EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a continuing series of stories about candidates seeking the 5th District Congressional seat. GOP candidates include Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, state Rep. Shane Jett, state Sen. Clark Jolley, former state Sen. Steve Russell, former congressional aide Harvey Sparks, and state Rep. Mike Turner. Democrats running for the 5th District include former UCO professor Tom Guild of Edmond; state Sen. Al McAffrey of Oklahoma City; and Leona Leonard, chair of the Seminole County Democratic Party. The three Independent candidates running for the 5th District include Tom Boggs who currently lives in Thailand, Buddy Ray of Edmond, and Robert Murphy of Norman.
Republican Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas has been listening to citizens across the state’s 5th Congressional District who tell what they want changed in government.
“One is folks hate ObamaCare,” said Douglas, a candidate for Congress. “They feel like they weren’t listened to. They feel like the consequences of it are harming not only their small businesses but job creation in Oklahoma.”
Douglas whole heartedly agrees with them. Business owners are uncertain what the costs will be to their employees. ObamaCare has stretched their budgets to the point that they cannot afford to hire more than 50 people, she said.
The Affordable Care Act is creating a distrust of Washington, D.C., and needs to be repealed, said Douglas, who lives in Edmond.
President Barack Obama contends the ACA is working. More than 8 million people have enrolled in the program, he said. The House voted several times last year to repeal the ACA and Obama said he will veto any attempt to derail his signature legislation.
“The concern that I have about this is that we have more people who have gotten canceled than have health insurance,” said Douglas, 51.
April’s report of the Congressional Budget Office’s shows the percentage of Americans with private health insurance is increasing. CBO experts estimate that 84 percent of the non-elderly population will have insurance this year, instead of 80 percent before the ACA.
“I would hope that we would have another outlet other than a government sponsored and run health care system,” Douglas said. “We already have Medicare and Medicaid. So the federal government is already a player in health care.”
As a former banker, Douglas has testified before Congress that people are frustrated that their small community banks can’t work with them as customers anymore. Federal bureaucrats have decided to run the community banking system, said Douglas, who believes Oklahomans are bombarded with too many taxes. The government has mismanaged their money, said Douglas, a former Edmond mayor.
“These are folks who’ve worked hard their whole life — who have created jobs — who have created companies and worked to support their families,” Douglas said. “And now they’re feeling they can no longer chase the American dream.”
Another concern Douglas hears on the campaign trail is the federal government bureaucrats are forcing regulation on their businesses, cities, counties and state.
“They are extremely concerned with all the new EPA stuff that is coming out that is going to hurt their pocket books, whether it’s utility bills or loss of jobs,” Douglas said.
Energy creates hundreds of thousands of jobs for Oklahomans, Douglas said. As corporation commissioner, Douglas said she has seen the federal government trying to regulate all aspects of the natural gas and oil industries.
She supports the development of the Keystone Pipeline to ship oil from the tar sands of Canada through Oklahoma to the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of people could already be expanding the economy if Obama would stop stalling the project by not making up his mind. A leader must be decisive, she said, and not stand in the way of American interests.
Regulations are placed under the guise of hydraulic fracturing, methane emissions or a production piece of production or exploration process, she said. Bureaucrats pushing those regulations may never have been to Oklahoma or have experience in the oil and gas industry, she continued.
“America can be energy secure,” Douglas said. “And I don’t say ‘energy independent’. I say ‘energy secure,’” Douglas said. “I want people to understand what security could mean for this nation.”
Energy security could mean no longer having to rely on foreign sources of natural gas and oil, she said. Foreign policy decisions could be based on something other than who owns the oil, Douglas said. It could mean American jobs for the next century, she said.
A safer and more environmentally friendly way of transporting energy products could result from energy security.
“So the folks in D.C. need to step out,” Douglas said. “We have a corporation commission and we have a state government that regulates the oil and gas industry here. We’re doing a good job.”
There is no reason to answer to non-elected bureaucrats representing interests in Washington, D.C., when Oklahomans already have been elected to regulate, Douglas said.
VOTERS will nominate their party’s candidates on June 24 for the statewide primary election. A run-off primary election is set for Aug. 26. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 4.