Friday, April 02, 2004

Tough Choices in Senate District in East Tulsa

A relative showed me the campaign literature he had received from Mary Easley (D) and Jeff Johnson (R) - the candidates for the Senate seat being vacated by Mary Easley's son, Kevin Easley. Residents in the area report a flood of direct mail and automated phone calls from the candidates. A scan of the campaign literature shows it's a tough call for moderates.

Mary Easley's brochures promise everything from lowering taxes to punishing companies that move jobs overseas. Johnson's mailings focus on proving he's a Christian conservative - he'll get prayer in our schools and ban gay marriage (which is already not allowed in Oklahoma). Mary Easley has been in the Legislature as a State Representative for several years. She is known to be a nice person but not one that has taken tough stands. She talks out of both sides of her mouth to try to please everyone. You never know exactly where she stands. And promising she will make sure companies that move jobs overseas is something she has little to do with. The state's investment incentives already provide for cancellation of incentives if the promised jobs don't happen.

But worse than having a milquetoast in the Senate would be having another far right religious extremist with a social agenda such as that espoused by Jeff Johnson. An agenda such as his accentuates divisions along cultural and social lines and does little but divert the Legislature from the mundane but important business they need to focus on - like economic development and education. I'd have to go with Mary Easley on this one and hope she gets a stronger backbone.

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