By Patrick B. McGuigan
Last Saturday (Feb. 4), Jason Reese, running for the state Senate District 46 seat vacated by Democrat Andrew Rice on Jan. 15, told The City Sentinel, “The first thing voters ask me is rarely a particular issue. They normally want to know who I am as a person. I think this is wise.
“The economy and spending are the big issues today and I am focused on them, but we do not know what the future holds. Voters want to know the character of the person representing them and the approach that person will bring to the challenges of the future.”
When first interviewed about the race in December, Reese expressed confidence that voters in District 46 “are an independent bunch.” Although reconfigured from the area that elected Rice in two elections, the new district retains a Democratic party registration, hinting at an advantage for Reese’s opponent, state Rep. Al McAffrey.
Reese told The City Sentinel, “My experience on the doorstep has confirmed my belief in the independence of District 46 voters.
“Most proudly ‘vote for the person, not the party.’ I like that and welcome it. I am a firm believer that we must take the best ideas from each party, not just enact one party’s platform, whole hog.”
Last fall, Reese said the top issues in the race would be “education, re-imagining safety net programs, and tax reform that help those who need it most.” Asked if his views had evolved over the last three months, he commented:
“My passion for equal opportunity in education has deepened. The conversations I have had with parents, especially on the Southside, have touched me. They, no differently than my family, want the best for their children and desire to have more options for the education of the next generation. This doesn’t stop with K-12.
“Parents are worried about the soaring cost of college and we need to address that. As for tax reform, I have seen even more how any tax reform must be targeted to the working class — that is why I am so determined to abolish the tax on groceries. A Democrat from southeast Oklahoma in the Senate used to lead the charge on that issue; now that he is gone, I will pick up the torch.”
Asked if had discerned any major differences with McAffrey, Reese reflected, “The biggest difference between Rep. McAffrey and me is our approach to politics. He is a party loyalist and an ideologue. I bring a more independent mindset and pragmatism. This is not to make him bad and me good or vice versa. They are just different approaches. I do believe that in this time of division and polarization, a healthy dose of pragmatism is needed.”
Invited to give parting reflections on the election on Tuesday (Feb. 14), Reese said, “My passion is that more Oklahomans can have the opportunities that I have had. Whether through scholarships, the G.I. Bill, or the ability to work in Bricktown, I see the good use for government in spreading opportunity while leaving individual initiative as the driver of growth. This is why I am running to represent my neighbors in the 46th District.”
Jason Reese wants District 46 voters to give him a chance
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