One in a series featuring candidates who are competing during the 2018 election cycle. This article focuses on candidates for U.S. Representative District 1 — Tim Gilpin, Democratic candidate, and Kevin Hern, Republican. The two will face off in the general election on Nov. 6.
1 What do you consider to be the most important issue that affects your constituents today?
Gilpin: Education. Public education is under funded and under appreciated by our current state and federal leaders. Yet, education is the engine of our personal and economic development. States and local school boards should reflect and set our schools’ standards. But, our federal tax dollars should return home to support local schools and encourage better learning standards so our students can compete nationally and internationally in the global markets.
Hern: The economy. We need to get the Government out of the way so that able-bodied Americans can get back to work. President Reagan once said that the best social program is a job. I agree; once we get our fiscal house in order, the rest of our problems will be much easier to solve.
2 What specifically would you do to address that issue for the benefit of your constituents?
Hern: Under President Trump’s leadership we’ve seen first-hand the power of the unbridled American economy and I look forward to helping him unwind some of these onerous regulations that hinder growth. We need a Congress who will sign these changes into law so the effects are long-lasting.
Gilpin: I served six years on the Oklahoma state Board of Education. During that time I fought for more funding for education, against further cuts, and supported teachers and education professionals. I also learned where education dollars come from, and I’m determined to bring more of our federal tax dollars home to help our local schools. I also stood up against former State Superintendent, Janet Baressi, and her unprofessional hiring of political hacks and insiders to state jobs. I intend to bring that same commitment to public education to Washington.
3 How do you and your opponent differ on the issues you believe are important in this election?
Gilpin: My opponent is 100 percent Trump, 100 percent of the time. I am 100 percent First District, all of the time; and, that’s where my loyalties lie. I will work with the Administration when it benefits Oklahoma and against the corruption, chaos and dysfunction that plagues our nation’s capital. I am not running to join the circus in Washington. I am running to serve Oklahoma and the people of the First District.
Hern: There are many ways in which my opponent and I differ. I am a life-time member of the NRA and received their endorsement; my opponent received an F rating. I am unabashedly pro-life; my opponent is pro-choice. I support securing our southern border; my opponent supports open borders. I support free-market solutions; my opponent believes in big government solutions.
4 Please describe a time when you agreed with the position held by the opposite party on an important issue?
Hern: Infrastructure. We differ on how to pay for our infrastructure needs but agree that it is the Constitutionally bound duty of the federal government to step in and ensure that we have world class infrastructure.
Gilpin: I liked when the current Administration talks about the need to fund infrastructure building projects. Our highways, roads, bridges, airports, flood control projects, etc., are in serious need of repair and rebuilding. However, I disagreed when the bill proposed by the Administration laid most of the cost at the states’ doorstep. Oklahoma is not able to keep up its roads, bridges, etc., right now. We need a U.S. Representative working to return our federal tax dollars home to these Oklahoma projects. Without that effort, our tax dollars are being put to work in other states.
5 On what important issues do you and your opponents share a common perspective?
Gilpin: I’d like to believe we agree on the need for infrastructure work and development.
Hern: In 2013 when the tornadoes devastated Moore, Republicans and Democrats came together to supply federal aid to the Oklahoma families in need.
NAME: Kevin Hern.
OCCUPATION: McDonald’s owner and operator.
FAMILY: Bride, Tammy Hern; 3 children and 1 daughter-in-law; 1 Dog, Bentley.
EDUCATION: Arkansas Tech University ‘86 - Bachelor of Science in Engineering, University of Arkansas-Little Rock ‘99 Master of Business Administration.
HOBBIES: Spending free time with family at our cabin in Porter. Attends church at the Church At Battle Creek.
NAME: Tim Gilpin.
OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Attorney.
FAMILY: Two children, Steven and Emma, and his fiance, Sarah.
EDUCATION: George Washington University; University of Tulsa.
RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Christian-Episcopal.
HOBBIES: Gardening, yoga.