Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Beutler, Mooneyham Sharpen Knives on Incumbent Lucas

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Beutler, Mooneyham Sharpen Knives on Incumbent Lucas

Article excerpt

State Rep. Randy Beutler of Elk City and educator Bob Mooneyham of Oklahoma City are running an image campaign for the Democratic nomination in the 6th Congressional District, saving most of their criticism for the Republican incumbent.

Beutler, 39, is a farmer-rancher and former teacher. He vows to be an independent congressman in the mold of Democrat Glenn English, who represented the district before leaving Congress in 1994.

Bob Mooneyham, 62, is a retired educator from Oklahoma City. He promises to be more accessible and aggressive than incumbent Frank Lucas of Cheyenne, the former GOP state House member elected to replace English six years ago.

The two appear to have few disagreements on issues.

Both say farm legislation enacted with the support of Lucas is detrimental to the family farmer.

Both back more funding for education and vow to protect the Society Security system and improve health care access.

In joint appearances, the two have shied away from criticizing each other. But in an interview with The Associated Press, Mooneyham accused Beutler of running to extend his political career, saying the lawmaker "is rapidly approaching the term limit deadline."

On the other hand, Mooneyham said he is running to extend a 40- year career of "service to the people of Oklahoma," first as a teacher and superintendent and the past 25 years as executive director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.

Beutler said Mooneyham is raising "a false issue." He said that if he only wanted a long political career, he would run for two more terms in a "pretty safe" House district, then run for Congress.

Beutler said he is running because he has a well-rounded career that could benefit the diverse district, including eight years as a teacher, in addition to his experiences as a farmer, rancher and legislator.

In the Legislature, he said, "I believe we have a track record on many issues -- not just agriculture and education--but on economic development, infrastructure, environmental areas and health care. …

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