In the wake of recent controversial comments made by state Rep. Sally Kern, one of her constituents has decided to run against her.
Ron Marlett, 59, announced his candidacy for House District 84 this morning during a news conference at the state Capitol. Kern is currently representing the district which encompasses parts of northwest Oklahoma City, Bethany and Warr Acres.
Kern, a Republican, has represented the district since her election in 2004. Marlett, a Democrat, is making his first run for public office.
Over the past few weeks, Kern has gained national attention with comments she made at a Republican meeting back in January. The comments were secretly tape recorded and posted on the popular Internet website YouTube. Her remarks dealt with her views on homosexuality, including how the "homosexual agenda" is a bigger threat to America than terrorism.
Kern has refused to apologize for her comments, saying the remarks are protected under free speech. But several organizations, including several churches, have denounced her statements for what they believe constitutes hate speech.
When questioned by reporters, Marlett would not call Kern's remarks hate speech, but felt her statements could incite violence.
"Free speech can be provocative and considered hate speech by some," Marlett said. "But I don't think you have the right to say things that might incite violence."
Marlett said he is a social worker and lives in the Bethany/Warr Acres area. He said he has been thinking about running against Kern for a long time. -Scott Cooper