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Out like a Lamb

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Five Republicans have already announced their candidacy for the empty Senate District 47 seat. Filing opens Dec. 13.

If there's one thing the Nov. 2 election proved, it's that the electoral momentum was behind Republican candidates.

By the way the race for the Senate District 47 special election is shaping up, so far that rule is holding.

District 47 encompasses part of northwest Oklahoma County, mostly north of Lake Hefner extending into southern Edmond. Republican Lt. Gov.-elect Todd Lamb has represented the district since 2004.

Lamb recently resigned, effective upon his taking the lieutenant governor's position in January, and a special primary election for the seat is set for Jan. 11, with the general election Feb. 8.

Lamb has declined to make any endorsements in the race.

While filing for the seat doesn't officially open until Dec. 13, there have already been five Republican candidates throw their hats into the ring " and more could emerge. No Democrats have yet announced candidacy.

And although all the candidates in the already crowded race are of the same party, their backgrounds are far from homogeneous.

Todd Brawley

Brawley is the latest to announce his candidacy, issuing a media release on Nov. 22. Vice president of Mehlburger Brawley Inc., a civil engineering firm in Oklahoma City, Brawley is a member of the Society of Civil Engineers and serves on the board of trustees for Science Museum Oklahoma.

Brawley said he is a hard worker who will campaign tirelessly for the post.

"I believe my background and unique qualifications will enable me to hit the ground running as the new state senator and make certain District 47 is well represented when the next legislative session gets under way in February," Brawley said.

Brawley said he has been a lifelong conservative Republican, and would represent the people in his district well.

"I now feel led to step out and seek public office for the first time. I recognize the value of hard work, being a good listener and making decisions in a fair and balanced manner," Brawley said. "I understand the importance of standing for conservative values and honest leadership in government. This is the right time in my personal and professional life to spend time in public service."


Steven Dobbs

Dobbs formerly served as Ward 8 councilman for the Oklahoma City Council and as a member of the city's Board of Adjustment. The practicing attorney and U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran was raised in an orphanage and upon graduation from high school, the orphanage "literally gave him a suitcase and $50 and wished him well in life," according to his campaign website.

Dobbs said his life, work experience and readiness set him apart from the other candidates and qualify him for the job.

"I think we're in such a wonderful position in Oklahoma right now, with a unified state government," Dobbs said. "We need someone with life experience and legislation ready to go, some of which will be popular, some which will not."

If elected, Dobbs said he would like to spearhead several pieces of legislation, including a bill requiring elected officials filing for another office to forfeit their current seat so it can be filled in a general election, doing away with the estate tax and preventing cuts to programs for seniors.

"I'll be able to hit the ground running," Dobbs said.

Kenny Goza

Goza is an attorney, Army veteran and former staff member for Gov. Frank Keating. Goza, who was placed in the foster care system for two years before being adopted at age 9, also worked to implement the state's Amber Alert program.

Goza is one of two candidates to have submitted campaign expenditure and contribution reports to the state Ethics Commission thus far. As of Oct. 29, Goza had raised around $10,450.

Goza said that what sets him apart from other candidates is that, if elected, he would donate his salary as a public official to veterans and foster care groups.

Goza said he is a small businessman who understands the problems businesses face.

"It's my belief that people at the Capitol don't understand small business; they just talk about it," Goza said. "I want to be somebody not connected to the political machinery that they're a puppet for other individuals."

If elected, Goza said he would introduce legislation that would freeze the pay of the top 250 state employees and employees that received and accepted pay raises, while others were furloughed this year, as well as toughening state immigration laws, protecting home schooling and bolstering Second Amendment rights " such as legislation allowing open carry.

Carol Hefner

Hefner has worked in the nonprofit sector for around 26 years, and worked to establish a foundation for children's medical research at the Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center following the death of a child. She is also a former member of the state Arts Council.

Thus far, contribution reports show that Hefner had raised around $26,000 for her campaign as of Nov. 1.

Hefner said she has little political experience, volunteering for then-Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin's campaign and hosting a fundraiser for Lamb. But it is her energy and service to the community that Hefner said sets her apart from the other candidates.

"My feet have been set on a path I didn't even see coming," Hefner said. "My intrinsic gift is service. I love to work with people and help people. This is the ultimate in helping people.

"I don't owe anybody anything. All those other boys owe somebody something. I owe no one."

Hefner said that, if elected, she would introduce legislation to encourage business and job growth, including a measure to reduce the corporate income tax to zero.

"It would do more for creation of jobs across this state " more than anything else we can do immediately," Hefner said. "It would show that we are free in Oklahoma to do something different, and that we are innovative and unleash our minds and talent."

Greg Treat

Treat is a former staff member for Tom Coburn in the U.S. House and in the Senate, as well as former legislative director for then-Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin. Treat also headed the state Republican Party's 2010 effort to recruit voters.

Treat cites his time serving under Coburn and Fallin, and the experience he gained in drafting legislation and learning the inner workings of government, as traits that set him apart from the other candidates.

"I don't believe anyone else (in the race) has had the same level of experience, taking an idea from draft to passage to the governor's desk," Treat said. "I'm going to work harder than anyone else."

If elected, Treat said his first priority will be to introduce legislation freezing seniors' property tax rates and to apply a fix to a measure previously passed by voters that limits property tax increases to 5 percent in a year. Treat said some counties have used this measure to increase property taxes by the maximum amount each year, and that the maximum increase amount should be lowered.

"That's a gross misinterpretation of what taxpayers were saying," Treat said.

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