House District 21

The two Republicans running to become the next representative from House District 21 in the Durant area grew up on opposite sides of the Red River. Cody Maynard is a church accountant who originally hails from Texas, and Dustin Reid is a Choctaw Nation employee who has never lived outside Oklahoma, a factor Reid says “carries a lot of weight” in his mind.

Maynard, 36, was raised in Gatesville — southwest of Dallas — but he moved to Durant after graduating college. Reid, 30, is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation who was born in Purcell and has lived in southeast Oklahoma for most of his adult life. Maynard and Reid were the two highest-placing candidates in the June 28 primary election, but neither received more than 50 percent of the vote, resulting in the Aug. 23 runoff.

With no Democrat or third-party candidate seeking the open seat, the runoff will determine who will next hold the seat of Rep. Dustin Roberts (R-Durant) as he reaches the end of his term limit.

House District 21 covers the western half of Bryan County, including Durant, and the easternmost quarter of Marshall County, including about half of Lake Texoma.

Both Maynard and Reid say they believe their prior experiences have uniquely prepared them for serving in the Legislature: Maynard is a CPA who believes having more accountants in the Legislature would help the state manage its finances better, while Reid has been a teacher, a youth mentor, a development strategist and a rancher.

‘It is a fantastic community’

While growing up in Gatesville, 15-year-old Maynard heard a sermon series from Duane Sheriff, a pastor from Victory Life Church, which is based out of Durant.

“That sermon series changed my life and brought me down a path of devoted Christianity,” Maynard told NonDoc via email.

He moved to Durant in 2010 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration and his master’s degree in accountancy from Abilene Christian University, and Maynard has worked as the accountant for Victory Life Church ever since.

While Maynard is from Texas, he now says he could not imagine life anywhere else, especially after his three kids were born in Oklahoma.

“The people of this community have truly treated us like family, and it is a fantastic community to raise our children in,” Maynard said.

Maynard believes his experience as a CPA has prepared him for the Oklahoma House.

“As an experienced writer of policies and procedures, and managing budgets as part of my job, I understand that every law either creates efficiencies in operations or additional burdens,” he said. “I am well-equipped to work with our state budget and assess the impacts of various bills on our jobs and businesses.”

Reid also draws from his personal story while campaigning for office.

“We didn’t have a lot,” Reid said of his upbringing. “Poverty, single-mother household — and I was the oldest of all the boys. (…) I am the only born and raised Oklahoman left in my district, and, to me, that carries a lot of weight. You know, a kid that grew up in in rural Oklahoma from nothing, who dearly loves this state.”

Reid became the first member of his family to attend college when he went to the University of Central Oklahoma on a football scholarship. He ultimately graduated with his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern State University, and he then earned a master’s degree in education from East Central University. Reid spent a few years working as a high school teacher and football coach in Ada — and as a youth mentor in the Chickasaw Nation — before beginning work with the Choctaw Nation.

After starting off in the tribe’s human resources department, Reid said he was promoted into the Choctaw Nation’s office of strategy.

“We do a lot of the tribe’s strategic planning, and that’s where I really got involved with economic development, business development, workforce development (and) tourism,” Reid said.

Additionally, Reid owns a ranch where his family raises poultry and cattle, alongside growing lettuce and microgreens. He said his eclectic career background would give him a unique perspective in the Legislature.

“You look at a lot of our legislators, and there’s several that have got different backgrounds, but everybody’s got a focus, and I feel like (I’m) coming in bringing more well-rounded experience,” Reid said.

‘We must find and eliminate waste’

Only one CPA currently serves in the Oklahoma House, and Maynard believes the Legislature would benefit from having more accountants in control of the state’s finances. He also believes that the state could avoid raising taxes by eliminating financial waste and abuse through better allocation.

“We do not have a revenue problem,” Maynard said. “We need to have more financial experts to assist with creating a budget that invests and allocates wisely and holds those accountable who betray the public trust.”

Reid, who cites President Ronald Reagan’s fiscal policies as an inspiration, similarly believes that better monetary allocation could be used to reduce taxes.

“My philosophy is the amount of waste in our government spending could more than enough cover for any tax cuts,” Reid said. “So looking at ways to trim the excess, unnecessary fat off of our budgets is a big agenda for me.”

Another way Reid believes Oklahoma could increase its economic capacity is through improving workers’ skills. According to Reid, one way to accomplish that is trade schools increasing the number of programs they offer. He further believes that Oklahoma society could do a better job of promoting trades as “noble, valuable jobs.” As a legislator, he said he would advocate on behalf of the state’s technology centers.

Reid also said the state should eliminate grocery and fuel taxes to help his district’s consumers face inflation.

Maynard said the constituents of House District 21 want better road infrastructure, especially regarding Roosevelt Bridge, a dangerous stretch of road that crosses Lake Texoma and is slated for replacement on the Department of Transportation’s eight-year plan.

Maynard also called for increases in teacher pay.

“In order to make our tax dollars go farther, we must find and eliminate waste and misuse in this state,” Maynard said.

Think of the children

When asked about their inspirations for running for office, both Maynard and Reid had the same answer: their children. Both men have three kids.

“I want to ensure that my children have a free country to raise their own families in someday,” Maynard said. “With many in this country now promoting full blown socialism and even suggesting that we replace our country’s constitution, I am committed to ensure we have strong representation at the state level to make sure our freedoms that the former generations fought and died for are preserved and passed onto the next generation.”

Reid has three daughters.

“With everything that was going on in the world, I wanted to protect them first and foremost,” he said. “I want my girls to have every opportunity that I had and more, and have it here in Oklahoma, instead of Texas or New York or California or anywhere else.”

The candidates’ concerns for the next generation are reflected in their ideas for legislation. One of Maynard’s ideas is a hypothetical bill he calls the “Young Entrepreneurs of America” bill. He said the concept would allow minors who “generate less than $5,000 of sales, and operate for less than 90 days a year, to be awarded the freedom to operate without the normal business filings or permits ordinarily required in Oklahoma.”

“If a child were to open a lemonade stand, for example, they would (currently) be liable to collect and remit sales taxes on their sales,” Maynard said. “This is an unnecessary burden for these micro-businesses ,which many young people are engaged in. Instead, we should be championing and promoting their ability to explore business ideas and learn first-hand the basic principles of business.”

Reid said he wants to explore how the Legislature can help children in the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade.

“What happens to a baby if the lady does not want it? How can we help them to have success? Bringing that child to life, looking at mental health services, looking at adoption agencies, looking at foster care,” Reid said. “Those have become very important to me.”

According to Maynard’s website, he has received endorsements from Oklahoma faith leaders, Rep. Jay Steagall (R-Yukon), Rep. Gerrid Kendrix (R-Altus), Americans for Prosperity, the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, and Victory Life Church pastors Duane Sheriff and Jacob Sheriff.

Reid’s website can be found here, and he has received endorsements from Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, District 9 Choctaw Councilman James Dry, Marshall County Sheriff Donald Yow, Marshall County Commissioner Chris Duroy, the State Chamber of Oklahoma PAC, Gun Owners of America and the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors.