Conservative Index Add

Friday, May 29th, 2020Last Update: Wednesday, May 6th, 2020 02:21:47 PM

Governor Candidates at Randall University Forum

By: Constitution Staff

Seven candidates participated in the November 7th governor candidate forum at Randall University in Moore. Randall recently changed its name from Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College, but remains a Christian liberal arts college associated with that denomination.

The seven candidates who participated included three Republicans – former state Representative Dan Fisher; State Auditor Gary Jones; and former U.S. Attorney Gary Richardson. Only one Democrat accepted the invitation, former state Senator Connie Johnson. Three Libertarians also participated. They were Rex Lawhorn, Joseph Madonado, and Chris Powell.

Three other Republicans – Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb; and businessman Kevin Stitt – were also invited, but did not attend. Former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat, also did not attend.

The seven candidates who accepted the invitation to participate answered questions from the audience.

Steve Byas, editor of the Oklahoma Constitution, and also a history professor at Randall, served as the moderator. Two Democrats and two Republicans selected the questions submitted on note cards, in order to avoid duplication, targeted questions, and “gotcha” questions.

Most of the candidates clearly stated that they believe “taxes are too high,” with some exceptions. State Auditor Gary Jones said, “Some taxes are too high, some are too low.” Connie Johnson, the lone Democrat, opposes passing the tax burden onto the poor, asking, “(H)ow is it that our government allows the 1 percent to pay fewer and says to the 98 percent we’re going to increase your taxes?”

Gary Richardson said, “There should be no consolidation of schools. I believe in local control, and local school boards should run local schools.” Dan Fisher said, “We spend so much on overhead and on bureacracy. But I also believe we have lost sight of the key reason for education.” Gary Jones said, “We need to quit encouraging so many of these kids to go to college who don’t want to go.” He explained that many need to learn a trade rather than going to college. Joe Maldanado said that a big problem in education is “there’s no discipline.”

Regarding mental health, Richardson said, “I do believe the government has a role to play. And as governor you have to have a heart to truly make a difference in these people’s lives.” Chris Powell said, “I work for the Oklahoma City Police Department, and I spent time as a 911 dispatcher. I talked to people with mental health issues. Police officers, though they are well-trained, are not mental health professionals. We have to go through the agency and examine how they are dealing with this problem and treat these people as individuals.” Joe Maldonado used his time on this question to ask if Richardson had ever considered suicide or if he had ever done meth, to which Richardson replied, “No, I haven’t.”

Maldanado said that drug users need to be in a drug program, rather than in prison. Richardson said that he was opposed to private prisons, adding that he would “institute a one-week training program for every new prosecutor based on the fact that it’s about justice, not throwing people in jail.” Jones said, “While the legislators want to talk about being tough on crime, a better method would be being smart on crime. We’ve got to stop the revolving door.” Johnson said, “We improve the criminal justice system by removing the situation that got us here: the war on drugs.”

One issue that seemed to unite all seven candidates was opposition to civil asset forfeiture, the government policy in which private property of an accused person can be taken before conviction. They also all said they favored religious liberty, although it was clear to the discerning in the audience that they really have different interpretations as to what that means.

Other Stories From Winter 2018 Issue

THE FEDERAL PAGE for Winter 2018

Theodore King
Political PizzaAn important legislative milestone was reached late last year, one the Republic...

End Does Not Justify the Means

Steve Byas
I was disappointed when I saw some folks that I consider conservatives folks who believe in the...

Our Dirty Little (Not So) Secret

Richard Engle
Did anyone actually think the Devil would go about with horns and a dark suit tempting people with...

Conspiracy Can Aid or End Our Culture of Corruption

John Michener
We all have that friend for whom everything is a conspiracy. Typically, this person will latch on to...

Has Technology-delivered Teaching Taken over Your School?

Linda Murphy
Is your school eliminating textbooks? Are teachers in your school becoming monitors on the side,...

The Need to Transform the Legislative Process

Jason Murphey
It is the time of year when legislators file legislation for the next session. Every so often I feel...

The Higher Ed Defunding Thats Yet to Come?

Brandon Dutcher
Theres been much hand-wringing lately among some higher-education officials and journalists (to...

Step up Oklahoma is Awful Delightfully, Refreshingly Awful and Mr Madison says that is OK.

Andrew K. Boyle
Honest men should be embarrassed by their systems government; we conservatives tend to forget this...

Winter 2018

Constitution Staff
Bills Filed in LegislatureJanuary 18 was the last day for state legislators to file legislati...

Letters to the Editor for Winter 2018

Constitution Staff
More Wasted MoneyTwo or three times in recent months reports have surfaced from State Treasurer ...

Governor Candidates at Randall University Forum

Constitution Staff
Seven candidates participated in the November 7th governor candidate forum at Randall University in...

Bridenstine Renominated to Head NASA

Constitution Staff
On January 8, the White House resubmitted the nomination of Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine to...

Efforts to Get Corporation Commission to Reopen Southwestern Bell Case Continue

Constitution Staff
On December 19, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against a group of former Southwestern Bell...

Federal Tax Cuts Could Result in Utility Rate Cuts

Constitution Staff
Federal Tax Cuts Could Result in Utility Rate Cuts for Customers...

Special Elections for Legislative Seats

Constitution Staff
Special Elections to fill vacancies in the Oklahoma Legislature continue, with seven of nine...

In The News

Constitution Staff

Oklahoma Presidential Primary Election
Oklahoma was among14 states holding Presidential Primary Elections on March 3, 2020 in what is known...

Constitution Staff

Statewide Races and Congressional Seats on Ballot
In 2020, the Oklahoma candidate filing period was April 8-10. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ...

Constitution Staff

Republicans Will Retain Control of Legislature
The candidate filing period for the Oklahoma Legislature this year was April 8-10. Due to the COVID...

Constitution Staff

Legislature Considers Bills
The Oklahoma Legislature went into its annual mid-session recess on March 18, which coincides with...

Constitution Staff

Gov. Stitt Unveils Plan to Reopen Oklahoma
On April 22, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced the Open Up and Recover Safely (OURS) plan to start...

Constitution Columnists

Ron McWhirter

Covid-19 Impacts the 2020 Oklahoma Conservative Index
We believe the most important product of this publication is our annual Oklahoma Conservative Index...

Steve Byas

Jim Inhofe
Perhaps another person could take his place and do an even better job than Jim Inhofe, but I...

Linda Murphy

Oklahoma Education, Covid and Global Control
Since Spring Break, the public schools have been closed due to COVID 19, bringing children and their...

© 2001 - 2009 The Oklahoma Constitution, all rights reserved.
Contact the Oklahoma Constitution by calling 405-366-1125 or emailing
Content Management System (CMS) provided by WebTeks CMS.