Bob Barnett has had enough with government regulation and is running as a Republican for state Senate in District 22.
He will face Bob Bradway and Rob Johnson in Tuesday’s primary for the GOP nomination. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be Aug. 24. The winner of the race will assume the Senate post since no Democrat or independent candidates filed for office.
District 22 covers all or part of Kingfisher, Canadian, Logan and Oklahoma counties.
Barnett is a farmer who lives between Kingfisher and Okarche and is a school principal in Okarche.
“I’ve never had an inclination to get into politics. I’m in school and farming, but the state and the country are heading in the wrong direction, we are worrying about revenue, rather than spending,” he said.
Barnett said he has a grandson who loves his farm, but he said he does not believe he will be able to pass it on to him. Barnett said if career politicians can be defeated the government can be returned to the people.
“They regulate things to death, that way they can own it,” he said. “We have to take the money from them. It’s a vicious circle. Regulation breeds lobbyists. We can’t have school, we can’t farm or run a business.”
Barnett said everything people earn goes to Oklahoma City, and people must go to them and beg for some of it back. Some state programs must be cut and things done differently than they are now, he said.
“Cuts need to be made differently,” he said. “We need to privatize government. It’s not set up to make sure we’re protected and can live our lives the way we want to. We must get out of this business of running everything.”
Barnett said schools should be operated through local control, with no regulation at all. If tax dollars can be kept at home, local people can decide how to run small schools and who they want running them. He criticized the charter school movement, saying they are operated by a group of people who don’t have to listen to anyone. Money is pumped into those schools, he said.
“I’m tired of the system. It’s a monarch system, that’s what they’re doing instead of a democratic republic,” he said. “The only difference is we don’t have a king and no knights to go out and take the money away from the people.”
Barnett said he would first change the state income tax system to a sales tax-type system. Then, he said, people would have money to put into their schools. He also thinks people would be involved in education. Currently, education is over-regulated, he said, so the money cannot be used to educate.
Many of the systems operated by the state would be privatized if Barnett had his way. Law enforcement and the court system are needed, but many other services can be performed by private entities.
“Living on the state and federal government never helped anyone,” he said. “Society has changed so that people think it’s owed to them, and nothing is owed to anyone except the right to earn it. We’re smart enough to make it on our own, believe it or not.”