Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rallying the faithful: Lankford speaks at annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) talks with Nick Williams, Pryor,
after the 2015 Lincoln/Reagan Dinner in Grove.
- Kaylea M.Hutson-Miller / Grove Sun
Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller • khutson@grovesun.com

The rally cry was loud and clear on Saturday as members of the Northeast Oklahoma Republicans gathered in Grove to hear from Oklahoma's newest senator.

Throughout the evening, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), OKGOP Interim Chairman Estela Hernandez and Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Pastor Robert Carter used the event promote the same basic message - Republicans need to work together to promote party unity for the upcoming election cycles.

Lankford, visiting northeast Oklahoma for the first time since his election to fill the remaining two years of retiring Sen. Tom Coburn's seat, used his time before the group to discuss issues before the senate, as well as answer questions from the audience on issues ranging from immigration, veterans affairs and more.

Lankford, who served as the director of Falls Creek Camp, a Baptist youth camp in Oklahoma, used his time to also encourage people of faith to live out their faith within their daily lives - and not just on Sunday morning.

Lankford told the party faithful that he continues to be passionate about issues surrounding family and faith, as well as encouraging people to do things the right way, because it's the right thing to do.

Hernandez used her time to encourage the party faithful to focus on the issues, rather than personal attacks during the upcoming elections.

She said officials with the Oklahoma Republican Party are encouraging candidates to not only agree to refrain from character attacks, but also asking them to agree to support the winner when the race moves from the primary to the general election.

"We need to run clean, productive campaigns that speak about the issues," Hernandez said. "We need to make a difference by what we do, not what we say.

"I tell people they will know them by their fruits."

Hernandez also updated the crowd on the OKGOP's efforts to secure the Oklahoma 10 Commandment monument, to display it on the grounds of the OKGOP in Oklahoma City, if it is removed from the state capital grounds.

Introducing candidates

During the evening, Carter gave three candidates seeking office in 2016 the platform to introduce themselves to those in attendance. Two, Josh Russell and Josh West, plan to run for the seat being vacated by Rep. Doug Cox (R-Grove) due to term limits, and the other, Joni Charette, plans to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Charles Wyrick (D-Fairland).

Carter also announced the the crowd that Delaware County Sheriff Harlan Moore has switched party affiliations.

Carter said Moore, who ran in 2012 as a Democrat, plans to run for re-election next year as a Republican.

Carter stated from the podium that the county Republicans planned to support Moore's efforts to be re-elected.

Editor's Note: This story first appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 6 issue of The Grove Sun.

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