Home > Uncategorized > Reason #8 to pick Dr. Grace over Mr. Walters: Showing up

Reason #8 to pick Dr. Grace over Mr. Walters: Showing up

August 8, 2022

In politics, name recognition is critical. Most politicians try to get out in front of as many people as they can. They do big events. They come to small meet-and-greets. When they are presented with opportunities to show contrast with their opponents, they go there too.

Alternatively, a candidate may rely on a campaign funded by out-of-state special interest groups, racking up name recognition with flyers and large ad buys. They still get invited to all the county party events. They just don’t go. This is the campaign that Ryan Walters is running.

There’s no grassroots connection to voters there. Similarly, he has little connection with parents – except those affiliated with the groups funding him.

Undoubtedly, trying to run a statewide campaign in Oklahoma is tough. Some of our 77 counties are hard to reach. Between filing in April, the primary in June, and even the runoff in August, I don’t think many candidates could go 77 out of 77. Still, you can be seen trying. Skipping that event with 13 people in NE Oklahoma might keep you from having 13 people singing your praises to their circle of influence. Dr. Grace thrives on those moments.

This June, the state superintendent candidates had the chance to make their case at the summer Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration (CCOSA) conference. Three of the four people running for the Republican nomination were there. Walters was not. Similarly, he was on the agenda to speak at the Oklahoma Department of Career Tech Summit last week. He didn’t show up, but Dr. Grace did. My staff who were there told me she was genuine and passionate. That’s April – not just campaign April. That’s who she is every single day.

You want to lead us? Show up. Tell us what you’re about. You might not win us all over, but at some point, you’re going to have to get out of your car and work with us.

As I wrote yesterday, Dr. Grace responded to the Oklahoma Parent Legislative Action Committee (OK-PLAC) questionnaire, and that Walters did not. One of their questions was about the use of vouchers and accountability for funds. 

Frankly, Walters runs from questions like this. Maybe it’s because his own conduct regarding the GEER allocations is in question. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t understand the rest of the question due to a lack of experience.

Having a presence with people is important. Answering questions matters. Having real Oklahomans support your campaign…well, you get it. You either want to support our public schools and can articulate how you want to do that, or you don’t. The out-of-state special interest groups that support the Walters campaign clearly have more access to the candidate than regular Oklahomans. 

If you’re interested, Dr. Grace and Mr. Walters will square off in a debate Tuesday at 5:00 on Fox 25. Let’s see if he can make it.

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