By CHRIS EVERSOLE
Two teachers and one former teacher are among the seven people running for the District 47 Oklahoma House seat – a field with three Democrats and four Republicans.
The seat is currently held by Leslie Osborn, who is seeking the statewide labor commissioner job.
The House district covers much of the Mustang School District as well as the Tuttle area.
The candidates with experience as educators who filed for election are:
Democrat Sarah Carnes, 46, a Mustang High School art teacher
Republican Beverly Adams, 45, who taught physical education at Mustang Creek Elementary School for 17 years and now works with her husband running Mattresses and Furniture in Oklahoma City
Republican Lindsey Strader, 30, who teaches at Shedeck Elementary School in Yukon
The other Democrats are O.A. Cargill, 60, of Yukon, and Jacob Wilson, 39, of Mustang. Cargill ran unsuccessfully against Osborn in 2016.
Other Republicans seeking the GOP nomination are Ramona Riley, 64, of Mustang, and Brian Hill, 42, of Mustang.
Carnes said she never was inclined to run for office until she began lobbying along with educators from across the state during the recent teachers’ walkout.
“I would come home at night and start sharing with my friends and family members about how to get involved. The asked me ‘how do I find my legislator? What do you want me to ask them for.’”
These people encouraged her to run for the seat. “At first, I said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Then longtime friend Steven Vincent, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully this fall in a special election in Oklahoma Senate District 45 (a race that Republican Paul Rosino won), posted an online message asking if people would support a teacher he knew.
“He got a bunch of replies, and people donated enough money to cover my filing fee, and I made my decision,” Carnes said.
Several other educators who Carnes met during the walkout also are running for the legislature.
“They know the heartaches and stresses that teachers face,” she said. “We all want to stop having to pay thousands of our own dollars for supplies we need in the classroom and to provide the state with well-educated constituents.”
Adams, the former teacher and current furniture store co-owner, said she believes that her experience will help her as a legislator.
“The Legislature deals with more than just education,” she said.
She is confident that voters will support someone with experience in education in the race.
“I’m pleased with how the school district has supported the teachers in the walkout and with the community’s support for education,” she said.
She’s glad that other teachers are running in her district. “I think we’re all on the same page,” she said.
Strader said she is running based on her background as a teacher and a mother.
“I want to be the voice of my constituents,” she said.
“I want to work for Oklahoma’s children, families and our public service programs. I want to stand in the gap and make our families, and thus our state, stronger.”
A primary election for both parties will be held on June 26, a runoff election (if needed) on August 28 and the general election on Nov. 6.