By JAMES BEATY
Candidates for office in county, state and federal races sparred on a number of issues during a special forum held Tuesday night at the Kiamichi Technology Center’s McAlester Campus.
At other times, some of the candidates found themselves in agreement, hitting common ground on several major themes.
Approximately 130 individuals poured into KTC’s Seminar Center to attend the forum, sponsored by the McAlester News-Capital and KTC.
Candidates in races for the District 2 U.S representative’s seat, the District 7 state Senate post and the Pittsburg County sheriff’s office participated in the forum.
All of the candidates will be on the ballot in the upcoming Nov. 6 General Election.
In addition to the candidates, McAlester City Manager Pete Stasiak closed the forum with a presentation regarding two city propositions related to a bond refinancing measure, which will also be on the Nov. 6 ballot for McAlester voters.
One consensus arose among the two candidates for the District 2 U.S. representative’s post represented at the forum and the two candidates running District 7 state Senate seat. All of them were opposed to selling water from Southeastern Oklahoma to Texas.
Rob Wallace, the District 2 candidate for the U.S. representative’s seat, and Michael Fulks, the Independent candidate for the post, both spoke of the importance of keeping Southeastern Oklahoma’s water resources to help Southeastern Oklahoma.
Republican candidate Markwayne Mullin did not attend the event.
Also agreeing on their opposition to selling Southeastern Oklahoma water to Texas were the two candidates for the District 7 state Senate seat, Republican Larry Boggs and Democrat J. Paul Lane.
In another race, Democratic incumbent Sheriff Joel Kerns and Independent candidate Tracy Parrott answered questions related to the issues in the sheriff’s election.
Both acknowledged the difficulty of having few deputies to cover one of the largest counties in Oklahoma, but each maintained he would be the best man for the job.
Candidates basically remained respectful of each other. Wallace sent a few barbs toward Mullin, the Republican candidate for the District 2 U.S. House seat who did not participate in the forum — although Wallace never mentioned his GOP opponent’s name.
The only sparks that flew weren’t between candidates, but between Boggs and some audience members, who vocally disagreed with his linking President Barack Obama’s re-election and the tightening of gun control laws. Boggs made the remarks in response to a written question from a member of the audience regarding the 2nd Amendment.
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