The Edmond Sun

April 14, 2014

Norman man takes on challenge to unseat Inhofe

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of candidate profiles leading up to the 2014 Oklahoma elections.

Erick Wyatt is running for U.S. Senate to be a strong voice of the people, he said. More than anything, Wyatt said he is running against incumbent U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe for the sake of his children.

The Norman Republican vows to represent the people’s interests instead of the interests of powerful political groups, Wyatt said.

Wyatt, 35, enlisted in the U.S. Army after he graduated from Del City High School and earned the rank of sergeant. In 2007, he was severely injured in by a mortar attack in Iraq and was given a medical discharge.

He met his wife, Allyson, during his rehabilitation. She is a three-year U.S. Navy veteran, who lost her first husband in Iraq during combat only 10 days before Erick was injured. The Wyatts married in 2007. He has a 2-year-old daughter and an autistic 7-year-old stepson.

Wyatt will face Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Inhofe, 79, R- Tulsa, in the statewide primary election June 24.

Other Republicans besides Wyatt who will face Inhofe in the primary election include Jean McBride-Samuels, 59, of Jenks, Evelyn L. Rogers, 61, of Tulsa, and Rob Moye, 58, of Yukon.

Filing for the seats as Independent candidates are: Ray Woods, 78, of Fairview, Aaron DeLozier, 30, of Wichita Falls, Texas, and Joan Farr, 58, of Broken Arrow. They will move forward to the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Matt Silverstein, 33, of Bixby, was the only Democrat to file for the seat, also automatically moving him to the Nov. 4 election ballot.

“On the 29th of November, 2012, Sen. Inhofe was one of (29) people who voted against adding autism to TRICARE coverage,” Wyatt said of medical coverage for the military.

“Fortunately it passed,” Wyatt said. Otherwise it would have cost up to $5,000 a month for children living with autism to get the care they need, he said.

The federal debt, as of Friday, totaled more than $17.574 trillion. The unrealized debt for his children was $55,292. Each taxpayer had an unrealized debt of nearly $152,000 as of Friday.

“That is ridiculously scary. And like Reagan said, ‘Freedom in no more than one generation from extinction.’ Where we’re going right now with who we have in office, we’re getting close to that period of freedom being extinct,” the Norman resident said.

Wyatt said the U.S. is not the same country he gave an oath to protect and defend 15 years ago when joining the military. The Republican party has changed as well, he said.

“So I’m really scared about what we’re leaving for our kids and what we’re leaving for our grandkids,” Wyatt said. “And I want to see that my kids’ kids enjoy the same freedoms that we enjoy right now.”

Wyatt said he is against amnesty for illegal immigrants. The best way to solve he problem is to deport them one person at a time, he said. He has friends who have gone through the legal entry process with their wives they met overseas. Those spouses are now naturalized U.S. citizens.

“Our Armed Services members did. Why can’t somebody else do it, too? That’s my issue,” Wyatt said. “If they can do it, so can everyone else.”

He would favor cutting the cost of obtaining citizenship in half for the spouses of military men and women. Wyatt has called for the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinsek. Processing VA claims is taking between two and three years, Wyatt said.

“A year and a half ago, the Oakland processing VA Center got shut down for six months and they had to retrain all of their employees because they were not processing  claims properly,” Wyatt said. “Every one of his employees got a bonus under his guidance.”

“Even if I don’t win the Senate seat and I go out there doing what I’m doing right now, what’s to stop somebody else to be willing to go out there, and be fruitful and be an activist and stand up for what this country is based on,” he said.

Wyatt feeds off the energy of the military veterans who support his efforts, he said.

Ninety percent of Congress is an enemy of the U.S. Constitution, Wyatt continued. This not only includes Democrats, but also Republicans who are responsible for the errors of Congress, he said.

“They have gotten caught up with special interest groups and big business, and owing each other favors now,” Wyatt said.

Being a politician is a lifestyle, he said.

“I want to be a senator. I’m a middle class American. I’ve worked for everything I’ve got,” he added.

Inhofe has served for 28 years between the House and the Senate. He served in state and county levels before that.

“He turns 80 this year. I’m a strong advocate of term limits,” Wyatt said. “I feel if anyone has been there for more than 12 years, they’ve been there too long.”

Voters will nominate their party’s candidates on June 24 for the statewide primary election. A runoff primary election is set for Aug. 26. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 4.



TO LEARN MORE about Erick Wyatt, visit www.ErickWyattForOK.com.