Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oklahoman: Barresi, Pruitt, Miller Endorsed

Editorial/The Oklahoman ~ The Nov. 2 races for state schools superintendent and attorney general offer Oklahomans four good candidates. In the race for state treasurer, one candidate clearly stands out.

Janet Barresi is our choice to replace Sandy Garrett as superintendent. Barresi, a Republican, has an established reputation as an education reformer and isn't afraid to challenge the status quo — just what Oklahoma needs. Her opponent is Democratic state Sen. Susan Paddack of Ada, a former teacher and college instructor who has been an education advocate during her time in the Legislature.

While Garrett led an education department that has made noteworthy accomplishments during her 20 years in office, reform has unprecedented national momentum and Oklahoma must be part of it. The state needs someone who will stand up to the unions and work to cut away bureaucratic red tape that blocks reform. As the founder of the state's first charter school, Barresi understands that all schools and all children desperately need strong principals and high-quality teachers.

She acknowledges the state will have to be creative with reform because of budget troubles and she opposes State Question 744 as bad policy. Paddack has refused to take a stand on the measure. That's unacceptable not only for a state superintendent but for a state senator who will retain her seat if she isn't elected to the top education job.

The attorney general's office would be in capable hands regardless of whether Democrat Jim Priest or Republican Scott Pruitt succeeds Drew Edmondson, who has held the job 16 years. Priest is making his first run for public office and is a good man. Our nod goes to Pruitt, a former state senator from Broken Arrow. His legislative experience and energy are strong suits, although we have concerns about plans to create a division designed to keep Washington, D.C., off our backs. Better to focus the office's assets on state concerns.

Republican Ken Miller of Edmond is the clear choice in the race to succeed Scott Meacham as treasurer. Meacham, a Democrat, would have been a formidable opponent had he not chosen to return to the private sector. He encouraged Miller to run and has endorsed his candidacy.

The Democrat in the race is an unknown, Stephen Covert of Midwest City, who if elected would like to place invested state dollars only in Oklahoma-based banks. It's an awful idea — state money should be invested where it earns the best return, period.

Miller has spent the past six years in the state House of Representatives and is chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. He has a doctorate in political economics and is a professor at Oklahoma Christian University. His experience and background in the public and private sectors would serve him well as treasurer.

Previous endorsements
Congress: James Lankford, Republican, for 5th District, and incumbent Reps. Dan Boren, Frank Lucas and John Sullivan
Auditor and inspector: Steve Burrage, Democrat
Insurance commissioner: Kim Holland, Democrat
Labor commissioner: Mark Costello, Republican
Oklahoma County: Commissioners Ray Vaughn, Republican, and Willa Johnson, Democrat

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