POSTED ON AUGUST 22, 2012:
Election Time. Voters can step up to cast ballots in several statewide and local races in the Aug. 28 primary runoff election.
In the race for Tulsa County Clerk, Pat Key faces off against Dean Martin. Key serves at chief deputy in the clerk's office, while Martin cites more than 30 years of business experience. Both are Republicans.
"I would continue to use advanced tools to help make records easily accessible to the public and continue to keep the cost at a minimal for business that utilize these records," Key wrote in answer to a question posed by the League of Women Voters asking how she would make the office more efficient and useful.
In response to the same question, Martin wrote about the importance to being "totally technology current."
"Technology is changing daily. If we are at the forefront of technology the clerk's office will be more efficient," he wrote.
The runoff race for State Senate District 33, which includes portions of Tulsa and Broken Arrow, features self-employed Nathan Dahm against retired Tim Wright. Both are Republicans.
Asked by the League of Women Voters about how educational endeavors prepared them to hold office, Dahm described his experience as dean of a Bible school.
"As a non-profit organization, we relied solely on donations and therefore knew how to budget accordingly: If the money wasn't there we couldn't spend it. A lesson that most in government do not seem to realize and a fresh perspective that I will bring to the Oklahoma State Senate," Dahm wrote.
Wright, who touts his business experience, described how his endeavors as an entrepreneur are relevant to public office.
"The fact that I took a risk to start two businesses from my idea about each, grew both into successful multi million dollar operations that others were willing to purchase, and what I learned in this process regarding taxes, workers comp, health benefits, regulations, etc. that affect businesses in Oklahoma," Wright wrote.
For State Representative District 70, which includes a portion of Tulsa, Ken Walker and Shane Saunders are each vying for the seat. Both are Republicans.
Walker has a varied professional background including stints as a chef and military interrogator, according to his biography submitted to the League of Women Voters. For 10 years, he has been owner of a Shepherd's Guide Yellow Page franchise, he states. The business "enables users to find trusted Christian businesses and organizations," according to the main Shepherd's Guide website.
Asked the single most important factor that led to him seeking office, Walker wrote: "The restoration of limited government, the promotion of maximum individual liberties, and restoration of family, faith, and community organizations as the backbone of society."
His opponent, Shane Saunders, runs an oil and natural gas exploration and production company, Trident Energy.
The single biggest factor for him involved "the largess of government spending in the State of Oklahoma."
"As a businessman, taxpayer, and father, I'm frustrated with the growth and ineptitude of government in our state," Saunders wrote.
The other race of local note is for Congressional District 2, which includes portions of the state south and east of Tulsa.
Small business owner George Faught is squaring off against Markwayne Mullin, who did not reply to the League of Women Voters questionnaire but describes himself on his website as a businessman.
Faught, a state representative for the past six years, answered a question from the League of Women Voters about the future of Social Security, Medicare and the social safety net for the poor.
"The federal government is destructive to every social program it takes over because any system where power is entrusted to unaccountable bureaucrats naturally seeks to expand its own power and scope--restricting individual liberty, taking more resources from productive citizens to feed its bureaucracy, and reducing resources available for its intended purpose," Faught replied.
On Mullin's website, he lists his beliefs, including this about Medicare: "Ensuring access to quality, affordable health care is one of America's greatest challenges today. The free market will meet the challenge if the government will get out of the way. We must cautiously seek comprehensive reform that protects the solvency of Medicare and Medicaid," the website states.
Unlike the other races, the winner between Mullin and Faught will face a Democrat challenger, either Wayne Herriman or Rob Wallace. Herriman is president of the Tulsa County Farm Bureau, while Wallace is a prosecutor in the Pittsburg County District Attorney's Office. Neither responded to questions from the League of Women Voters.
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