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John Handy Edwards – Candidate for Oklahoma Senate District 40

Former Gov. Brad Henry, with Oklahoma Senate District 40 candidate John Handy Edwards and his wife Sarah. Photo provided.
Former Gov. Brad Henry, with Oklahoma Senate District 40 candidate John Handy Edwards and his wife Sarah. Photo provided.


By Darla Shelden

City Sentinel Reporter

Born and raised in Oklahoma City, attorney John Handy Edwards is running for Oklahoma Senate District 40. Edwards will face off against the Republican nominee (Ervin Yen or Steve Kern) in November.

“I decided to run to provide an alternative to the standard political gamesmanship and partisanship that is so commonplace now,”Edwards stated. “We need a reasonable and responsible voice speaking up for Oklahomans now more than ever.”

After graduating from Bishop McGuinness High School, John attended Southern Methodist University and earned degrees in business and political science.

Later, while working and earning scholarships at the University of Oklahoma, Edwards graduated with both a law degree and an M.B.A. focused on entrepreneurship.

Edwards says that he is ready to meet District 40’s most pressing issues head on and feels a change of tone is needed at the Capitol.

“Today, there are so many extreme ideas being pushed that don’t focus on the core issues we face in Oklahoma. I would like to refocus on taking care of Oklahoma’s real issues –such as education, equality and the economy.

“It is time to take back the reins of the legislature from those who would rather go down the dead ends of extremism instead of reaching common sense consensus.”

Edwards continued, “Oklahoma consistently ranks near the bottom in educational performance in comparison with other states. Yet there are areas, like early education, where people put aside their differences and have worked towards a common goal.

“I’ll work with anyone who is willing to replicate this success. It is time to stop treating education as a political football and do what will give our children the best shot at a successful future.”

Edwards feels that the true source of progress in Oklahoma City has been the people, the businesses and the community as a whole.

“We need to focus on true priorities, like making sure hard-working families don’t fall into dire situations and face financial ruin through no fault of their own.

“Oklahoma relies on a few big ticket industries and we’ve had a certain measure of success. We need to build on that and diversify our industries to compete over the long term.”

Having spoken with over 6,000 voters, Edwards feels he is well positioned in the race, to fill the vacancy left by Republican Cliff Branan’s departure, due to term limits.

“We are where we want to be in terms of voter contact and fundraising goals. Going into the final phase, we have the momentum and look forward to a vigorous race,”said Edwards.

Edwards father, Ellis (a former Oklahoma State Treasurer), helped hundreds of South Vietnamese to escape from their country in 1975. Edwards mother Thao is Vietnamese.

Edwards continued, “I am so proud of my Vietnamese heritage and of my mother whose compelling story has always been an inspiration.

“The true lesson of the Vietnamese experience in Oklahoma is one shared by so many in America. The opportunity to thrive exists for those willing to work for it and we all bring our special contributions that make America the great nation it is today.

“We must continue those honorable traditions promoting inclusion and diversity,”he said. “I am not controlled by special interests and I know my bosses will be the people of District 40.”

Handy is a family name that goes way back says Edwards. “The first John Handy in our line was born on January 9, 1695 in Somerset County, Coventry Parish, Maryland.

“My grandfather was John Handy Edwards (1907-1993) who was born in Oklahoma before statehood,”he added “A little bit against convention, my dad Ellis Duncan Edwards named me John Handy Edwards III.”

John and his wife Sarah, also an attorney, have two daughters. For more information, visit

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