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Oklahoma schools Superintendent Barresi faces opposition from within own political party

Recently, 20 Republican lawmakers announced their endorsements of Joy Hofmeister, a Republican, over state schools Superintendent Barresi, who is also a Republican.
by Randy Ellis Published: January 11, 2014
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“She has consistently been unwilling to consider anything outside of absolutely what she wants,” Thomsen said. “I think that has created a negative environment, a lack of trust and I think that's reflected in the legislators who have stepped up and said, ‘We need a change. This isn't working.'”

“I think it's really a misunderstanding on the superintendent's part of her role,” Thomsen said. “She's not supposed to rule the legislators.”

State Rep. Gus Blackwell, R-Laverne, said he is looking for a candidate who will listen.

“I would say that probably the people that are on that list that support Joy have a variety of reasons, but I do think there is disappointment in both the direction the department is heading, the way it has handled issues and just the day-to-day functioning of the office of the agency itself,” Blackwell said.

State Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia, said he's not happy with the amount of progress that has been made by Barresi, but said he may be expecting too much.

“I'm not sure if anybody can fix this thing,” he said.

Other Republican lawmakers identified by Hofmeister's campaign as having endorsed her included Sen. Patrick Anderson, of Enid; Rep. Don Armes, of Faxon; Sen. Don Barrington, of Lawton; Rep. Dennis Casey, of Morrison; Rep. David Derby, of Owasso; Rep. Dale DeWitt, of Braman; Sen. Eddie Fields, of Wynona; Sen. A.J. Griffin, of Guthrie; Rep. Katie Henke, of Tulsa; Rep. Arthur Hulbert, of Fort Gibson; Rep. Skye McNiel of Bristow; Rep. Glen Mulready, of Tulsa; Rep. Jadine Nollan, of Sand Springs; Rep. Charles Ortega, of Altus; Rep. Dustin Roberts, of Durant; and Sen. Frank Simpson, of Ardmore.

Stone said Barresi has her share of supporters within the Legislature, but the campaign isn't ready to release the names of her endorsers.

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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