BY JOE DORMAN
Many ask me if, looking back, I have regrets about running for governor of Oklahoma in 2014. The truth is I have none because I served as a voice for issues which needed to be discussed during that time.
When the majority of those who showed up to the polls voted, they chose Gov. Mary Fallin to represent them for another four years, but I know I made a difference in championing causes, many of which still need heroes.
The sad part for me was not that I lost the race, but that so few people participated in our election and the many others on the ballot that day in November. In that general election, we experienced the lowest turnout in state history with about 40% of the registered electorate going to the polls, or roughly 800,000 Oklahomans. When you break it down even further, you will see that only about two million Oklahomans or 60% of the state are registered to vote.
We need more people in our state to engage in the process, and while we know that means more voters, it also begins with running strong candidates who are willing to fight for their beliefs and provide the opportunity for the voters to have choices of who will best represent them.
The filing period for federal, state and county offices will be held on April 13–15. Federal and state offices have their filing occur at the state Capitol and the county offices file at their respective county courthouses. More information including the fees to run for office is located at https://www.ok.gov/elections/Candidate_Info/Candidate_Filing/
If you need proof of why we need better representation that reflects the views of the majority of Oklahomans, simply look to the past six weeks.
The first deadline for the Oklahoma Legislature has passed us. There were many Oklahomans who were not pleased with the outcomes.
Some of that sentiment is certainly tied into the $1.3 billion shortfall the state is experiencing and the many worthy programs which are being cut. Other parts are tied to legislation which was expected to be voted upon by the legislative chambers, but did not get a consideration.
It is important to have elected officials who can negotiate and fight for the best parts of legislation to serve the greater good of the state. If we do not have people like this in office, the process tends to break down to a flawed system where very little good is accomplished.
It is also important to have those officials who will make tough decisions and risk their offices for the greater good of the state, and who can also explain their votes and why such a choice is in the best interest of Oklahoma.
If you are not satisfied by how your elected officials represent you, decide if you, or someone you know, can do a better job and take that first step. Recruit a better person to serve or step into that role yourself.
Your state needs you!
– Joe Dorman, a Rush Springs Democrat, served District 65 in the state House for 12 years and was the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor. Currently he is community outreach director for True Wireless and a member of the Rush Springs Town Council.