MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 8, 2014

Teacher pursues seat in House

Often-honored educator makes second try in District 14

A Muskogee educator recognized numerous times as an “outstanding” public school teacher announced plans this week to compete for the District 14 post in the Oklahoma Legislature.

Jack A. Reavis, a Muskogee Democrat, will be seeking the seat being vacated by Rep. Arthur Hulbert, a Fort Gibson Republican who is leaving at the end of his first term. Hulbert cited the unexpected death of his mother and the health concerns of other close relatives as the reason for his departure.

This will be Reavis’ second bid for the District 14 seat, competing among a field of three candidates in 2012 for the Democratic nomination. Reavis, who teaches advanced placement classes in U.S. history, government and Western European history, serves as chairman of the Muskogee County Democratic Party.

Reavis, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is a staunch supporter of public education, workers’ rights and a strong middle class. He said the state “should fully fund public education, teacher retirement” and that “no public tax money should be diverted to support charter schools” regardless of whether they are “public or private, parochial or non-parochial.”

With regard to labor, Reavis recognized the contributions of unions — retirement benefits, minimum wage schedules, job protections and safety among them. While denouncing members who have abused “negotiated rights,” Reavis said the “working middle class is the backbone” of America, and every worker, even those who have no affiliation, enjoys the benefits of collective bargaining.

“An institution that limits a working man or woman’s ... civil and legal right to join, form or support a union is un-American, Reavis said, acknowledging the “good-faith” efforts of  “the working class” to negotiate benefits. “This type of suppression borders on governmental and corporate dictatorship.”

Although he supports funding for important government services —  education, fire and police protection are among those he singles out — Reavis rejects the idea that government should legislate morality. That duty, he said, lies with parents.

“If I want my children to know what is morally correct, then I must model and teach them, not the government,” Reavis said. “The government that governs best governs least. Where it does govern, it should be in service to the people — no government, legislative body or political party should legislate morality.”

Reavis has taught 17 years for Muskogee Public Schools, the past 12 years at Muskogee High School. In addition to his teaching assignments, Reavis serves as an assistant coach for the volleyball and girls basketball teams.

Reavis also has served as the second vice president of the Muskogee Education Association and other union-related committees. He is a certified dietary manager and managed the business and service aspects of a restaurant and nursing facility with an annual budget of about $400,000.

This year’s three-day filing period for county, state and federal candidates begins Wednesday and continues through Friday. Primary elections are scheduled for June 24, with primary runoffs planned Aug. 26 and general elections on Nov. 4.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

Meet Jack A. Reavis

AGE: 56.

HOMETOWN: Born in Tulsa, home is in Muskogee.

FAMILY: Wife, Lora (Weant) Reavis; four daughters; four grandchildren.

OCCUPATION: Classroom teacher at Muskogee High School.

EDUCATION: Northeastern State University. Bachelor’s degree in social studies education, master’s degree in American studies.

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Christian, attend Life Church Muskogee.

HOBBIES: Playing music and writing poetry.

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