Local candidates prep for primary, focus on UCO

Democrats debate Racing for seats as U.S. Senators for Oklahoma, five local candidates met at UCO to debate this week.

Democratic candidates Brad Carson and Carroll Fisher faced off July 18, and the Republican candidates Bob Anthony, Kirk Humphreys and Tom Coburn debated July 20.

The debates were hosted by KFOR-TV, news channel 4. Co-anchors Linda Cavanaugh and Kevin Ogle hosted both portions of the public debate.

Candidates outlined their platforms and answered questions from audience members.

To kick off the Democratic debate, Carson and Fisher were given a minute each to answer the same questions. At first both seemed to agree with one another.

Both said they will fight to keep Oklahoma military bases open.

Both said they believe in strong support for the U.S. military and its funding, and both said that they will work to improve our school system.

The issue Carson and Fisher disagreed about was what Kevin Ogle described as ?the controversial question? – gay marriage.

?I have long been on record to support the necessary constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman, and would support a constitutional amendment stating so,? Carson said.

Fisher said he is disappointed because people feel this issue needs to be a constitutional amendment.

?I hope we don?t get to the point where we take a constitutional amendment to judge how we live our lifestyles,? Fisher said. ?I do think individuals within our country who have made choices in their lifestyle have rights.?

Brad Carson was elected the Congressional seat for the second district of Oklahoma and was re-elected to office in 2002.

Fisher, who currently serves as Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner, said of his pending court case that he never embezzled a dime.

?I will be exonerated,? he said.

The debate lasted 30 minutes. Republicans debate

A debate between Republican candidates Bob Anthony, Tom Coburn and Kirk Humphreys was held July 19, also in Constitution Hall.

Candidates were each given one minute to answer questions from the audience, while Cavanaugh and Ogle moderated.

Anthony answered one of the first questions also having to do with possible base closings.

Anthony said he would fight to keep the bases open in order to keep the jobs in Oklahoma and maintain a strong military.

?I would work my heart out to stay on top of it,? he said.

Humphreys responded to an audience question about the conflicts between Israel and Palestine.

?I think Israel is our best friend in the Middle East. I think the U.S. needs to support Israel, and I think it?s appropriate to donate foreign aid dollars to friends like Israel,? Humphreys said.

Humphreys also responded to a question about Medicaid and Medicare. He suggested moving toward free market solutions. He said he thinks citizens should move away from the federal health care system.

?We can do that but it would take a major overhaul of the system,? he said.

Coburn answered a question about why he voted against a pork bill.

?The bill would take money away from our farmers,? he said. ?I believe we should support the department of agriculture, but I don?t believe we should do it by wasting money.?

Coburn and Anthony both said they would support a term limit for senators.

?Term limits set you free to do the very things you need to do and to not buy into the system but be able to challenge the system,? Coburn said. ?A system that is made up of career politicians and if you can?t challenge this system you shouldn?t be there more than 12 years.?

Anthony served as Oklahoma Corporate Commissioner from 1988 to 2000.

Humpreys is the former mayor of Oklahoma City.

Coburn represented Oklahoma?s second Congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001.

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