The Edmond Sun

November 5, 2012

Senate District 41 candidate Q&A


The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Following are questions and answers about issues facing Oklahoma from Senate District 41 candidates incumbent Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and Independent Richard Prawdzienski:

Name: Clark Jolley

Age: 42

Hometown: Edmond

Political party: Republican

How to contact
: clark@clarkjolley.com



Q: What specific education reforms do you believe still need to be enacted?

Condoleezza Rice and Jeb Bush are both correct: Education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. As a senator and parent who is passionate about education, I have led and supported many reforms of our public education system. This last session I also led the charge to hold off on any additional reforms because the volume that had passed needed to be implemented correctly before we considered additional reforms. I still believe we should refrain from enacting any additional reforms that keep shifting the responsibilities of teachers and should focus any reforms instead on governance and regulatory relief. So to begin, we need to make adjustments to make our reforms better and more fair and accurate. As the Senate author of the recent reforms, I plan on amending the A-F Report Card law to address some of the concerns raised by Edmond Superintendent David Goin regarding the first year’s implementation. Additionally, we need to take a serious look at the governance structure in Oklahoma to reduce duplication of effort and make sure the mission of the State Department of Education meets the needs of Oklahoma’s school children and the teachers who teach them. We should look at increasing school choice to provide more families the opportunity to select the educational venue that best fits their child’s learning style. Lastly, it may also be time we look at doing a rewrite of Oklahoma’s education code to simplify and reduce mandates on local districts. 



Q: What new programs or ideas would you bring to the Capitol to help create new jobs in the state?

Government shouldn’t be creating jobs. We need to continue promoting the free market and let them create jobs. Oklahoma is leading the nation in job creation because of the policies we have promoted to get government out of the way and allow private business to flourish. Some ways Oklahoma’s government can get more out of the way? We have to continue to address the high cost of worker’s compensation. We also must continue to reduce regulations that are from a different era and continue to modernize government to help get government out of the way. Additionally, we need to look at continually making our tax environment one that promotes growth and doesn’t penalize investment in the state.



Q: What is your position on how to manage state debt and how would you vote on encumbering future bond issues?

Oklahoma is one of the lowest indebted states in the country. We also have many infrastructure needs that have to be taken care of that have been neglected. Just like a home mortgage, bonds are a responsible way to manage paying for these critical needs. There is reluctance among some people who feel that any bond debt is bad policy. My belief is that bonds should only be used when absolutely necessary and shouldn’t be used for something other than hard assets that will outlast the term of the bond. For example, the Capitol building is in total disrepair and the cost to refurbish the building and provide it for the next 100 years will be nearly $200 million. Rather than take money from transportation, corrections or education to pay for this in a lump sum we should absolutely look at taking advantage of the historically low interest rates and make sure that we address that critical need. We also must make sure that the bond load is appropriate and not so large that we have difficulty making the payments. We also have to make sure that we continue to address the enormous pension liabilities that plague Oklahoma.



Q: What do you believe is the best solution for securing a new building for the state Medical Examiner’s Office?

The best solution for building the new Medical Examiner’s Office is for the Legislature to simply fund the construction of a new building with cash. However, since the Legislature has failed to do so, the next best option is to issue a bond to allow for them to do so. However, since the Legislature has failed to do so, the next best option is to utilize the existing state law to allow UCO to build the building for the medical examiner and lease the building to the medical examiner. Regrettably, because of the failures of the Legislature, the state has to depend on UCO to build the building as the statutory last resort. It is my sincere hope that we can get the Legislature to adopt my proposals to fund the Medical Examiner’s office either with cash and/or bonds so we can fund this core function of public safety.



Q: Would you vote to eliminate state income taxes? If so, how would you envision compensating for the lost revenue stream?

The state has to look at the competitiveness of our markets and unquestionably, our tax structure has to be a major component of that review. I support complete elimination of the personal income tax. But we cannot do so without adopting a plan that allows us to grow out of reliance on the income tax. Oklahoma has reduced income taxes by a considerable amount without requiring cuts in spending because those reductions have been followed by increased tax collections in almost all areas, including individual income tax. We have to wean ourselves off the reliance on the income tax, but that can be done without gutting core services. However, that weaning will take a considerable amount of time. If we want to more rapidly reduce that income tax burden, we have to look at replacing that income stream with either significant further cuts in spending or we have to broaden the existing tax base available to the state, which would primarily be a consumption tax like sale and use taxes. Unfortunately there has been a great deal of fear espoused by those who want higher income taxes that we would have to raise property taxes to make up for lost revenue. It should be very clear to everyone, however, that there is no state property tax so we cannot and there will not be any shift of that burden onto our property tax base.



Name: Richard Prawdzienski

Age: 64

Hometown: Edmond          

Political party: Independent




Q: What specific education reforms do you believe still need to be enacted?

Currently the government central planners are trying to turn children into good robots and be a “return on investments.”

I want to give more responsibility to the parent, give less to federal, less to state governments. People are saying family values are important and Edmondites are telling me, “Return back to principles.” Early history purposes of education were to pass values, traditions and skills to the next generation. The best way to do this is via the family. We need to change the state Constitution. Families should be 100 percent responsible for their children’s education.

 

Q: What new programs or ideas would you bring to the Capitol to help create new jobs in the state?

Think “Free Market Economy.” Encourage citizens to challenge the status quo. Purpose of life is not just to get a job and pay taxes. Encourage our youth to seek personal freedom and plan and work to be financially independent before age 50 without government handouts.

 

Q: What is your position on how to manage state debt and how would you vote on encumbering future bond issues?

Cut spending. Government should only provide/do what someone else cannot provide. Remind citizens that government services are not free and are generally more expensive than private providers. Repeatedly call individuals, organizations and businesses to provide products and services in a free market economy.

On future bond issues — strive to eliminate long-term bonds. Challenge rhetoric (data) that says buying the newest thing will save money or pay for itself in a few years.

 

Q: What do you believe is the best solution for securing a new building for the state Medical Examiner’s Office?

Privatize the ME.

 

Q: Would you vote to eliminate state income taxes? If so, how would you envision compensating for the lost revenue stream?

Beware of the “Shell Game” and the musical chair game — last man standing loses. First we need to reduce government spending. The government is only a middleman in an oligopoly. Government needs to stop telling people “it’s free.”