James Lankford is now representing the district and is expected to seek re-election. Guild disagrees with many premises held by Lankford and other Republicans who now control the U.S. House.
Stressing progressive themes in his announcement, Guild asked for support to build “a more compassionate, competent and community-centered government.”
Guild said, “Some claim that government has failed to deliver a good quality of life for our people. They are wrong. Our government has kept us safe from foreign aggression. It has made sure that there is a safety net for older Americans by providing Social Security. It has freed our seniors from worry over getting health care in their golden years through Medicare. Additionally, it has passed civil rights legislation, guaranteeing equality of opportunity under the law to previously marginalized groups.”
Guild said he was grateful for government support he received at key points in his life. “At the age of six, after a turbulent and difficult childhood and living off government commodities, my parents abandoned me. I then lived at several temporary foster homes throughout Oklahoma until Dr. Carl Guild and his wife Freda adopted me. After moving in with the Guild family, I was placed in Cub Scouts, piano and violin lessons, and taught to swim at the Downtown YMCA in Tulsa. There was constant emphasis on education, and I was always encouraged to be a productive and responsible young man.”
Guild graduated from Bartlesville Sooner High School, then earned a political science degree at the University of Oklahoma. His law degree is from Southern Methodist in Dallas.
Guild taught at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond from 1979 to 2006. A scholarship fund there is named in honor of his adoptive father. He was a professor of legal studies at Oklahoma City University from 2006-2009.
Guild said “experiences in my life helped shape who I am today; my character developed as I met those difficult challenges. If you obtain a good education, work hard and persevere, your life can make a positive difference in people’s lives. I am running for Congress to help ensure that our children get a good education, can safely rise above difficult circumstances, have access to good jobs, and are equipped with the strength to persevere, and to achieve their American Dream.”
Guild sought the Democratic nomination in 2010, losing the party nod to Oklahoma City attorney Billy Coyle. In addition to his career in higher education, Guild has been active in local party politics, serving as an Oklahoma County officer and supporting other Democrats in state and local elections.