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Candidates face off for Lawton-based seat in Oklahoma Senate

Sen. Don Barrington, a two-term incumbent who chairs important Senate committees like public safety, is being challenged by Tony Terrill, who is focused on education and pledges to give a portion of his salary as a lawmaker to schools.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: October 28, 2012

In Lawton, two-term incumbent Sen. Don Barrington is facing political newcomer Tony Terrill, a Democrat and middle-school teacher who said he will fight for education.

Senate District 31 has been redrawn to include voters in Cotton, Jefferson and Tillman counties, as well as parts of Stephens and Comanche counties.

Barrington, 65, was first elected to the seat in 2004.

“I've enjoyed serving. I'm a service-oriented person,” said Barrington, R-Lawton. “There's a myriad of issues that voters are concerned with that we try to address.”

Terrill, 40, also of Lawton, said that every day at Eisenhower Middle School, he finds himself in the middle of a fight for adequate funding.

“The Legislature has allowed education to be cut by $322 million in the last four years,” he said. “I'm just a firm believer that public education is the great equalizer. There's really no other institution that levels the playing field. It's not a matter of money it's a matter of priority.”

Terrill said he has 147 students and 32 textbooks.

“We have to be very creative,” he said. “It is a huge stretch of resources.”

Barrington said education has been the least cut of any state agency during the recession.

“We actually went back and gave them a supplemental of $34 million,” Barrington said. “I think you'll see some of those needs addressed, but you have to take things into consideration as a whole in order to move the state forward.”

Barrington said he has a record as being pro-business, particularly focusing on promoting the growth of small businesses.

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