Chris Sneed courtesy

Sneed

A conservative, pro-education candidate has emerged as a strong contender to knock out an incumbent unfriendly to public schools.

Republican voters in House District 14, which extends from east Muskogee to Fort Gibson, should take the opportunity to usher in a new voice for the party.

Chris Sneed, 40, of Fort Gibson is a novice to politics but is running in solidarity with teachers. His wife, Joie, is an educator who took part in the spring teacher walkout.

Sneed is challenging George Faught, who has used the seat to be a largely unsuccessful and ignored social crusader. He voted against critical public education funding measures — House Bill 1010xx and its predecessor Step Up Oklahoma.

Faught came to the public’s attention for all the wrong reasons last year during a House debate on a bill that would have banned abortions if sought due to fetal genetic disorders. The bill included no exceptions for rape or incest.

When asked if “rape was the will of God,” he responded: “If you read the Bible, there were a couple of circumstances where that happened. God uses all circumstances. … If it happens in someone’s life, it might not be the best thing that ever happens. But if you’re saying God is not sovereign, that he is unable to use everything in someone’s life, I can’t agree.”

The real problem here isn’t Faught’s faith. It’s his effectiveness. His zealotry has pushed him to the fringe of the Legislature, making him ineffective at improving conditions in his district or the state. His constituents deserve better.

Education is central to Sneed’s platform, saying he would have voted for the funding measures to increase teacher pay and is against private-school vouchers.

He is also concerned with crumbling infrastructure in his district and shoring up the state’s health care system.

District 14 Republican voters have a chance for better representation focused on improving basic functions of government. It’s time to make that change.

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