LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – A candidate to be Oklahoma's next governor campaigned in Lawton this week.
Gary Richardson is a Tulsa resident who ran for governor back in 2002 but lost. He's also a lawyer who currently works in private practice, but in the 1980s he served as the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. He was one of the 3 U.S. Attorneys responsible for putting an end to a scandal that found 230 county commissioners guilty of accepting kickbacks.
While in town this week, Richardson met with several groups in Lawton and Altus, including leaders with the Comanche Nation and a Women's Republican group. He said all of those meetings were about sharing ideas with the people he would represent if elected and finding out what things they think needs to be done to help our state.
Richardson said changes are needed in Oklahoma and, if elected, those changes will begin with the state's turnpikes.
"Take the toll gates down. Make them free roads again. Save our state millions of dollars. Open up economic development. We're talking about making our state healthy," Richardson said.
Richardson said taking down the toll gates would go a long way in solving a huge problem our state is currently dealing with.
"We don't make a penny off the turnpike for our state. As a matter of fact, we give the turnpike $47 million each year from our taxpayers. That's the equivalent of $1,100 a year raise for every school teacher in this state. $47 million," Richardson said.
Richardson said if elected, he would also audit every agency and authority in the state of Oklahoma to make sure they use the money they're given by the state the way it's intended.
"It's like going to the doctor when your body isn't operating and it isn't healthy," Richardson said. "The first thing the doctor will do is examine your body with x-rays and other types of tests to find the problem. As I see it, today we're putting bandages on sores. We're not going to the problem and dealing with the problem."
Richardson said he is firmly against tax increases because he believes that is simply finding a short-term solution rather than actually solving the deeper problem. He said at the end of the day, he feels he is the person who can help our state find those solutions.
"People are sick and tired of what's going on in our state. What is it they say? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. They're tired. People are tired. They want to see something different. They want change and no doubt in my mind I have the background and the ability and talent to do that," Richardson said.
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