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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 Published: October 28, 2012

He said lawmakers are looking at workers' compensation and health care issues to help Oklahoma attract more businesses.

Barrington also said he will focus on public safety issues as a chair of the public safety committee.

He said Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers are retiring faster than they can be replaced.

“It's a matter of having more trooper academies and getting these slots filled so we can have our law enforcement out on the highway,” he said.

Terrill, whose father served as a senator from Lawton for 22 years, said he has been accused of being a single-issue candidate.

“I don't really fall anywhere on the political spectrum,” Terrill said. “I fall on the side of education. … My whole philosophy has been this: it starts with education. Once you have a well-educated workforce, everything else follows.”

He said the number one recommendation of businesses is improvements to the education system.

Terrill said he would donate a portion of his salary as a senator — the difference between his teaching salary and what he'd make as a senator — to the schools in his district, dividing the money equally.

He said he'd fight for deregulation of the education system, putting more power in the hands of local school districts and less power at the state Education Department.