(Update: On Tuesday, June 28, Cody Maynard and Dustin Reid advanced to the GOP primary runoff, which will occur on Aug. 23.)
After 12 years in the Oklahoma Legislature, House District 21 Rep. Dustin Roberts (R-Durant) has reached his term limit. Roberts is now one of many running for Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. Meanwhile, four Republican candidates are running to replace him in the Oklahoma House.
No other candidates filed to run, so the winner of the GOP primary will become House District 21’s next representative. If no single candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote on June 28, the top two finishers will go head to head in a runoff on Aug. 23.
On June 10, the candidates debated at Calera Middle School. The discussion can be viewed here.
District 21 covers the western half of Bryan County, including Durant, and the easternmost quarter of Marshall County, including about half of Lake Texoma.
The following overview of the candidates is derived from publicly available information, and candidates are presented in alphabetical order. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, and early voting runs June 23-25.
Background: James, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, has lived her entire life in southeast Oklahoma. She spent 30 years as a teacher and a counselor in public schools throughout the region. James is currently the director of career development for the Choctaw Nation, where she has said she oversees a budget of $11 million annually. She also owned a cattle ranch with her late husband and continued to operate it for six years after his death, in 2014. If elected, she would be the first woman to represent House District 21.
Platform: On her website, James lists ensuring police departments get full funding, protecting the right to bear arms, and education reform as her highest priorities. James believes that Oklahoma’s curriculum should not have to follow federal guidelines or “liberal media” and that teachers are leaving the state because they lack desired control over their teaching materials. She also says state education policy should focus more on career tech to “bridge the gap in the skills shortage” in trade industries. James suggests that farmers and ranchers are undervalued by state government officials and says that “she will not sit on the sidelines any longer and watch them suffer.”
James is endorsed by the assistant chief of the Choctaw Nation, Jack Austin.
Background: Maynard is originally from Gatesville, Texas. He moved to Durant in April 2010. Since moving to Oklahoma, Maynard has worked for Victory Life Church as an accounting manager, and in 2020 he was promoted and given the title “pastor of business administration.” A certified CPA, Maynard graduated from Abilene Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance and a master’s degree in accounting.
Platform: On his website, Maynard states that he is concerned that there is only one other CPA serving as a state legislator. One of Maynard’s top priorities is ensuring “that dollars are saved and spent wisely, that core services are provided, that our state remains financially sound even in uncertain times.” Maynard intends to propose legislation to “modernize” tax codes and banking laws to promote small businesses and emerging industries. Maynard is also a proponent of state sovereignty over “faith, family, and the free market” and says Oklahoma must learn to operate without federal financial support.
In addition to his fiscal platform, Maynard advocates for school choice and parental oversight on curriculum. He describes himself as pro-life and says that if Congress passes a budget that enables taxpayer-funded elective abortions, he will sign onto a lawsuit questioning the budget’s constitutionality. Maynard also wishes to expand the state’s tourism department.
Maynard is endorsed by Americans for Prosperity (AFP-OK).
Background: Reid graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma, where he played football. He was the first person in his family to graduate from college. Reid is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation, and he has worked for the tribe for the past five years in strategic business development. He previously worked for the Chickasaw Nation as a youth mentor. Before that, he was a history teacher and football coach in Ada for a year. Reid has operated his own ranch for the past four years.
Platform: On his website and Facebook page, Reid repeatedly says that President Joe Biden has “crushed opportunity” in Oklahoma through environmental regulations and “job-crushing mandates.” Reid says that, if elected, he will resist Biden administration policies being implemented in Oklahoma. He opposes critical race theory and “politics in the classroom,” and he calls for increasing access to skilled-trade programs and schools. He intends to recruit new businesses to the state, but he also calls for greater restrictions on marijuana businesses in Oklahoma, which he says have forced family farms out of business. He describes himself as pro-life and an “ardent” supporter of the Second Amendment.
Background: Williams was born in Durant and has lived in Bryan County for most of his life. He attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University. For the past 16 years, he has worked as an airline pilot, an occupation he says helped him learn about different political policies in place around the country.
Platform: In a statement submitted to the Bryan County Patriot, Williams said his first priority is education reform. Williams has two children with learning disabilities and he says that he is concerned with the quality of their education, adding that he is “outraged and tired of of watching other states outperform us.” Williams also says that he is an “unequivocal” supporter of the Second Amendment.