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Collin Walke preps for campaign in House District 87

Liz Burleson / Red Dirt Report
Attorney Collin Walke is running as a Democrat for House District 87.
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OKLAHOMA CITY - In just a matter of weeks, as the leaves start to turn and chillier temperatures start to arrive, Collin Walke, a Democrat, will be walking the neighborhoods of House District 87 campaigning for the seat and asking for votes leading up to the election in 2014.

"Politics has always been a little bit in my blood," said Walke, who is an attorney at Mulinix Ogden Hall & Ludlam in downtown Oklahoma City.

Walke told Red Dirt Report on a recent afternoon that with a father who ran as a political candidate and helping out with political campaigns as an undergrad in college, he feels its time to dip his toe in Oklahoma politics and see if it sweeps him into a seat at the Capitol.

In addition to his work in appellate, oil and gas, divorce and criminal law, Walke is also an adjunct professor at Oklahoma City Community College teaching federal government.

Walke also told us that he graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in philosophy. Many readers would agree that deep thinkers are in short supply at the Capitol.

So, when asked about his own political philosophy, Walke responded: "I view my role as a legislator, should I be elected, as a trustee of the people. In other words, my vote isn't a reflection, necessarily, of what I believe but rather what the constituents believe."

Walke offered an example of how a constituent talking about how his children attend Monroe Elementary School and how there isn't enough involvement by parents and how there isn't enough funding for education.

"Money doesn't solve every problem, but money does solve some problems," Walke said. "We need to look at the ways schools are funded. Education is always a big issue any time you are dealing with Oklahoma City."

Currently, House District 87 is represented by Republican Jason Nelson. The district runs along a boundary just south of Northwest Expressway, east of Warr Acres and Bethany and a portion of Southwest Oklahoma City along Interstate 44.

And while Walke was not in the legislature - yet - he did attend some of the recent special session at the State Capitol. Asked about his thoughts on the special session, Walke said, "As an attorney I wouldn't be surprised if some of the laws passed were declared unconstitutional again," he said, adding that it was a waste of time and the taxpayer's money, particularly when other, far more pressing issues face the state.

"Tort reform only hurts those that have been injured," he said.

Walke said people who think tort reform are a benefit to businesses "don't understand litigation."

He explained that when it comes to these suits, it's the "discovery" portion that costs the most, not the judgments and settlements.

"You want tort reform? You reform the discovery code," he said.

Continuing on the tort reform issue, Walke said the Republican-controlled legislature says it wants the government "out of your life," but then they turn around and impose governmental regulations on citizens' constitutional right to a jury trial.

"We trust juries to put people to death, but we don't trust juries to decide whether or not a medical malpractice case is appropriate, is frivolous?" he asked, rhetorically. "We can put someone to death but not allow them to award a child damages due to someone else's negligence?"

When asked about the increasingly abhorrent conditions facing prisons in the state, Walke said he agreed that something must be done and that he would need more information on specific solutions.

Medicare and Medicaid expansion is being asked about, Walke said. And crime in the district is also a concern among folks in District 87.

"When there's an emergency we want FEMA to come in, we want federal dollars," Walke said. "Well, then why don't we want federal dollars to help the elderly?"

"I don't think they want 'Big Government' involved in health care," Walke said. And asked what 'Big Government' means, Walke replied: "I can't tell you what it means, when people throw it around they mean the federal government and the state government and money."

"It's somebody out there telling me what to do with my life, here," he said.

Walke is married to the Rev. Lori Walke, a Moore native, who is an ordained minister serving at Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in Oklahoma City. The couple have two dogs and both love a good debate.

"I feel it's my time to run particularly because we have an influx of young professionals in our area and I know for a fact that when it comes time for those kids to go to school, they look elsewhere. I don't want that to happen. I want my neighbors to be my neighbors for the next 20 and 30 years," he said.

And yet, the policies being implemented by the Republican-controlled government at 23rd and Lincoln aren't accomplishing the goal of keeping young professionals and their families here or attracting more of those young adults from out of state. He notes how Oklahoma still has a long way to go in protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Additionally, Walke said he knows people from out of state who are not keen on the idea of going to a state like Oklahoma, where they might be discriminated against.

"As a state we need to be willing to welcome people of all faiths, all sexual orientations, because we need to be a melting pot and not just a homogenous, stand-alone state," he said.

With a more bipartisan, political balance, more dialogue can be introduced and all Oklahomans can have a voice in the State Capitol, he noted.

Walke said his campaign - and hopefully his election to the House of Representatives - will always be putting the needs of District 87 first.

"(If elected) I think I would be able to provide a way forward that is constructive, cost efficient and where everybody wins," Walke said. "Government wins and where the people win. Better schools, better healthcare. It can be done. It's just a matter of working together."

There will be a kickoff event for Walke's campaign on Friday, September 20th at Grandad's Bar at 317 NW 23rd Street and hosted by Jennifer and Greg Seal and Sara and Kyle Sweet.

Copyright 2013 Red Dirt Report

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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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