By Patrick B. McGuigan
Steve Kern, pastor of Olivet Baptist Church on the near-west side of Oklahoma City, is running for the Republican nomination in state Senate District 40. Cliff Branan has held the seat for 12 years. With onset of term limits, Branan is seeking the Corporation Commission seat being vacated by incumbent Patrice Douglas, one of several hopefuls in the U.S. Fifth District House race.
Kern is a well-known multi-issue conservative, as well as for his inner-city ministry to the poor from his base at Olivet.
Rev. Kern says his top priorities begin with public education policy. He advocates more local control and parental control, including school choice. He affirms the latter as a matter of adhering to free market principles.
As his second priority, Kern wants “to continue to improve business conditions” in Oklahoma. He told The City Sentinel, “I am concerned about over-regulation of business. We must keep the economic environment healthy, fight back against the Environmental Protection Agency, and protect the oil and gas industries.”
Third, Kern is a determined critic of the Affordable Care Act, widely known as “ObamaCare.” Kern points to the high cost of health care as impacting many of his congregants, and all Oklahomans.
More broadly, he reflects, “I’m glad we’re trying to overcome the problems in ObamaCare. I advocate lower taxes, but the truth is you can’t achieve lower taxes until and unless we lower spending in some areas. As we reduce spending, we can reduce taxes – then, that will actually improve government revenue as the economy grows.”
Addressing his qualifications versus his primary opponents, Kern asserts, “A conservative should know what conservative principles are. I have a history that I will stick by those conservative values, as I always have. I will do what I said I would do.”
Deputy County Commissioner Michael Taylor, another candidate in the District 40 race, was previously featured in a news story for The City Sentinel.
A total of six candidates are vying for the Republican nomination in the June 24 primary. If no candidate garners a majority of votes cast, there will be a runoff in August. The GOP nominee will face John Handy Edwards, the Democratic nominee, in the November election.