The Edmond Sun
Few times in American history have we seen people divided so politically as we have during this election cycle. The partisan gridlock of Congress and the relentless sniping of presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are more than just fodder for late-night comedy. This lack of civility and respect for opposing viewpoints is now the subject of new books, newspaper, magazine and blog articles and frustration expressed by everyday citizens across the country.
That’s why how you cast your vote on Tuesday matters so very much in this election.
Locally, Edmond-area residents will be asked to consider four choices for the 5th Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond. Lankford faces Democrat Tom Guild and Independents Pat Martin and Robert T. Murphy.
One of the most pressing issues facing our nation is how to deal with record-breaking levels of national debt. That issue flows into the next issue of government spending and finding ways to bring some fiscal sanity into the equation. There are many other issues out there that demand attention, but these two top the list as they impact almost every other problem facing the nation.
Working in today’s Congress requires a personality that is not easily ruffled. It requires someone who can research the issues and cast votes based upon the knowledge of their district and the conviction of character necessary to make difficult choices. We can easily see that the complex issues facing the next Congress will take many men and women of brave character and conviction to find solutions to move America forward.
Congressman Lankford in just two short years has done much to gain our confidence. We believe he offers the right balance of intellect, compassion and common sense to get the job done for not just the 5th District, but for all of America. We encourage the congressman to continue fighting the good fight while striving even more to find ways to listen to those with whom he might personally disagree. While we appreciate the diversity of ideas brought forward by the other candidates in this race, we believe Lankford has all the elements necessary to be an extremely effective congressman and leader.
There are two other Edmond-area races on the ballot Tuesday as well. One of the most important qualities of any candidate is assessing whether they have the knowledge, skill and ability to work with others to get the job done. We do not elect senators and representatives who will then stay in their own little bubble working on their personal pet issue. We elect people based on whether they can work with others to accomplish a common goal, even when they may approach a problem from vastly different personal perspectives.
Both Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Edmond, have shown tremendous capability to make major reform accomplishments at the state Capitol in an environment that can be fraught with fractious fighting even among their own party constituents. Both men have weathered criticism, but still hold their heads up high and continue to work hard to find ways to lessen the debt burden for their children and ours.
Sen. Jolley guided the budget process last session and admits there’s plenty more work to do. We want to see him return for another term to further that work in whittling down state agency spending and realigning state budgeting priorities. His leadership on education reform is also critical at this juncture as well as his tireless efforts to see a modern facility built for the State Medical Examiner’s Office. We admire his passion and commitment to this important issue.
Rep. McDaniel became the singular champion of pension reform in Oklahoma during the past two sessions. Reforms he authored will more than halve the unfunded debts to the state pension funds, bringing the state back into better fiscal alignment with its future obligations. He is the first to admit that not everyone was happy with every item approved, but McDaniel believes all sides involved know he wants what is best for the state as a whole and not just what’s best for one select group over another. We applaud McDaniel’s efforts in this arena that ultimately will benefit every current and future taxpayer in Oklahoma.
Ultimately, the most important decision each reader can make today is the one to go out and vote. Early voting options are available at the Oklahoma County Election Board through 1 p.m. today and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday. Polls will be open statewide from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.