Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Going for Gold in the Governor's Race

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Going for Gold in the Governor's Race

Article excerpt

Observers of Oklahoma's political scene, if they have been around long enough, know strange things can happen in election years, not the least of which is that relative unknowns sometimes upset the established political geography.

Democrat Gov. Brad Henry and Republican gubernatorial nominee Steve Largent leap to mind as the most recent example. Four years ago at this time Largent, a popular 1st District congressman from Tulsa, was a shoo-in for governor, but Henry, a virtually unknown Democrat state senator, won with 43 percent of the vote.

Bob Sullivan, prominent Tulsa independent oilman, is one of three candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Considered somewhat of a dark horse, he appears to be emerging and having raised more than $600,000 at this point has the financing to make him a viable candidate, and certainly is exhibiting a lot of determination.

Sullivan served as secretary of energy under then-Gov. Frank Keating and for 13 months with Henry but is the only non-politician businessman in the race. The others, 5th District U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook, R-Warr Acres, and state Sen. James E. Williamson, R-Tulsa, are both attorneys having long political backgrounds.

Henry too is a lawyer with 12 years of service in the state Senate before becoming governor.

Sullivan and his wife, Jeanne, who have six grown children and seven grandchildren, were raised in Oklahoma. They are deeply rooted in their strong faith and stress family values among other views. If elected, he would be the fourth catholic to serve as governor.

A fiscal conservative, he envisions a state where taxpayers use their money in the private sector to grow the economy.

Real economic prosperity comes from more industry and better jobs, not more government spending, Sullivan said. Instead of doing the political thing and spreading surplus tax dollars over a wide range of popular government spending projects why don't we give it back by beginning to eliminate the state income tax?

Sullivan's views on common education include more competition in the system such as school choice with its many variations. Another is directing more education dollars into the classroom. …

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