Red Corn: Good schools improve economy

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com
Louise Redcorn is running for state representative in District 36 as a Republican. She talked to the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

BARNSDALL — Louise Red Corn has watched the show in Oklahoma City long enough. Now she’s out to change it.

“I’m running for state representative because, after 12 years of watching the Oklahoma Legislature, I’m just really frustrated with them,” Red Corn, 59, told the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce during a candidate appearance Tuesday. She is one of five candidates who filed to run in the June 26 Republican primary for state representative for District 36.

Red Corn was on friendly turf Tuesday, having published the Bigheart Times — a Barnsdall newspaper — for a dozen years before selling it and declaring her intent to seek public office. She said that she had wanted to run previously, but was still involved in her newspaper duties.

Red Corn commented on a desire to see the legislature work on important issues, rather than spending valuable time passing laws of dubious constitutionality that end up costing the taxpayers millions in legal fees.

She focused on the likely economic boost to be derived from improving the state’s public schools, in considerable part by financing them sufficiently.

“Education is going to turn a lot of Oklahomans from tax consumers into taxpayers,” she said. There appears to be an inverse correlation between how much a state spends on education and how much it ends up spending on incarceration, she explained, estimating that Oklahoma is about 49th in the nation in education spending (nearly last) and about second (near the top) in spending on imprisonment.

Red Corn said she anticipates that the House District 36 race will be marked by attempts to classify one candidate or another as something less than a “real” Republican.

“I’m not an ideologue,” she said. “I know I’m going to be attacked as a RINO (Republican In Name Only).”

Red Corn said she has been registered to vote as a Democrat in the past, but changed her registration some three years ago. She argued that she has been a Republican longer prior to seeking public office than some other people who are elected officials from the Osage County area.

“I’m tired of social issues being used to divide the community,” she said. “I just don’t like the divisiveness.”

Red Corn said she has some fiscal views that are conservative and some social views that are conservative, but her reason for running is to provide voters with a hardworking and “utterly accessible” representative.

Red Corn acknowledged her close tie to the Osage Nation — she is married to Raymond Red Corn, the assistant principal chief of the Nation. She argued that the Osage government is trying to take steps to create high-tech jobs, and deserves to be treated with respect.

“The Osage Nation deserves to be worked with,” she said.