Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tulsa World Endorses Edmondson

By The Tulsa World's Editorial Writers ~ Oklahomans are fortunate this election cycle to have credible, experienced candidates seeking most legislative and statewide offices.

That is especially true in the governor's race: The state's attorney general faces the lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary, and a congresswoman faces a well-known state senator in the GOP primary.

After closely examining all their records, we believe that Drew Edmondson is the most qualified to occupy the state's highest office. We strongly encourage Democrats to turn out in force for him on Tuesday.

Edmondson's career of public service far surpasses those of the other contenders. He has proven his competence, dedication and leadership abilities in every office he has occupied.

His integrity is beyond challenge, and his commitment to Oklahoma's well-being knows no bounds.

An added bonus of an Edmondson administration for northeast Oklahoma is the fact he hails from this part of the state, as has his family for generations. He has continued to make needs and challenges in this part of the state a top priority. In fact, Edmondson has faced considerable political risk with his years-long battle to protect eastern Oklahoma waterways from possible pollution sources — a battle that also has demonstrated his willingness to persevere on behalf of worthwhile causes.

Edmondson is a graduate of Northeastern State University and the University of Tulsa School of Law. He served one term in the state Legislature before going to law school. He also is a Navy veteran who served a tour of duty in Vietnam.

He was elected to three terms as Muskogee County District Attorney beginning in 1982, and four terms as attorney general, beginning in 1994. He garnered more than 60 percent of the vote in the last two elections.

Edmondson was among other state attorneys general who filed the mid-1990s lawsuit against the tobacco industry that resulted in a $2 billion settlement for Oklahoma.

As attorney general, he has tirelessly safeguarded the legal interests of Oklahomans. His accomplishments include reform of the death penalty appeals process, the establishment of victims' services and zealous representation of consumers in utility and pharmaceutical cases.

Edmondson has developed detailed action plans on the economy, education, energy, health care and other fronts that are of critical importance to Oklahoma.

Edmondson's primary opponent, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, also is an able public servant whose career demonstrates commitment and hard work.

But Edmondson's broader range of experience, coupled with his proven record of political strength and courage, make him the best choice for Democrats on Tuesday. Quite simply, he is the candidate in the race, Democrat or Republican, who is best prepared to be governor from the first day in office.

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