The Edmond Sun

State News

January 31, 2014

Assistant DA looks to advance to top spot

GUTHRIE — For the first time in almost two decades there will be an open seat for District Attorney for Payne and Logan counties.

And, for Assistant DA Laura Austin Thomas the timing was right to announce her candidacy for a job she has patiently waited for.

The seat is open with current District Attorney Tom Lee retiring at the end of his term. The filing period is April 9-11.

I have always wanted to run for this office but the opportunity had not presented itself. This is the first time I could realistically file. I have been ready for this for a long time.”

Thomas has 30 years prosecution experience with the past 27 years having worked in Payne and Logan counties in multiple areas ranging from misdemeanors and felony offenses, juvenile delinquent and deprived, capital homicide to administering and managing two of the top performing child support offices in the state.

“I am uniquely qualified for this job,” Thomas said. “I have extensive felony trial experience. I am the only one that has had to stand up and ask a jury for the death penalty. I have experience all the way from traffic to death penalty in trying cases.”

Thomas also would be making a piece of local history as the first elected female district attorney for this district.

“If elected I would be the first female DA in this district,” Thomas said. “The system is still heavily dominated by male district attorneys.”

Thomas, who has three daughters with her husband, says if elected it will reinforce life lessons they taught their children.

Thomas said she is a strong believer that an aggressive juvenile division is the first line of influence and defense in the lives of children in crisis.

Thomas cited the example of wanting to start a program in the public school system aimed at helping students at risk through education and mentoring.

“I would like to partner with those in the community to establish an education program that begins in grade school and goes through high school that is aimed for women at risk,” Thomas said.

Thomas added that the successful collection of child support can remove children and families from poverty and government assistance. In 2013, Thomas was chosen Attorney of the Year by the Oklahoma Child Support Enforcement Association.

Thomas said she has been asked by other district attorney offices across the state to help improve their child support offices.

Thomas said she plans to continue her focus and resources in areas that will protect citizens including domestic abuse, abuse and neglect of children and elderly abuse.

“I strongly believe people should be held accountable and responsible for the consequences of their actions,” Thomas said. “I want to increase prosecution of those who willfully fail to pay child support, those who commit welfare and food stamp fraud and the career criminal.”

Thomas said she would also continue the Drug Court program in Payne and Logan counties whose success is patterned by other counties across the state.

Thomas recently made an appearance before the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board to argue against the recommended release of convicted murderer, Christine Biegler from Payne County.

 “I’m appalled parole would be recommended to the board for this defendant who brutally slaughtered a 52-year-old disabled woman by stabbing her in excess of 30 times and slitting her throat from ear to ear resulting in an agonizing death,” Thomas said. “A jury recommended a life sentence in 1994, and the defendant has had numerous misconduct violations while incarcerated.”

Thomas said she looks forward to having an opportunity to visit with voters in both counties to share her vision for the district attorney’s high office.

FOR MORE information about Thomas’ candidacy, visit her website at www.lauraaustinthomas.org.

1
Text Only
State News
  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War the theme at Heritage Center Family Saturday

    The event will be 1-3 p.m. Saturday and is free with admission to the museum.

    April 16, 2014

  • MS_injection well.jpg Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation

    A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
    The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
    More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks items for agency history project

    If you have historic pictures or artifacts related to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the agency is asking the public to share them.
    “The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is working on a history project. If you, your family, friends or acquaintances have any old photos or artifacts related to the OCSO we would love to have them or a digital copy,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

    April 16, 2014

  • History_Tour_5_BH.jpg History tours begin May 17

    Downtown Enid will be the scene of Chisholm Trail Coalition Walking Tours

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • New study counters pot legalization argument

    A new study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences, a researcher says.
    Researchers say the findings suggest recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

    April 15, 2014

  • brisket2.jpg Food Network show visits Guthrie for ’89er Days

    Guthrie’s annual ’89er Days Celebration provides a variety of activities for people to enjoy including a carnival, rodeo, parade and lots of food vendors.
    This year, visitors at the 84th annual event, which runs Tuesday through Saturday, will notice an added bonus when a film crew from the new television series “Carnival Eats” will be in town filming for its inaugural episode.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • OCSP-Family and Treasurer-04-15-2014.jpg Treasurer Miller awards ‘Tax Day Baby’ with college savings plan

    April 15 is commonly known as the day many will spend in line at the post office or finishing final preparations for tax returns. This year, one Oklahoma family spent April 15, tax day, welcoming their new son, born at 2:07 a.m. and was recognized as the first Tax Day Baby at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. 
    As the first Tax Day Baby, State Treasurer Ken Miller, R-Edmond, awarded, Quan Ta, with an Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan worth $1,529. Miller, who serves as board chairman for the OCSP, reminds parents and grandparents that any contribution made to an OCSP account by April 15 qualified for a 2013 Oklahoma income tax deduction.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candidate filing period ends

    From the U.S. Congress to the Oklahoma House, several incumbents are hoping to hold onto their jobs in the 2014 elections.

    April 15, 2014