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GOP Senate hopefuls debate issues at CU

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LAWTON, Okla._ Republican candidates hoping to fill a soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat debated issues in front of a large crowd at Cameron University Friday night.

The race has become highly contested and has drawn 11 candidates, including seven Republicans, five of which brought their campaigns to Lawton.

One of the forum’s big talkers was the recent decision to allow at least 600 unaccompanied illegal immigrants to live on post at Fort Sill.

“No, Fort Sill should not take on unaccompanied minors,” says Rep. James Lankford, current U.S. congressman.

“They don't need to be housed here, they need to go back,” says Kevin Crow, professor.

“This idea that we would actually reward people for breaking our law is unconscionable,” says T.W. Shannon, former Oklahoma House speaker.

Conversation ranged from foreign policy to energy resources, including natural gas in Oklahoma, as well as balancing a budget and reducing the nation's nearly $18 trillion federal deficit.

“I have a pretty simple philosophy,” says Randy Brogdon, former senator. “Number one, we have to stop the debt. No more increasing the debt. It is literally bankrupting our kids’ future.”

“The budget that we are dealing with is a bigger mess than you could possibly imagine,” says Lankford.

“We need to balance the budget now ... I would privatize social security, I would privatize the post office,” says businessman Eric McCray.

From politicians and former politicians, to businessmen and one candidate from academia, those seeking the open seat come from various backgrounds, including Lawton's own Shannon who was on his home turf at Cameron. He cited his pride in this week’s decision to repeal of the Common Core education standards, a bill he co-authored.

“Not the state (and) not the federal government, parents should be in control of their child's education ... look at what they've done with our healthcare system,” says Shannon. “Could you imagine what an education system that is federalized would look like?

There are two Republicans who were not in attendance. There are also three democrats and one independent candidate running for the Senate seat. The primary is set for June 24. The general election will take place November 4.

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