The Edmond Sun

November 5, 2012

House District 83 Q&A

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — House District 83 includes a portion of southern Edmond. Incumbent Rep. Randy McDaniel faces Democrat Ed Holzberger. Following are McDaniel's responses to a candidate questionnairre from The Edmond Sun:

Name: Randy McDaniel

Age: 45

Hometown: Edmond

Political party: Republican

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

I want the best education for our children. Over the last several years, the Legislature has passed many reforms intended to improve education in Oklahoma. These reforms need to be evaluated as all parties work together for the benefit of our children.

Aspects of the A-F School Grading System may need to be reformed. I believe in transparency and accountability. Superintendents across the state, however, have raised issues with the methodology used to grade the schools, and I think their concerns should be carefully considered.  We need to make sure the grading system provides an accurate measurement of school performance.

The scholarship for students with disabilities offers special needs students unique educational opportunities. The scholarship may be used at accredited schools that can tailor individualized education programs for children with disabilities such as Down’s syndrome or autism. With more options to fulfill their educational needs, students with disabilities should see the quality of their education improve.

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

I believe in the free enterprise system. Burdensome government regulations can stifle job growth and opportunity. Moreover, the rising costs associated with workers compensation, health care and taxes are also concerns of job creators. Addressing these issues will be priorities next year.

As chairman of the Economic Development, Tourism and Financial Services Committee, I authored legislation to mitigate unemployment benefits fraud. Abuse occurs when people continue getting unemployment benefits while working at a new job. Cracking down on fraud keeps unemployment taxes low, which saves employers money. During the 2013 session, I plan to build on the past reforms. An important issue will be a requirement that legislation designed to expand unemployment benefits contain a statement reflecting the projected impact on employer tax rates.

Sound fiscal policies have made a difference in Oklahoma during these difficult economic times. Yet, there is no substitute for the extraordinary perseverance of hardworking Oklahomans.

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

I want to make sure we have a healthy and prosperous Oklahoma to pass down to future generations. This requires managing our debts wisely. As chairman of the House Pension Oversight Committee, I have lead efforts to reduce the unfunded liabilities of the state pension system by billions of dollars.

Providing a more secure and reliable retirement system is important to every dedicated public servant. It is also important to all Oklahomans because of the adverse financial impact a poorly funded pension system can have on other state services, infrastructure needs, the state’s bond rating and future bond issues.

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

The best solution to secure funding for a new state Medical Examiner’s Office is using surplus funds. The necessary resources are available. Having an accredited ME’s Office is critical to families and law enforcement. Infrastructure is a core function of government, and the current situation is unacceptable. I have been pushing diligently to ensure building a new ME’s Office in Edmond will be a top priority next year. Other members of the Edmond delegation have been as well. I believe a funding solution will be achieved this coming session.

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

Legislative proposals to eliminate the state income tax need to be thoroughly examined, take in consideration current and future obligations and require compensating decisions, such as reforming the tax code.

Many government entities have more of a spending problem rather than a revenue problem. Oklahoma’s state government has recently been a leader in reducing waste, fraud and abuse. Moreover, major efforts have been accomplished to modernize state government to improve efficiencies and save taxpayer dollars.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rep. McDaniel faces Democrat Ed Holzberger on the Nov. 6 ballot. Efforts to reach Holzberger for this questionnairre were unsuccessful.