The Edmond Sun

Local News

May 14, 2014

3 GOP Senate candidates discuss debt, state’s rights

EDMOND — Three Republican candidates vying to fill the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Tom Coburn, who is retiring, squared off Tuesday night for a debate at the First Baptist Church in Edmond.

The debate sponsored by Reclaiming America for Christ and Bott Radio featured U.S. Rep. James Lankford, former state Sen. Randy Brogdon and Kevin Crow, an associate professor of history at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha. Norman paramedic and EMS instructor Jason Weger and state Rep. T.W. Shannon did not attend the event. Also on the June 24 GOP primary ballot are Eric C. McCray, 33, of Tulsa, and Andy Craig, 41, of Broken Arrow.

The debate moderated by Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, included discussion on why the candidates were running, state’s rights, the Affordable Health Care Act, the Patriot Act, immigration and federal spending.

Lankford told audience members that he considers campaigning and debates as a job interview.

“I see this as a job interview to say who I am and what I believe and you get to choose who is going to represent you and your values and take that message to Washington, D.C.,” Lankford said.

Crow said he was running for office to bring common sense back to the U.S. Senate.

“The Senate is a body that is supposed to deliberate and think things through,” Crow said. “In 2008, the Senate rushed to push this federal bailout through. It is something that you and your grandchildren are going to be paying for.”

Brodgon said he threw his hat into the ring because he was concerned the American dream he grew up with is slipping away for future generations.

“I am concerned that dream is at risk tonight,” Brogdon said. “That is one of the reasons I have chosen to enter this race and to bring a little bit of sanity back to Washington, D.C., to fight for our liberty.”

The candidates were asked about illegal immigration and how they would help stop it.

Brogdon said the government needs to close the border between the United States and Mexico and eliminate the government’s lottery system for immigration.

“We need to stop the influx of illegal aliens,” Brogdon said. “There is an even broader issue than closing the border. We must eliminate a very dangerous lottery system that has been in place for many decades. We have over 50,000 immigrants that come to the United States and their names are drawn out of a hat and we don’t know if they are going to be good citizens and bring something good to the economy or they are going to drain from the economy. We have to get rid of that very dangerous lobby system.”

Crow said he would deny amnesty to illegal immigrants.

“We need to make sure we don’t incentivize people coming here,” Crow said. “As your senator I pledge I will never vote for an amnesty.”

Lankford said he has talked with immigration officials and says greater technology is needed.

“They tell me they don’t need more people, they need greater technology,” Lankford said. “They need it faster to be able to respond at a greater speed to cover areas of the border.”

The candidates were quizzed about how to improve the nation’s economy.

Brogdon said he would push for stopping federal overspending.

“That is one of the things that have inspired me to get into the race,” Brogdon said. “We have to stop the debt. We cannot continue to spend our kid’s future into oblivion.”

Lankford said he supports repeal of the Dodd-Frank banking bill, the Affordable Health Care Act and certain Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

“Just those three areas alone will open businesses up to start hiring again,” Lankford said.

Crow suggested reducing the debt by not getting involved with issues abroad.

“We have to stop being the policemen around the world,” Crow said. “We don’t need to get into shadowy civil wars. We need to bring our people home.”

The candidates also voiced their dislike of the Patriot Act.

“I don’t support any part of the Patriot Act,” Brogdon said. “It needs to be repealed.”

Common Core testing standards were also discussed. All the candidates agreed they didn’t like the federal government dictating to Oklahoma how it should run its educational system.

Brogdon called Common Core a violation of state’s rights.

“I am against Common Core on a very basic level because it violates federalism and violates state’s rights,” Brogdon said. “We have sold our educational soul to the federal government in exchange for a little bit of money every year.”

Lankford said Common Core was bad policy.

“Common Core is a bad idea and bad policy as well,” Lankford said.

The primary election for Coburn’s seat will be June 24. On the Democratic primary ticket are state Sen. Connie Johnson, 61, of Oklahoma City, Patrick Michael Hayes, 39, of Anadarko and Jim Rogers, 79, of Midwest City.

The winners of the Republican and Democrat primaries will move on to the Nov. 4 general election where they will face Independent candidate Mark T. Beard, 54, of Oklahoma City.

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If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

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