ENID, Okla. —
At the candidate forum organized by the AMBUCS group and the Enid News & Eagle, moderator Frank Baker asked the candidates about their philosophy on governance, whether they would vote against their constituents. Caldwell said the one guarantee he has made on the campaign trail is that voters shouldn’t expect to agree with everything he does.
“My job, I believe, is to listen to the constituents, to listen to both sides of that argument, and make the decision that’s going to best represent and be the best for the people of Enid and the state of Oklahoma,” he said.
In politics, he added, there is a “disease” that prevents lawmakers from making tough choices.
“We have too many folks who are willing to say and do whatever it is to get elected. That simply can’t be your focus,” Caldwell said.
Stuber told the audience that his own beliefs mirror the majority of his constituents.
“I haven’t had to vote against my conscience, but at the end of the day, we’re there to represent the people of District 40, not go there and push our own agenda,” he said. “We’re there to listen and that’s it.”
The candidates also chimed in on Common Core, the national education policy that the legislature and Gov. Mary Fallin rejected during the most recent session.
Read: Common Core — What does it mean to your child
Stuber said he was glad to see Fallin sign the bill.
“I am concerned she will attempt to re-package that under a new name and bring back pretty the same thing,” he countered.
Any changes to education policy should make sense, he said.
“Not all students learn the same way. Not all students test well. We need to give power back to the teachers that we’ve trained and educated, and really put more control into our local school boards and school systems,” said Stuber.
The bill signed into law this week was a “great first step,” Caldwell said.
“The question really is, where do we go from here? What do we do now?” he added.
Caldwell’s answer is to get everyone with a stake in education together, including teachers and parents.
“Instead of focusing on our differences, it’s about time we start focusing on where we agree — and that better be that we all want excellence in education for our kids,” he said.