MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 31, 2012

HD14 hopefuls differ on social legislation

Hulbert: Cost no consideration; Rains: Social agenda not appropriate

This is one in a series of articles in advance of Tuesday’s election.

Legislation driven by social or religious values often end up costing taxpayers who end up footing the bill for costly legal battles that often follow the passage of these laws.

In recent years, scarce dollars have been used to defend the passage of a constitutional amendment banning the application of Islamic laws in state courts. Taxpayers also were on the hook for the cost of defending anti-abortion laws eventually struck down as unconstitutional.

At a time when the state cannot fund core government services, the wisdom of pursuing the passage of laws promoting an ideological agenda must be questioned. The issue appears to be the most distinguishing aspect dividing the two candidates competing for the House District 14 seat in the Oklahoma Legislature.

Arthur Hulbert, a political newcomer from Fort Gibson who is competing for the post as a Republican, said costs should not be a consideration in pursuing social change. Jerry Rains, his Democratic rival who once sought the Muskogee County assessor’s post, said imposing social and religious values upon the populace is a role unsuited for government.

Hulbert, a self-described fiscal conservative who supports fully funding public education and other core services, said he fight for legislation to would prevent “the recent attacks on biblical values” regardless of costs.

“I am pro-public education, pro-small business, pro-gun rights for law abiding citizens, pro-life, pro-marriage between a man and a woman only, pro-law enforcement, pro-veteran, and for preventing the recent attacks on biblical values,” Hulbert said. “Fear of costly litigation or fear of a fight is not an acceptable reason for not fighting for values that save unborn children’s lives, protect public education, strengthen our economy, protect our constitutional rights, and give our children the ability to grow up in a country where Christian principles are not constantly under attack.”

Like Hulbert, Rains said he is and ardent supporter of gun rights and holds the same Christian values regarding marriage and the sanctity of life. But Rains said he would be hesitant about pushing “the way I live and the way I feel on someone else.”

“They have a right to make their own decisions,” Rains said. “It’s not for one person to say to another person you are living your life wrong — I won’t do that.”

Hulbert, on the other hand, sees no problem with legislating morality. Citing prohibitions against bigamy and sodomy, Hulbert said the nation has a long tradition of legislating morality.

Rains said America is a “nation of laws” that must be honored. While some of those laws — especially those dealing with reproductive rights — divide the nation, Rains said “extremist views can be contentious and solve nothing.”

“In a republic such as ours, government is a civil process, not a religious one,” Rains said. “My greatest passion is to promote the welfare of my community, my state and ultimately the nation, whatever that might be.”

Hulbert and Rains will square off Tuesday, when voters go to the polls to choose a president, congressional and legislative representatives, and weigh in on the slate of state questions and judicial retention ballots.

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

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