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Gibbons calls for common sense in the state legislature

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"As a community activist, I see Oklahomans wanting to move in the right direction but a government dragging its feet," says Gibbons.
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John Gibbons is a Democrat and candidate for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 88. 

Red Dirt Report: Why have you decided to run for Oklahoma State House?

John Gibbons: There were several motivations:

1)      As a business owner, I encounter government regulations and agencies that make it really tough to be a small business person. We need to focus on making Oklahoma a place where individuals can pursue their dreams, start a business and employ people. 

2)      As a community activist, I see Oklahomans wanting to move in the right direction but a government dragging its feet. I bring a combination of honesty, experience, and commitment that will help me represent the people of Oklahoma that are all too often ignored.

3)      Finally, we need some plain old common sense in the State Legislature. Bills banning marriage, legalizing, discrimination, limiting reproductive health are just not sensible and waste vital resources.  How much has Oklahoma spent defending unconstitutional laws, only to have them overturned by the courts?

4)      We can do better!

RDR: What do you feel are the three biggest problems facing Oklahomans today and how would you address them if you were elected?

JG: 1)      We need to protect women! Oklahoma is No.3 in women killed by men, No.11 in human trafficking, No.49 in women’s rights and the CDC found the lifetime prevalence of rape, physical violence and/or stalking greater in Oklahoma than in any other state. We address this through a combination of education, social services and re-prioritizing law enforcement to address these violent crimes over non-violent offenses.

2)      Our no.1 resource in Oklahoma is not Oil & Gas, it is our youth. We need to focus on education, creating opportunity and protecting children from abuse and neglect. While child abuse incidence is falling nationally, Oklahoma saw an increase of 58% last year.

3)      We are also facing some severe environmental issues in the very near future. Coal-burning power plants are reaching capacity and we have no business subsidizing this industry. There are cleaner alternatives and many renewable options that should instead be encouraged.

RDR: Do you think the amount of subsidies given by the state government to corporations is a problem? Why or why not?

JG: I do not oppose tax incentives, like those given to film companies or corporations relocating offices in Oklahoma. Those investments bring investment and tax revenue far in excess of those tax breaks. Subsidies on the construction of coal plants and a tax rate of 1% rather than 7% on horizontal drilling are counter-productive and they produce no additional jobs or tax revenue. The bottom line is that most employment and new job creation in this state is done by small businesses. That should be the true focus of our economic development efforts.

RDR: What are your thoughts on the recent vote in the State Senate to use money from the unclaimed property fund to further finance the construction of the American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City?

JG: It seems like a good use of those funds and will bring about the completion of a long-overdue project. As I understand it, the tribes are contributing heavily to this project as well.

RDR: What sort of specific changes need to be made to reform the education system in Oklahoma?

JG: While is seems Common Core was more aimed at teaching tests than teaching children, we need to establish a long-term strategy with our education system. Changing teaching methodology every few years ensure a struggling education system. Curricula should be developed by educators and encourage parental involvement. The classic three R’s should be a foundation but arts, science and physical education are a crucial part of raising well-rounded children.

RDR: Do you support the recent actions of Washington and Colorado to challenge federal drug law by legalizing marijuana?

JG: Yes. It seems to be working without negative ramification. It may be something that warrants caution, but we have wasted far too much prosecuting people for non-violent possession or personal use while neglecting violent crimes, domestic abuse and child neglect. It is time to get our priorities straight and get out of people’s personal lives.

RDR: Do you support the right of an individual to cultivate, distribute and/or use marijuana and/or other narcotics?

JG: I support individual and medical use. If we are going to legalize, there should be some controls and tax revenue to cover the expense.

RDR: How do you feel about Oklahomans ballot access laws? Are they too restrictive for those wanting to form new political parties or are they way they should be?

JG: Ballot access for third, fourth and more political parties should be open to anyone with a base of support. Voter turnout has reached all-time lows in recent years and we need to encourage more, not less, involvement.

Steve Long runs the Otter Limits blog and currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma.    

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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