BARNSDALL — Teacher and coach J. Paul Ganzel, who has worked in the Tulsa and Barnsdall public schools, told the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce in a luncheon meeting Tuesday that he thinks the state needs better legislative leadership.
“We don’t need more money, we need new leadership,” Ganzel said, characterizing his reaction to the public school teacher walkout that took place during the 2018 regular session of the Oklahoma Legislature.
Ganzel is a candidate for the House District 36 seat in the legislature. He is one of five Republican contenders who will be on the ballot June 26. There are no Democratic or independent candidates for the seat, so the GOP primary will decide who will serve the next four years in the state House of Representatives.
Ganzel gave examples of ways in which he believes the activities of state legislators undercut the will of the voters.
“They have to do things different down there (in Oklahoma City),” he said. Ganzel said he would be willing to join the legislature to “build a new power to overtake the power that’s there.”
“They will not tuck me under the carpet,” he said. Ganzel told the Chamber luncheon group he has a website, at www.jpaulganzelforhouse.com, where he gives direct answers to questions he has been asked.
The questions on the website range in subject matter from core values to public school financing to medical marijuana to cockfighting. He’s for Christian values, for public schools, prepared to vote against Question 788, and would not introduce a bill in favor of cockfighting. There is more to Ganzel’s answers than simple “yes” and “no” responses.
The Barnsdall Chamber also heard Tuesday from Rex Duncan, the incumbent district attorney for District 10. Duncan is seeking a third four-year term. He is opposed in the June 26 GOP primary by Mike Fisher.
Duncan said his office took 29 cases to jury trials his first three years in office, and bankrupted the jury fund those three years. He argued that he had kept a promise to be willing to try cases.
In the past couple of years, there have been significantly fewer trials, he said.
“That’s the result we were trying to achieve,” Duncan said, indicating his office proved its willingness to battle things out in court, if necessary.
Duncan characterized himself as someone who wants to keep Oklahoma safe, in significant part so his four daughters will want to live here. He also cast himself as a staunch defender of Second Amendment firearms rights, who is a lifetime National Rifle Association member and has been endorsed previously by the NRA.
“District attorney is not a popularity contest,” Duncan said, explaining he has made enemies during his attempts to uphold the law. “Over the last seven years, I have accumulated some enemies.”