Some voters in House District 28 may see a familiar name on their ballot June 30, if they can remember Oklahoma politics in the 1990s.
Danny Williams, who represented the Seminole-area district for two terms before leaving to make an unsuccessful run for governor in 1994, is attempting to reclaim his former seat. Though he served HD 28 (and ran for governor) as a Democrat, he changed his party affiliation to Republican before running for Senate District 28 in 2014, when he lost in the primary.
This June, he will be competing in the Republican primary of HD 28 against Jerri Parker, a former educator. Both Parker and Williams seek to focus on community and capacity building for residents in rural areas of their district through local agriculture and internet access, respectively.
The following overview of the candidates for HD 28 was derived from publicly available information.
House District 28 at a glance
Outgoing officeholder: Rep. Zack Taylor
ZIP codes represented: 73045, 74801, 74804, 74830, 74837, 74840, 74848, 74849, 74851, 74854, 74855, 74859, 74864, 74867, 74868, 74884
Counties represented: Pottawatomie, Seminole
Jerri Parker (R)
Profession: Retired educator and agricultural business leader
Platform: Parker’s central campaign message is “freedom matters.” Her website expresses her support for traditional conservative values, including protecting the Constitution, the rights of gun owners and parental rights. She is against abortion, and her website says she “believes that each child deserves the opportunity to grow and develop.”
Drawing from her experience raising cattle and growing produce, Parker hopes to focus on local agriculture, supporting farm-to-school programs and community gardens, according to her website. Other listed priorities include addressing the mental health crisis and child homelessness in the state. On her Twitter, she has retweeted multiple tweets in support of President Donald Trump’s decision to halt United States funding to the World Health Organization.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Danny Williams (R)
Profession: Owner of a company his website says provides local high-speed internet; House District 28 representative from 1988-1994.
Platform: Williams’ website stresses that he is running to “stand up for rural Oklahoma,” including improving roads, infrastructure and schools for residents of HD 28. His website describes him as a “staunch defender of the Second Amendment, 100% pro-life and a strong supporter of President Trump.”
Citing his business experience, Williams’ website also emphasizes his belief that rural internet access is crucial for health care and education in Oklahoma. Though the website does not list specific addiction-related policies, it says Williams is “board chairman of Seminole County Hope House, a residential addiction treatment program that he helped start.” There does not appear to be any information online about the treatment center. Williams also teaches a Sunday School class for individuals recovering from addiction, according to the site.
Yasminda Choate (D)
Profession: Professor of English at Seminole State College and small poultry farmer, also serves as the chairperson for the Seminole County Democratic Party
Platform: Choate, whose slogan is “Vote Choate” is “committed to improving life for the rural citizens of HD 28,” according to her website. Her top priorities are health care, education and economic development.
Choate hopes to diversify Oklahoma’s economy by supporting jobs in manufacturing, alternate energy and professional industries, according to her platform. She also believes public dollars should be used to improve education and that educators should be paid salaries comparable to their experience. According to her website, “students at all levels should have access to high-quality teaching methods and the necessary educational materials, including technology, to ensure learning.” Choate supports expanding Medicaid, and her website encourages Oklahomans to vote yes on State Question 802.
The Republican primary between Parker and Williams will be held on Tuesday, June 30. The winner will face off against Choate in the general election for the seat on Nov. 3.