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Senate District 22 candidates respond to questions

The Piedmont-Surrey Gazette recently asked Senate District 22 candidates Mark Thomas and Stephanie Bice two questions:

1) Both of you have been outspoken about Obamacare throughout this campaign. If elected, what will be your efforts, on the state level, to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Please describe the steps you would take.
2) What separates you from your opponent? Name a quality or qualities that make you a more viable candidate for Johnson’s seat, than your opponent.

Stephanie Bice

Stephanie Bice:

1) I’ve been in the process of gathering as much information on the ACA as possible, so I’m prepared to help repeal Obamacare on the state level.

We need to repeal this law and replace it with a plan that provides quality care at a low cost while preserving Medicaid, instead of abusing it.

I support Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s lawsuit that has exposed the plain language of the rule of the law. The Internal Revenue Service has illegally implemented the law’s insurance subsidies by making them available in all 50 states.
If the Attorney General’s lawsuit is unsuccessful, then the state legislature must work together to protect Oklahomans.

In order to repeal Obamacare, we need to reject the expansion of Medicaid through legislation. The ACA relies on states to implement health insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion. Oklahoma is under no obligation to implement either. Between the two, the Medicaid expansion would cost the state far more.

The moment Oklahoma implements a Medicaid expansion, its relinquishes control over its health care sector to the federal government.

Passage of legislation to ban Oklahoma from enforcing, assisting, participating or providing material support to the Affordable Care Act could also be part of the solution. The federal government relies on state assistance to carry out its healthcare mandates.

The Supreme Court has always held that states cannot be forced to implement or spend money to carry out federal acts or regulatory programs.

We can also pass laws that protect residents and businesses from these federal insurance mandates. By creating state laws that minimize the impact of these federal healthcare mandates, we can protect our citizens.

Our nation’s healthcare system was unsustainable prior to the passage of Obamacare, but the President’s health care plan has only made things worse. States must protect themselves from the federal government’s overreaching arm and pass laws that protect its citizens.

2) When people consider a candidate for office, the question most often asked is “Is he/she a leader?” My opponent and I are both leaders and have the desire to lead. But it’s the qualities of that leader that separates them from the rest.

The qualities I have that make me the best choice for Senator of District 22 include initiative, management skills, temperament and problem solving.

Initiative: As a business owner, I’ve had to be proactive in order accomplish the company’s goals. Owning a business has trained me to think on my feet and take action without waiting for someone to tell me what to do.

If there’s information I need to help me make a decision, I find it. Owning a business also has taught me to be flexible and given me the courage to take advantage of opportunities that others might pass on. There will be difficult choices to make as a state Senator, but by taking a proactive approach and being persistent in overcoming any obstacles, I can help our state prosper.

Management: As the Director of Business Development for Smirk New Media, I’ve learned so much about how to run a business – managing time, internal issues and money. I’ve seen the benefit to my team when I admit my mistakes and we all learn from them, rather than trying to blame others. I’ve also honed my people skills, learning to work with people from all walks of life. When it comes to company initiatives, I have a sharp focus on the interests of the business, but can be flexible when external factors impact our decisions and we must change course to accomplish our goals. Like every business, our state has an over-arching vision and it will be my job to help that vision come to life through better public policy.
Temperament: As a business owner and a mom, I’ve learned to handle whatever life throws at me. The Senate is much a like a business, with unpredictable pressures and crises that can affect the state.

I’m adaptable, with a positive outlook that helps me overcome the stresses and unpredictability life may bring.

Problem solving: One of the most important qualities of a leader is the ability to solve problems.

In order to do that, one must be creative and go beyond a fixed mind set, exploring all options. Instead of wanting to be right, I’ll focus on finding a solution with reasonable expectations.

In my business, I’ve learned to see problems as challenges and opportunities to learn life lessons. By using a combination of intuition and logic, I’ll gather as much information as I can about each issue to come up with the best possible solution.

These qualities are what has made me a better leader and a stronger person in business and in life and will serve me well as a state Senator.

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas:

1) REPEAL of the ACA at the State level is not possible. However, we have and must continue to RESIST Obamacare at the state level.

This is accomplished by continuing to refuse the implementation of State Health Exchanges and opposed any expansion of Medicaid. I worked hand-in-hand with the statewide grassroots movement which lobbied the State Legislature to prevent these measures from passing. In fact, I am the only candidate that has put words into action by actively engaging our legislative leaders on this and many other conservative issues.

2) The question has been asked about the differences between Mrs. Bice and I as candidates. The short answer is I don’t know her positions on issues since she has refused to participate in any public forum despite being invited to multiple candidate events, including those being held by the Canadian County GOP and the GOP Women’s Club.

So all I can tell you is what I stand for. I am a strong Constitutional Conservative who will fight to lower our taxes, reduce government waste, and work to bring local control to our public schools. I am strongly opposed to Obamacare and the federal government’s attempt for back door amnesty of illegal immigrants. I am pro-life, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Obama care and strongly support traditional marriage.

I am the only candidate who actively lobbied our State Legislature to oppose Obamacare and end Common Core. I am also the only candidate who is willing to engage the voters in public forums, something that should be expected of all of our public leaders.

I have been serving the people of Oklahoma within the party and I am ready to continue that service as your next State Senator in District 22. I would be honored with your vote on Aug. 26.

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