Adam Pugh saw the difference a good man can make when he was on the staff of former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, he said. Pugh wants good men and women with integrity representing Oklahomans at the state Capitol.
“As a conservative I’ve always believed that government is best from the bottom up,” said Pugh, a Republican candidate for state House District 82.
Too often in today’s political climate, people wait for a government program or someone else to take leadership to meet a need, Pugh said.
“I just believe wherever you see a need, you meet it,” he said. “It’s that simple. That’s generally looked like me getting involved in my community and serving.”
He and his wife, Sarah, live in Edmond with their 2-year-old daughter and have another child on the way. The Pugh family worships at LifeChurch.tv.
Pugh volunteers for Whiz Kids, tutoring children to learn to read and write with greater proficiency.
“It’s easy to complain about kids that can’t read,” Pugh said. “But get out there and get involved in programs that are going to lift up our community and build stronger school districts.”
He also founded a cancer charity, Music Against Myeloma, after his best friend’s father died of skin cancer in 1993. Pugh has qualified for and trained with the U.S. Olympic Bobsled and Skeleton Development Team.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Pugh came to Oklahoma in 2005 and was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base. He is a former captain in the U.S. Air Force.
His background is in aerospace as a former electronic warfare expert for Boeing. Today he works as a strategic consultant in the private sector with Chenega Aerospace, located in Alaska.
“I identify redundancies in how we do business in our contracts and our programs,” Pugh said.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history with minors in political science and economics from the University of Pittsburgh, where he also earned a master’s degree in international relations with emphasis on security.
One reason Pugh is running for House District 82 is to improve education across Oklahoma. He applauds Gov. Mary Fallin for signing the repeal of Common Core into law.
“I personally am against Common Core because I am against the one-size-fits-all solutions that Washington, D.C., comes up with,” Pugh said.
State lawmakers need to reach out into the community for ways to improve education in Oklahoma, he said. Ideas should be sought from education experts, administrators, teachers, parents and students who graduated from public schools. Community leaders should have a say, said Pugh, who has served as a substitute teacher for Deer Creek Public Schools.
“We need to take the politics out of it, and it can’t be something that is just designed by the Legislature,” Pugh said. “There’s not a lot of education experts at the Capitol. The education experts are out in the community. We all have different skills sets we bring to the table.”
Government fails when it tries to do too much instead of focusing on core functions such as education, public safety and transportation, he said.
Citizens become frustrated when they don’t feel that they can hold government accountable with transparency. Technology should allow people to track how their tax dollars are being spent, Pugh said.
“You should be able to log onto the Deer Creek Schools’ website and know how all of the state funds going to the district are being spent,” he said.
Additionally, Pugh said the Affordable Care Act has been detrimental to the cost of his insurance as well as small business. The Affordable Care Act caused his health insurance to go from $246 a month to $1,100 a month.
“That is almost a 500 percent increase in my insurance cost,” Pugh said. “My deductible went up as well even though I was promised by the administration my plan wouldn’t change if I liked it.”
Pugh favors fair immigration laws.
Pugh differentiated himself from former state Rep. Kevin Calvey, who is also running for the House seat. Calvey sponsored a bill that would give in-state tuition breaks to undocumented illegal aliens, Pugh said.
Calvey told The Edmond Sun that Pugh is grasping at straws.
“That was for people who were in the process of getting their legal status,” said Calvey, R-Oklahoma City. “To call it a bill to do something for illegal aliens is not accurate.”
House Bill 1559 in 2003 does not appear to have received a floor vote by the state Senate. The bill states that students who are enrolling in an institution in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education shall be eligible for a waiver of nonresident tuition if a “student without lawful immigration status files an affidavit with the institution stating that the student has filed an application or has a petition pending with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to legalize their immigration status, or” promises to file application for citizenship.
“I strongly favor lawful immigration,” Calvey said. “I think some of the finest people I know are legal immigrants, but it needs to be lawful and orderly.”
Republican candidates for state House District 82 include Greg Brown, 59, of Oklahoma City; Dustin Hopson, 37, of Edmond; former state Rep. Kevin Calvey, 47, of Oklahoma City; Adam Pugh, 36, Edmond; and Paul Ruckel, 44, of Oklahoma City.
Independent Scott Bennett, 29, of Oklahoma City is also running for House District 82. No Democrats are on the statewide ballot.
House District 82 became an open seat when incumbent Rep. Mike Turner decided to vie for the 5th District congressional seat in the Republican primary election June 24 against Sen. Clark Jolley, Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, former state Sen. Steve Russell, Rep. Shane Jett and former congressional aide Harvey Sparks.
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 Adam Pugh, visit adamforthehouse.com.