And for the first time, Commissioner Bob Anthony is drawing a challenge within his own party. Certified public accountant Brooks Mitchell is challenging Anthony in the June 26 Republican primary. Since there is no Democratic challenger, the contest will determine who gets the seat on the three-person panel.
It takes a lot of effort to oversee all of the functions of the agency. The last couple of years especially, I just havent seen Bob Anthony put forth the energy to do all of that, Mitchell said.
But Anthony, at age 64, said he has plenty of energy to keep going after 24 years in office.
Im running for re-election because Oklahoma ratepayers need a fighter to stand up for them at the Corporation Commission. Oklahoma needs a commissioner who is dedicated to honesty and integrity and with the national standing to counter the federal attacks on Oklahoma jobs, Anthony said.
Meet the candidates
Anthony said hes most proud of helping clear corruption from the commission.
Today the agency has a reputation for honesty and integrity, and I have a reputation for honesty and integrity and they dont call us the perjury palace anymore, he said.
In other matters concerning the commission, Anthony said he opposes mandates from the Environmental Protection Agency to require multibillion dollar scrubbers installed in Oklahomas electric power plants, which could result in a 15 percent to 20 percent rate increase. He said he supports state oversight of oil and gas production, and opposes federal attempts to restrict such drilling techniques as hydraulic fracturing.
Although this is Mitchells first political race, he spent nine years at the Corporation Commission, six of those as director of administration, managing 430 employees and a $40 million budget.
Participating at the highest levels of the commission, I gained an appreciation for how hard the job is and how much energy it takes. Its a very diverse agency being the main regulatory agency in the state, he said of the role he left in January of this year.
Mitchell said one of his chief goals is to update the agencys technology.
We need to become a 21st-century agency, he said. One vital need is a new case-processing system. Its something that can be used agency-wide and will create efficiencies not only for the agency, but for people who practice at the agency and the citizens of Oklahoma.
Seniority and standing
Anthony said his
tenure has solidified his pull with numerous industry agencies
nationwide. I have seniority and standing with numerous capacities that
allow me to be infinitely more effective than any opponent who has
filed, he said.
Incumbency has helped
give him a considerable leg up on fundraising. According to recent
candidate filings, Anthonys campaign has out-raised Mitchell more than 6
to 1, topping more than $260,000.
serves on industry panels, such as the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
said those panels may look good on a résumé, but have little to no role
affecting Oklahoma policy. He said he wrote much of the original
language of Senate Bill 1434, which bolstered funding for the
commissions oil and gas division.
funding, he said, will help clear inspection backlogs and prevent the
EPA from intervening on the federal governments behalf.
one thing to talk about doing it. Its another to actually roll up your
sleeves to make sure your agency has the tools it needs to be able to
stand up to the EPA or anyone else, Mitchell said.