Residents of House District 89 have been without a legislator in the Oklahoma House of Representatives since the resignation of former Rep. Shane Stone (D-OKC) became official Jan. 1. On June 30, voters in the southwest Oklahoma City district will choose between three men seeking the Democratic nomination, with the winner facing the sole Republican candidate Nov. 3.
The most notable votes of Stone’s five-year tenure came in the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions, during state budget debates on education funding. Stone said his resignation came to allow him “a different opportunity to continue public service.” Stone now serves as assistant city manager in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Following Stone’s resignation, no special election was called to fill the vacancy due to the resignation taking effect in an even-numbered year, leaving the seat empty until November 2020. The resignation was originally intended to take effect on Dec. 31, but was later pushed to New Year’s Day.
HD 89 comprises much of south and southwest Oklahoma City and has been represented by a Democrat dating back to at least 1965.
The following overview of candidates is derived from publicly available information.
HD 89 at a glance
Outgoing office holder: Rep. Shane Stone (resigned Jan. 1)
Zip codes represented: 73108, 73109, 73119
Counties represented: Oklahoma
Cities/Townships represented: Oklahoma City
Jose Cruz (D)
Profession: Attorney, former community outreach specialist for Congresswoman Kendra Horn
Platform: Cruz supports statewide expansion of “accessible and affordable” health services similar to Oklahoma City’s community health centers, according to his campaign website. Cruz is also a proponent of expanding state funding for child welfare services to provide “the support and training necessary to spot and end abuse.” On his campaign website, Cruz says he would expand state funding of public schools, and work to provide higher-paying jobs to Oklahoma City residents while making it “easier for people to start and stay in business” through adult education and business incentive programs.
A first-generation college graduate with a communication degree from Oklahoma Christian University, Cruz also earned a law degree from Oklahoma City University before becoming an attorney at OKC’s Foshee & Yaffe law firm in December 2019. If Cruz is elected, he would become the second attorney from the firm in the Legislature alongside Rep. Chris Kannady (R-OKC).
Cruz has received various civic leadership accolades, including designation as one of Oklahoma’s 30 under 30 award winners in 2016 and being named to Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class X. Cruz also served as the campaign manager for Sen. Michael Brooks (D-OKC) during his original run in 2014, when he was defeated by Republican Ralph Shortey. Cruz reprised the role in the 2017 special election following Shortey’s resignation amid the scandal which led to his conviction on three prostitution-related charges.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Cristian Zapata (D)
Profession: Information Technology help desk employee, computer science student at University of Central Oklahoma
Platform: On his campaign website, Zapata describes himself as a progressive candidate who aims to represent marginalized populations, including Oklahoma’s immigrant and native Latino communities. In a video interview, Zapata said one reason he decided to run was the effect he believes Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has had in mobilizing the progressive Latino voter base. Zapata supports changes to immigration law including allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally and ending local and state-level cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Zapata states he would oppose “all attempts to privatize education” in Oklahoma while pushing for an increase to the state’s overall education budget and teacher salaries.
Zapata favors abolition of private prisons, allowing prisoners to vote, legalization of marijuana and ending the death penalty, according to his campaign website. Other priorities Zapata lists include promoting “a living wage” for Oklahoma workers, pro-choice abortion policy, banning conversion therapies and providing universal health care.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Chris Bryant (D)
While there appears to be no posted campaign website or social media page for Bryant, the Democrat did appear on the ballot for House District 89 in 2014, garnering only 16.1 percent of the vote.
John Hutton (R)
The lone Republican on the ballot, Hutton will face the winner of the Democratic primary on Nov. 3. There is no posted website or social media page for Hutton’s campaign.