With a competitive optimism for Oklahoma to beat Texas in economic development, State Sen. Todd Lamb announced his 2010 candidacy for the office of lieutenant governor Wednesday morning.

“We don’t allow our coaches to say, ‘Texas is bigger. Texas has been around longer. Texas has more bulk.’ We don’t allow that,” Lamb told a crowd of more than 150 cheering supporters at the Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City. “Both with public policy and economic development, we’ve allowed that for way too long in our great state. It’s time for no more excuses.”

Lamb said only three of the 30 Oklahoma counties that border other states have a higher per capita income than their neighboring counties outside of Oklahoma. Public policy is the one difference between those bordering counties in comparison to their neighboring counties in other states, he said.

“My five years in the Oklahoma Legislature, I’ve worked on public policy to move Oklahoma forward in the 21st century,” said Lamb, 37.

As lieutenant governor, Lamb said he would create business task forces in different quadrants of the state made up of entrepreneurs, small business owners, CEOs, educators and city council policymakers or local legislators. Task force members would accompany Lamb on missions to attract business to Oklahoma.

Secondly, Lamb said as lieutenant governor he would be an aggressive ambassador for Oklahoma. He would travel to win over any CEO with Oklahoma on a short list for locating their business.

He visited with CEOs in the U.S. and foreign countries to attract business to Oklahoma as a staff member of Gov. Frank Keating’s administration.

“I’ve crisscrossed the state in all 77 counties,” Lamb said. “I’ve met with our people and know our work ethic and what a great state we truly are.”

Thirdly, Lamb plans to focus on developing Oklahoma’s tourism. Lamb said he would work to bring investment to Oklahoma with brand name hotels and lodges.

“It’s time for Oklahoma to be a destination vacation place, no longer a weekend getaway,” he said. “…Spend your tax dollars, Texas. Spend your tax dollars, Kansas, in Oklahoma for a week because we have a beautiful state.”

Lamb said he would be proactive in bringing the motion picture industry to the state, not only for revenue but because it showcases Oklahoma.

His campaign has visited 21 counties in the state since June.

“I think he will be the next lieutenant governor. He’s a good young man, has a wonderful family. We just need good people that have good morals and stand up for what’s right,” said Ella Hammons of Edmond.

State Rep. John Wright, R-Broken Arrow, and Rep. Colby Schwartz, R-Yukon, are also vying to become lieutenant governor. State Sen. Kenneth Corn of Poteau is the only Democrat so far bidding for the post. Incumbent Lt. Gov. Jari Askins is running for governor.

Lamb’s qualifications distinguish his candidacy with a wealth of experience to bring to the office of lieutenant governor, he said.

The Republican sweep of 2008 ushered in Lamb as Oklahoma’s first Republican as majority floor leader. He was elected to the state Senate in 2004.

“I picked Todd Lamb to be my floor leader because of his outstanding character,” said Senate President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee. “He did a tremendous job earning the respect of colleagues from both sides of the aisle, and I’m confident that he will make a great lieutenant governor.”

Born and raised in Enid, Lamb played football at Louisiana Tech University before earning his bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University and his law degree from Oklahoma City University.

An attorney, Lamb serves as general counsel for CLS Group, which has headquarters in Edmond and provides services for the oil, natural gas and telecommunications industries.

Lamb investigated and made arrests against counterfeiting, bank fraud and identity theft crime during his four-year tenure as a special agent in the U.S. Secret Service. As a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Lamb received briefings at the CIA, FBI and Secret Service headquarters in Washington, D.C.

He protected President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush on domestic and international assignments before he left the U.S. Secret Service in 2002 to spend more time with his family and to join the staff of then-U.S. Sen. Don Nickles. Nickles and Sandridge Energy CEO Tom Ward are Lamb’s campaign chairmen.

Today, Lamb serves as a deacon at Quail Springs Baptist Church, where he worships with his wife, Monica, their son Griffin, 9, and daughter Lauren, 6.

“I do think my dad should be lieutenant governor because he’s so nice,” Lauren said. “And he’s really good at running for people and lieutenant governor.”

The official filing period for candidates is set for June 7-9, 2010. The statewide primary will be July 27, 2010, with a run-off election on Aug. 24, 2010. The general statewide election will be Nov. 2, 2010.

jcoburn@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 115

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