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Oklahoma Senate District 21

The state of Oklahoma has 48 state Senate districts. Each district elects one senator. There are 24 Senate seats up for election in 2020 with a primary to be held on June 30, a runoff (if necessary) on August 25 and the general election on November 3.The Oklahoma Senate is the upper chamber of the Oklahoma State Legislature. Together with the Oklahoma House of Representatives, they form a legislative branch of the Oklahoma state government and work directly with the governor of Oklahoma to create laws and establish a state budget. The Oklahoma Senate’s authority includes legislation on public policy matters, setting levels for state spending, raising and lowering taxes, and voting to uphold or override gubernatorial vetoes.Oklahoma state Senators serve four-year terms and are limited to a total of 12 years of cumulative service in the House and Senate. They are scheduled to receive a pay increase in November 2020, from $35,021 to $47,500 annually. When the legislature is in session, they also receive a $156 daily "per diem" allowance.Members of the Senate must be twenty-five years of age at the time of their election. They must be qualified electors in their respective counties or districts and must live in those counties or districts during their term of office.

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  • Candidate picture

    Tom J. Dugger

  • Candidate picture

    Rick Dunham

Biographical Information

Why are you running for public office?

What are your legislative and policy priorities?

What makes you the best person for the job?

Education OSU School of Accounting Recognized as a Phi Kappa Phi honor society
Professional Experience Basis business: during 1972 to current Staff for a national accounting firm Tax and auditing for a national newspaper and broadcast company Chief financial Officer for a Stillwater Development Company Owner of own CPA firm for past 35 years Oklahoma Senator for 4 years committees: Education Appropriations and Budget General Government - Vice Chair Selected Agencies (57Agencies)Chair Ag and Wildlife
Campaign Email
Campaign Phone (405) 614-0460
Volunteer Service Turning Point Ranch Rotary United Way
I am seeking re-election because there is more to be done to improve both K-12 education and higher education. During the past four years we have made significant improvements. Continued improvements remain to be done.

I initiated a combination between the Senate and House for the overview of Selected Agencies (which I chair) and have tentatively agreed to combine the Senate and House Committees. We have begun to improve efficiency by combining the Select Agencies above, but also to merge with LOFT to make committees and agencies more efficient.
Ever since election to the Senate I have emphasized the efficiency of the Appropriations Committee and trying to make it better. We have been able to improve long-term teacher salaries with increases during the past few years. Last session, we were able to provide Retirement increases during the past few years. Last session, we were able to provide Retirement increases for the first time in 11 years for cost of living adjustments for Educators and Public Agencies.

Education and budget efficiency will continue to be a focus during the coming years. That is not all, however that is important. I have used my education and business experience to better my communities and District including Health and Welfare in Oklahoma. I expect this to continue as we fund the long-term health initiatives in this coming session.
I believe experience does count. I have the experience in business and as a CPA to facilitate and improve agencies. My participation in the workings of communities in Payne County and Stillwater enable me to anticipate the needs of District 21. Experience does make a difference. I am most willing to share my experience by working together with all of Payne County to make a better place to live.

My experience in the legislature is reflected in my votes in support of economic development and parent/child issues. The REID Foundation awarded me as a 100% economic development voter. I have led the entire Senate the past 4 years with voting on positive economic development areas.

I was also awarded the 100% voter award for Parent and Child issues. There were 8i members of the Senate being recognized this year. I have been awarded this recognition in prior years which reflects my commitment to the values of the Institute of Child Advocacy.
Education B.U.S., Oklahoma State University, International Studies M.A., Norwich University International Relations
Professional Experience Active Duty Army Officer, 2008-2015 Student, 2016-2020 Reserve Army Officer, 2015-Current
Campaign Email
Campaign Phone (405) 355-3377
Volunteer Service Chapter Advisor, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, 2015-2017 Secretary, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Housing Corps, 2016-Current Stillwater Mobile Meals, 2016-Current Our Daily Bread, 2019 Holiday Heroes, 2019
The trigger that led me down the rabbit hole towards eventually running for office was a drive on Perkins Road here in Stillwater. On this drive, it occurred to me the high number of Pay-Day Loan businesses were on that one street. I'd always associated Pay-Day Loan businesses with a high poverty rate, which didn't match with what my image of Stillwater was. It turns out that our county does, in fact, have approximately 1/3rd of our residents living below the poverty of the lowest in the state.

Poverty is a multi-faceted issue, and so my approach to addressing those concerns flow through my building economic diversity platform that expands Oklahoma's economy outside of the Energy Industry and focused on bringing more dimensions and resiliency into Oklahoma's currently one-dimensional economy.

In doing so, I believe we can provide better paying jobs to our state for a wide variety of interests and decreasing our county's poverty rate.
Building Economic Diversity in Oklahoma- While I believe it's not necessarily government's role to determine the direction of the market, I also think it's important to look at a key opportunity available to the state.

Pre-COVID-19, teleworking was slowly growing as a viable employment model. Post-COVID-19, that employment model has exploded, especially in the country's tech hubs, where workers are also faced with drastic cost-of-living and property costs. In addition, cities in Oklahoma spend millions trying to attract businesses to set-up shop in our respective municipalities. I believe our state can get "more bang for our buck" by attracting teleworkers, now freed from the constraints of having to live near their place of business, to live in Oklahoma where the cost of living is much lower and owning a home is much more affordable.

In addition, the cybersecurity concerns of our citizens is a priority of mine given how many Oklahoman's are scammed everyday.
Some legislators excel at operating in good times, of holding the line, steering the ship in a manner that doesn't rock the boat and keeps the good times going. Other legislators excel at times of change and upheaval, thrive in dynamic and chaotic environments, and bring to the visionary, creative way forward that re-establishes an orderly and healthy society.

I believe the time we're in calls for the second kind of legislator, and I'm the kind of candidate who embodies that approach. I think we can all agree that whatever approaches that were successful in the past are no longer working given the dramatic and general mistrust in our elected officials. I take a "think outside the box" and proactive approach to the work I do, which makes me the right candidate at the right place for this moment in time.