Primary voters in District 30 will choose between two candidates for their next state senator.
After exhausting term limits, Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee is stepping down from the Legislature, leaving his district seat up for grabs. The two candidates vying to fill the position are Republicans David Holt and Matt Jackson.
Because there is no Democrat running, the candidate who wins the primary election will take the seat.
The district includes portions of Northwest Oklahoma City, Bethany, Warr Acres and The Village. Voting is Tuesday.
Holt, a 31-year-old Oklahoma City native, has been involved in state politics his entire career.
Holt graduated from Putnam City North High School in 1997. He then attended George Washington University and received his bachelor's degree in political science. He later obtained his juris doctorate from Oklahoma City University.
While attending GWU in Washington, D.C., Holt interned for Ernest Istook and J.C. Watts. He worked for former Sen. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and was in the nation's capital during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Holt returned home and served former Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin and later became the chief of staff for Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. Inspired by his family and his community, he said the call for public service led him to run for the seat.
"It's the seat I was brought back from the hospital when I was born, and the seat I've called home all my life," he said. "I feel we need to be represented by someone who is one of us. "¦ My roots are very deep."
Holt became interested in the seat because of the opportunity to represent his home district. He said his conservative stances are indicative of the area and reflect the values he received as a result of being raised there.
"I know how to get things done," he said. "I've done it at the federal level and the city level. I know how to accomplish the conservative goals I reflect."
If he is elected, Holt said he plans to take advantage of a Republican-controlled House and Senate.
"I think we can be bold and should be bold," he said. "We need to push through pro-business initiatives, workers' comp reform, continue to pressure lowering income tax rate " we need to keep that as an end goal. We also need to focus on inefficiencies in Oklahoma state government. I come from a place, the City of Oklahoma City, where we run a tight ship and focus on core services. At the state Capitol, that's not always the case."
If Holt wins the election, he will have to vacate his seat as Mayor Cornett's chief of staff, according to the city charter. Holt said he will resign the seat, if necessary.
"I will resign the seat after the election should I win," he said. "The city manager will find a successor. I'll be happy to provide words of wisdom to that person."
Like Holt, Matt Jackson is also an Oklahoma City native, but hasn't spent his time in politics " something he said he finds advantageous.
A graduate of Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, Jackson, 35, received a bachelor's degree in environmental management from Northeastern State University. For the past seven years, he's spent his time working as a private consultant for law enforcement agencies.
Jackson began his career in law enforcement and correctional administration. He said it is this experience, along with the importance of being a public servant, that has aided his decision to run for the seat.
"Public service has always been important to me," Jackson said. "As a father of three, I've been concerned with the status quo, career politicians and people who legislate on special interests."
Jackson said he is interested in seeing a more limited government with limited taxes. He'd like to see local business grow the economy and elected officials be more concerned with their constituents than their paychecks.
"Too often, we have elected officials worried about the next election as opposed to what is constitutional and what's right," he said.
If elected, Jackson hopes to see education reform and illegal immigration lead topics discussed in the next legislative session.
"We need to find a way to get more money into the classrooms and find ways to fix illegal immigration," he said. "We have a budget shortfall in essential services. We need to balance the budget. "¦ When you look at the cuts, they only cut about 3.7 percent out of the budget."
Jackson said his experience outside of "politics as usual" is an important quality he can bring to the state Senate.
"You legislate through the scope of experience," he said. "I've seen crime, abuse cases and different spectrums of society. I know what it's like to fall on hard times and fight through a recession. When you have someone who has been in politics and the status quo, you'll only get the status quo."
The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police and firefighters' union have endorsed Jackson. He describes himself as a candidate who understands and supports local citizens.
"We need someone who can come from different background and legislate for the people; not leave them by the wayside," he said.
Who can vote?
Senate District 30 runs along N.W. 10th Street from N. County Line Road to N. Ann Arbor Avenue. It continues northward along N. County Line Road until it reaches N.W. Wilshire. The eastern boundary of the district runs north along Meridian Avenue, but does not include a portion east of N. Donna Avenue from N.W. 36th Street to N.W. 58th. It also includes the area around Lake Hefner to W. Memorial Road.
top photo David Holt. Photo/Mark Hancock
bottom photo Matt Jackson.