House District 94 in the southeast metro was represented by Republican firebrand Kevin Calvey for eight years. Then, Democrat Scott Inman succeeded Calvey with a 12-year career in the district.
HD-94 includes Del City near Tinker Air Force Base, Smith Village, consisting of about five square blocks, and parts of southeast Oklahoma City.
Inman reached his term limit in 2018 and Andy Fugate, who is also a Democrat, won the seat next.
Fuguate is now seeking re-election and is defending his seat against Republican challenger Lauren Rodebush.
Each candidate filled out a detailed questionnaire for Free Press. The following is a rundown of each candidate and their policies based on their responses to our questionnaire and research.
With less than a month left until the November elections, Free Press will be providing coverage of races in the Oklahoma City metro area in depth. By doing so, we hope that you, the reader, gain a better understanding of the choices you will have on November 3.
Fugate’s main issues are public education, mental health, and good government.
“I do not have specific legislation but will support additional transparency for all dollars spent to educate our state’s children,” the representative wrote.
Fugate publicized his disapproval of Governor Kevin Stitt allotting $10 million of CARES act funds to private schools. He explained that the amount given to private school students in need was disproportionate compared to the number of struggling public school students.
Mental health, drug rehabilitation
In a press release, Fugate asked that $24 million in saved expenses from a prison closing be directed by the state to mental health and drug rehabilitation services.
He explained that when State Question 780 passed, which re-classified simple drug possession and minor property crimes as misdemeanors, it saved millions of taxpayer dollars with fewer people imprisoned.
State Question 781 also passed the same year as SQ780, and it required that the state use the money saved from SQ780 to be used for mental health and substance abuse services.
This is why Fugate asked for $24 million to be used for mental health services.
Fugate wrote that good government is also a key part of his campaign. One example he cited in our questionnaire was changing how Oklahoma elections work.
During the recent primaries, there were many elections with only candidates from a single party running, which meant the many local primary candidates won their general election by default.
Fugate wants to change that by making these types of one-party races extend to the general election, which would allow more people to have a say in who represents them.
A jack of all trades
Fugate grew up in Del City and worked at The Oklahoman as the director of new media technology. He also spent many years being a volunteer teaching high school kids about elections and advocacy.
He is also a professional trombone player. “My lifelong involvement as a practicing musician has taught me several lessons: Check your ego. Bring your best. Listen to others. Work together,” he wrote.
First-time Republican candidate Lauren Rodebush is running on issues such as healthcare, abolishing abortion, and education.
Rodebush put her hat in the race during the pandemic when she experienced the negative impacts of being a healthcare worker—more specifically, she is a physical therapist that helps with elderly people.
Her husband explained in a video posted on Facebook that Rodebush had been overworked at her job and was never given any proper PPE. He mentioned that Rodebush’s face eventually broke out because she was asked to reuse her mask and eventually had to buy some for herself.
“Despite the worsened conditions, increased workload, and being without proper and sufficient PPE[,] therapy companies within nursing homes have taken advantage of the pandemic and are using it as an opportunity to downsize staff,” Rodebush wrote Free Press.
She is also pro-life and wants to make abortion illegal except in circumstances in which a mother’s life is in danger.
“[C]urrent laws seek to regulate the continued practice of abortion[,] which is appalling that our current legislation does not protect our most innocent and vulnerable of life. We must advocate for equality and life for [all],” she wrote.
The physical therapist believes that public schools should be funded based on merit because, in her view, it would encourage schools to perform better due to competition.
“Instead, schools should be more competitive and receive funding based on merit, attendance[,] and performance; then, all of the sudden the [‘]not so good[’] schools will improve performance and more tax dollars wi[ll] be rerouted back to them,” she wrote.
Healthcare worker and mother
Rodebush has two children, works as a physical therapist, and is a worship leader at New Life Church of the Nazarene. She is most active on her campaign Facebook page where she shares her thoughts on current issues. She also owns a car repair shop, Rodey’s Auto Repair, with her husband.