Brand new candidates for Okla. House Dist. 52 - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Brand new candidates for Okla. House Dist. 52

Both candidates for Oklahoma's House District 52 say that their race is about the future of southwest Oklahoma.  On Tuesday, voters in Altus, Snyder, Granite, and many other communities in Jackson, Greer, and Kiowa counties will elect a new state representative.  David Braddock's seat is opening due to term limits, and Charles Ortega and Dan McMahan are vying for his seat.

The two men may not agree on everything, but both say that economic development is the key issue in their race.  McMahan, an attorney, says the population in their district is declining at an alarming rate - by double digit percentages in places such as Altus.  "That bodes ill for our ability to create and retain jobs in southwest Oklahoma, for our ability to keep Altus Air Force Base and our military personnel - that we have their and for our future," said McMahan.  "That's what the campaign is really about - our future."

Born and raised in Altus, Ortega says some kids who grew up in the area, simply may not return after going away college.  "The majority of kids don't have that job to come back to," he said.  "So, if they have to leave to go to school, then most likely they will leave even further to find a job, so the return to their home place, and their district, a lot of times is not an option for them."

Ortega, a business owner also says that southwest Oklahoma must increase its marketability to grow the economy, and must also search for new opportunities.  "What I would like to do is work on providing the necessary funding that we need to get our infrastructure where it should be so that we will have something to introduce to industries and companies that may be looking for a place to locate," he said.  "Right now, we are falling short of that mark."

McMahan, an Altus native, is looking toward the future of the workforce in the area.  "We've had several specific proposals about ways to work to create new jobs, ways that we can protect Altus Air Force Base if there's another round of BRAC or base closings," he said.  "We've had specific proposals that we've talked about - ideas to develop a workforce in southwest Oklahoma for the future."

To see the full profile interviews with McMahan and Ortega visit Meet the Candidates.

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