For Tuesday’s midterm elections, the Norman Transcript Editorial Board is endorsing Todd Gibson for Cleveland County Sheriff, Merleyn Bell for House District 45, Jacob Rosecrants for House District 46 and Mary Brown Boren for State Senate District 16.
The Transcript Editorial Board (which is made up of Transcript publisher Mark Millsap, editor Caleb Slinkard, director of audience engagement Vonnie Clark and community members Shavonne Evans and Regina Stewart) interviewed the candidates for these four races as part of the board’s endorsement process. Members of the board also attended candidate forums and utilized Transcript election reporting as part of the vetting process.
Our goal in endorsing candidates is to provide our informed opinion on who we believe would best represent the various constituencies in Norman and Cleveland County. Due to the large number of statewide races, the board chose to limit its endorsements to these four key local races.
CLEVELAND COUNTY SHERIFF
Current Cleveland County Sheriff Todd Gibson is the editorial board’s choice for sheriff. Gibson entered the CCSO during a turbulent time: the former sheriff, Joe Lester, had been battling with the county budget board for months about jail funding, and ultimately resigned in the face of an audit of his office. Gibson, a former member of the Norman Police Department, stepped in and quickly began running the sheriff in an efficient and effective manner. Gibson not only has the experience needed to run the sheriff’s office, over the past year, he’s made it clear he’s the best person for the job.
HOUSE DISTRICT 45
The editorial board is endorsing Merleyn Bell for House District 45. Former Rep. Claudia Griffith most recently represented Normanites in HD 45, and the board believes Bell is most equipped to continue Griffith’s legacy of compassionate public service. Bell announced she was running for the seat early, and has spent months getting to know the people in HD 45 and listening to their wants and needs. An advocate for equitable and sufficient education funding and for improved health care funding and access, Bell’s priorities line up with the direction in which Oklahoma needs to be moving.
HOUSE DISTRICT 46
Norman is lucky to have two individuals like Jacob Rosecrants and Bryan Vinyard running for this seat. Both are extremely capable individuals with dynamic ideas about how to move our state forward. Rosecrants gets the nod because he’s proved he can serve as a strong voice for HD 46 at the Capitol. A former teacher with a year as a member of the legislature under his belt, Rosecrants is genuine, earnest and unafraid to reach across the aisle to find consensus on thorny political issues.
SENATE DISTRICT 16
With Senate minority leader John Sparks terming out, SD 16 residents are losing a powerful and committed voice in the Capitol. It will take a while for whomever replaces Sparks to build up that kind of momentum, but we believe Mary Brown Boren is best suited to hit the ground running. An attorney and school counselor, Boren has experience in the classroom and at the Capitol that will serve her constituents well, having reviewed legislation for former governors Brad Henry and David Walters.