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Dem Senate candidate Matt Silverstein talks Inhofe, marriage equality and more during OKC visit

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Matt Silverstein (right), a Democrat, is challenging Republican incumbent Jim Inhofe for the U.S. Senate.
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OKLAHOMA CITY - In just 15 months, septuagenarian U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe will be up for re-election, hanging onto a curious record that includes wasteful spending, embracing a bloated military-industrial complex and living out his evangelical missionary fantasies by proselytizing and sharing his Christian beliefs with African kings and dictators. All taxpayer funded, we might add.

A "Jesus guy," indeed.

If elected, this would be Inhofe's fourth term and the daredevil airplane pilot from Tulsa would turn 80 at the start of that term in 2015. It would be the first time Oklahoma had a senator representing them at such an advanced age.

However, in coming months, a young, fresh and idealistic Democratic challenger, Matt Silverstein, will be increasingly highlighting the senior senator's numerous flaws and missteps while explaining to Oklahoma voters why he is the best candidate to supplant the man he refers to as a "belligerent spender" and "career politician."

Earlier this week, Silverstein, 32, was in Oklahoma City where he met with Scott J. Hamilton, executive director of the Cimarron Alliance, an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) advocacy organization.

Silverstein, a Tulsa-area native and nationally-recognized, independent financial advisor and investment planner, has a longtime interest in politics. Having attended and graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Silverstein would spend his summers working for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) or on political campaigns back in his home state.

And now, Silverstein - who announced his candidacy in June - is hoping to gain traction at a time when Inhofe's approval ratings have slipped significantly and voters are looking for a fresh voice to represent them in Washington.

"I do believe public service is one of the highest callings," Silverstein explained to Hamilton.

So far, Silverstein has having raised over $130,000 and those numbers continue to rise as he spreads his message. And Silverstein's broad base of support, so far, includes urban professionals (medical and attorneys), the Jewish community, the LGBT community and the energy sector - among others.

Talking with Hamilton, Silverstein expressed his firm support of marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

"I will not be on the wrong side of the civil-rights issue of the day and that is marriage equality," he said.

Silverstein also noted his support of women's issues, an issue where Inhofe falls short.

"He was one of only five senators who opposed reauthorizing the Violence Against Women's Act," he said, adding that equality for women in the military is also not high on Inhofe's list.

Silverstein got his start in the insurance and financial industry when he sold the truck his parents had bought for him in high school. His success in that sector of the economy, while gauging the current environment of wasteful spending in D.C., as embraced by his incumbent Republican opponent, has helped prepare Silverstein for the political path he currently finds himself on.

Silverstein - married and with a two-year-old daughter - has deep Oklahoma roots - his grandmother was full Choctaw and he is graduate of the Jenks public school system.

Noting his Choctaw grandmother, Silverstein said her stories of being thrown into a government boarding school and beaten if she spoke her native language, taught him that government can't be allowed to get too big or too powerful, while also helping him recognize the importance of supporting the 2nd amendment's right-to-bear arms.

As Silverstein spoke about Inhofe, it was increasingly clear that he was painting him as an unprincipled "creature of Washington" whose seemingly self-serving principles are troubling to voters, while at the same time being increasingly out of touch with the everyday needs of 21st century Oklahomans.

"Jim Inhofe has been on the taxpayer's payroll since 1967," noted Silverstein. "He is now asking for 26 years in the United States Senate, the entire time saying he supports term limits for politicians."

At the present, Silverstein's campaign website is a bare-bones "splash page" which is up to primarily accept campaign contributions. Over time, Silverstein will expand the site with more information about his positions, along with a detailed bio.

To view his campaign website go to

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

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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