Seven Candidates for State Superintendent
Let the fun officially begin! As of 5:00 this evening, the candidate filing period for 2014 has closed. It appears we will have seven people running for the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. According to the forms they filed with the state election commission, they are:
- Janet Barresi (Republican, Incumbent) – Oklahoma City
- John Cox (Democrat) – Hulbert
- Freda Deskin (Democrat) – Edmond
- Jack Herron (Democrat) – Norman
- Joy Hofmeister (Republican) – Tulsa
- Ivan Holmes (Democrat) – Oklahoma City
- Brian Kelly (Republican) – Edmond
You can click the links above to learn more about each candidate from his or her own website. With three or more individuals in each party’s primary, it is important to note all three election dates. The primary will be held June 24, 2014. In the case a run-off is needed, it will be August 26. The general election will be November 4.
Keeping track of candidates over the last three days has only been part of my curiosity. I assume that most of my readers have never run for public office before. I wanted to see what the process looks like, so I downloaded a copy of the 2014 Filing Packet.
First off, each candidate had to pay a filing fee of $500, unless they presented a petition for candidacy that has been signed by four percent of registered voters. Second, each state office has specific requirements for candidates. Here’s a general overview for state offices.
No person shall be eligible to the office of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor and Inspector, Attorney General, State Treasurer or Superintendent of Public Instruction except a citizen of the United States of the age of not less than thirty-one (31) years and who shall have been ten (10) years next preceding his or her election, or appointment, a qualified elector of this state. (Article 6, Section 3, Oklahoma Constitution)
Some offices have additional requirements.
State Auditor and Inspector
The State Auditor and Inspector must have had at least three years’ experience as an expert accountant.
The Insurance Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma shall … have had at least five (5) years’ experience in the insurance industry in administration, sales, servicing or regulation.
Any person, otherwise qualified, who has been a resident of the state for two (2) years, a registered voter in the district and a resident residing within such district for at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing period, a duly licensed attorney for at least five (5) years, and at least twenty-eight (28) years of age, prior to the date of filing for the office, shall be eligible to hold the office of district attorney.
District Judge and Associate District Judge
Each District Judge shall have had prior to election or appointment, a minimum of four years’ experience as a licensed practicing attorney, or as a judge of a court of record, or both, within the State of Oklahoma.
That’s it – nothing for Attorney General, State Treasurer, or Superintendent of Public Instruction. You have to have experience in law to be a DA, but not to be the AG. Bizarre. You just have to be 31.
Most of the Oklahoma education community has lamented over these last three years the fact that our state’s education system is being run by an amateur who takes her marching orders from Jeb Bush and ALEC. Many of us would like to see some sort of professional prerequisites for this office as well. While we are fortunate to have an Attorney General and a State Treasurer with relevant professional experience, nothing in the Oklahoma Constitution or anywhere in state statute mandates that. In theory, we could eventually get dentists running both of those agencies at some point as well – maybe even teachers!
In all seriousness, this field has been taking shape since August. I’m a little surprised we didn’t have another candidate or two. Oklahomans (not just educators) are beyond frustrated with the incumbent and legislature for their ongoing disrespect. Throw the governor in there too; she hasn’t done public schools or the children they serve any favors.
My hope is that concerned voters will research ALL of the candidates. These people have done something in putting their names on the ballot that most of us will never do. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a strong working knowledge of four of these people and their positions on the issues that matter to me. Now I need to learn more about the other three.
We have 74 days until the primary, and a lot of work to do.