The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 21, 2010

Trio seeking GOP Dist. 22 state Senate seat

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

Bob Barnett

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.”

Bob Bradway

Bob Bradway is mayor of Yukon and wants to move up to the state level and represent state Senate District 22.

He is retired from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and since current District 22 Sen. Mike Johnson was term-limited it seemed a good time to run, he said.

He will face Bob Barnett and Rob Johnson in Tuesday’s primary for the Republican 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.

The new senator will be in a good position to take care of roads in the district, he said.

“They’ve been working hard on Oklahoma 4 at Yukon, and I wanted to see it through and be extended from U.S. 66, expanded four-lane road to the expressway,” Bradway said.

He also wants to keep working on Oklahoma 4 from Piedmont, where it currently ends, and go all the way to Oklahoma 33, back to Kingfisher and Guthrie. He said the road would be advantageous.

U.S. 74 also would be scheduled for expansion to four-lanes north for people in the Deer Creek area.

“Maintaining roads, that’s my background,” he said.

However, roads are not the top item on Bradway’s agenda. He said education tops his list as the No. 1 priority. It is the largest part of state government and is vital to the people and everything they do.

“Education is an intangible asset,” he said. “You can’t see it like a bridge or a road, but it comes through and eventually produces all the people we need in the state, like doctors and teachers. We need them for society. A good public education will make a better society.”

After roads, his third priority is law enforcement and public safety.

In the face of financial shortages in the state, he said, state jobs will be done, but to a lesser extent than before. As an example, public education is the biggest expenditure in the state, and even though there is less money, the state still will spend the most money on education, he said.

“But we must make sure the state is in good financial condition,” he said. “If we have to bite the bullet in state agencies, we may have to cut back until we get in good balance.”

Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson thinks someone ought to stand up to the federal government and he wants to do it.

Johnson, a former state representative, is a candidate for the state Senate District 22 seat held by his father, Sen. Mike Johnson, who had to give up the seat because of term limits. He will face Bob Bradway and Bob Barnett in Tuesday’s primary for the Republican 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.

Johnson has been in the private sector the past two years, but said he ran because he was asked to.

“A lot of people encouraged me to run,” he said. “I’m really worried about the direction the federal government is taking, and we need people on the state level who stand up to the federal government.”

One thing he is upset about is the national health care plan, which he believes is unconstitutional. He said the federal government violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.  

“People seem to have forgotten the federal government did not create the states, the states created the federal government, and they only have powers created by us,” Johnson said. “The federal government doesn’t have the right to pass those laws.”

Johnson said people are needed to stand up and tell the federal government the state will not participate in the national health care plan.

Another subject in which the federal government has failed is immigration. When Johnson was in the Legislature the state passed House Bill 1804, which at the time was the toughest anti-immigration bill in the United States. Parts of the law have since been struck down in federal court.

“We were trying to say the federal government was not addressing the problem and we need to do it,” he said.

Other states have passed similar bills, he said, and he supports Arizona’s law. Johnson believes legislation similar to the Arizona law will be introduced in Oklahoma next year. He said the state can refuse to provide benefits for those who are here illegally.

He also is against the so-called cap and trade bill, which he believes will destroy the oil and gas industry in the state by placing restrictions on carbon emissions. It affects parts of the country differently, he said, and he is concerned about the independent producers in the state.

“We must be mindful of the federal government and watch and respond and try to come up with a solution if what they do is not in our best interests,” he said.

Statewide there are two issues he is concerned about, workers’ compensation reform and lawsuit reform. Johnson was author of a lawsuit reform measure that was vetoed by Gov. Brad Henry. He said the Legislature passed a small bill, but doesn’t go far enough. The No. 1 issue, however, is the budget, which should be at the forefront of what should be done.

“We need to figure what the budget will be, and this year was not a pretty picture and next year there may be less money than this year,” he said.