6 Republicans, 2 Democrats vie in HD76

Republicans, Democrats and Independents will go to the polls August 8 to select two candidates for the special election for Oklahoma House District 76.

That seat is open due to the passing of Rep. David Brumbaugh.

Many of the candidates are teachers and want the state spend more money on education, particularly teacher salaries. The Legislature does not set teacher pay – it is decided by local school boards, usually on the recommendation of superintendents and administrators.

The GOP slate has six Republicans while two Democrats will be on the ballot. Only Republicans can vote in a GOP primary but Democrats and Independents can vote in Democrat primaries.

The district has many more registered Republicans than Democrats.

The district is bounded by Albany (61st) and New Orleans (101st) streets and Garnett Road and Elm Place (161st East Avenue).

Republican candidates are:

  • Shelley Brumbaugh
  • Cliff Johns
  • Brian Elliott
  • Ross Ford
  • Suzanne Dodson
  • Jess Guthrie

The Democrats are:

  • Chris Vanlandingham
  • Forrest Mayer

Shelley Brumbaugh, was co-owner of DRB Industries with her late husband, David. David Brumbaugh, who was the chairman of the Republican Caucus in the House, was one of the most conservative lawmakers in the state.

Shelley Brumbaugh worked side by side with her husband in his campaigns, his service to constituents and legislative activities over the past seven years.

“Not only is there unfinished business that David was committed to in his role as Chairman of the Republican House Caucus,” Shelly said. “But I also have a legislative agenda to be completed in support of our home district.  Since before David’s election in 2010, I worked alongside him for our district, knocking doors, visiting with constituents, answering and finding resources to fill their needs –  and the people deserve to have continued stability in their representation and services.”

Brumbaugh has been endorsed by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel, the Tulsa Area Republican Assembly and the Tulsa Beacon.

Johns is an attorney who has run unsuccessfully for District 76 previously. He has been a part-time adjunct professor of American History and American Federal Government at Tulsa Community College. He has a law degree from Tulsa University.

“I was raised in a family that values and respects freedom, liberty, patriotism, hard work, free enterprise, private property rights and public education.,” Johns wrote on his website. His mother is a retired Union Public Schools teacher.

Eliot is Union High School math teacher and coaches the women’s varsity soccer team. His has an undergraduate degree in math and a master’s degree in secondary education from Northeastern State University.

“Our state is struggling to provide basic core services,” Elliott wrote on his website. “We need leaders who will make the tough decisions to fix the budget, fund education, invest in the transportation and protect public safety.”

Ford was a Tulsa police officer for 25 years before he retired. He was a patrol officer who worked some at the airport and was a community relations’ officer. For 12 years, he was assigned to the police motorcycle unit.

After he retired, he was hired as director of security for Union Public Schools and Holland Hall in Tulsa. Ford formed a private security company that markets to senior citizens.

Dodson is a STEM teacher. She has a degree in chemical engineering from TU. She works as an engineer fro Magellan Pipeline Co. and is a leadership coach for the Society of Women Engineers.

Guthrie is a business owner.

Vanlandingham teaches history and religion at Cascia Hall in Tulsa. He is also an adjunct instructor at TCC. He has bachelor degree and master’s degree from ORU and a Ph.D. from The University of Iowa. His wife teaches at Union Public Schools.

Mayer is a science teacher. Mayer favors legalization of marijuana and the granting of “equal rights” to homosexuals.

“I see the lessons of science as guides to effective public policy,” Mayer wrote on his website. “When making decisions, I rely on evidence and reason rather than emotion and tradition in order to ensure that issues are solved fairly, rationally, and in an innovative manner. My goal is to bring Oklahoma into the 21st Century and put us on the cutting edge of industry, education and technology.”

Mayer opposes the recent religious freedoms bills.

“I am embarrassed by how many times our Congress has attempted to make special exceptions for Christianity, especially in the recent months,” Mayer wrote on his website.

The Aug. 8 primary winners will meet in a Nov. 14 general election. The primary is “winner take all” with the top voter advancing even without 50 percent.