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Tulsa World editorial: For Jo Anna Dossett

Tulsa World editorial: For Jo Anna Dossett


Political newcomer Jo Anna Dossett has an optimistic view and focused plan for Senate District 35 that we believe suits the constituents well.

Dossett is a 16-year public school teacher motivated to run for office after seeing repeated state revenue failures and the Legislature’s continued struggle to prioritize education.

Her experience touches on how the state’s top incarceration rates, lack of health care and underfunded schools affect families and children. She wants to be part of turning around the state’s priorities.

Dossett supported Medicaid expansion with plans to continue smart-on-crime reforms and expanding mental and physical health options. She stands against regressive taxation and for education funding transparency.

Her opponent, longtime Republican activist and attorney Cheryl Baber, is an intelligent and capable candidate. But we disagree with some of her positions, such as support for private school tuition tax credits.

During a recent meeting with our editorial board, Baber made an interesting argument: The Legislature has a lot of educators and former educators, but relatively few attorneys, and it could use some legal scholarship. There’s some truth there, but historically, lawyers have had their day in the Capitol, and maybe it’s time for a little schoolhouse knowledge to prevail.

The district runs from about Southwest Boulevard south to 121st Street, and from the Arkansas River to Harvard and Yale avenues with a gerrymandered extension to rope in the University of Tulsa and Utica Square neighborhoods.

The seat is open because of term limits. Outgoing Sen. Gary Stanislawski was a champion for public education funding and reforms, particularly concerning the state aid formula and virtual charter schools.

The race has attracted dark-money groups, bringing out the worst in political chicanery. Dossett has been falsely linked to rioters, looters and antifa while Baber was victim to a spray-painted swastika in her driveway.

Both are appalling and serve no purpose for voters.

This is a shame because both candidates are smart, reasonable and logical thinkers who have approached their campaigns respectfully. They do not deserve such treatment.

Voters need to ignore the fringe and focus on the messages.

We give our endorsement to Dossett because her positions are better aligned with what we think Oklahomans and her constituents want.

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We don't oppose charter schools or virtual charter schools. For some children, they are the best opportunity for a good public education, the editorial says. We do, however, want to feel certain that the state's insufficient education funding is being used appropriately and that Epic is being held to the same standards as any other public school. 

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