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Oklahoma voters decide bond issues, House primary

An oil and gas operator and an attorney won their parties' primary elections Tuesday for an open seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

That race was among a handful of matters that went before central Oklahoma voters Tuesday.

Steve Barnes, a Wewoka attorney, came out atop a field of five candidates in the Democratic primary, with 41 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Republican candidate Zach Taylor bested three other candidates, with 57 percent of the vote.

Barnes and Taylor will face Libertarian candidate Cody Presley, a Shawnee city employee, in the May 9 general election for the Oklahoma House District 28 seat. The seat was previously held by Republican Tom Newell, who resigned in December to take a job in the private sector. The district covers portions of Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.

If elected, Barnes said he hopes to secure more funding for schools around the state. He thinks shoring up the state's struggling education system will drive economic development in rural Oklahoma. Barnes said he thought that message resonated with voters in his predominantly rural district.

“We want to have a partnership between our business leaders and our educators," Barnes said. "I think that will help strengthen our economy.”

Taylor said he wants to focus on cutting wasteful spending and reviewing tax credits and incentives. He touted his experience as a businessman, saying that experience would help him get things done in the Oklahoma Legislature.

“I think that it's very important for small business experience and business leadership at the capitol to prevail and try to get this budget in order and try to move forward as a state," Taylor said.

In Yukon, voters soundly rejected a proposed $18 million city bond issue for the construction of a new athletic park at the corner of State Highway 66 and Frisco Road. The bond issue garnered just 27 percent of the vote.

The park, which would have included nine soccer fields, was intended as the first phase of a larger sports complex. In addition to the soccer fields, the bond issue would have funded the construction of spectator seating, scoreboards, concessions, restrooms, maintenance facilities, landscaping, sidewalks and parking lots. It also would have paid to widen Frisco Road to four lanes.

City officials estimated the bond issue would have carried a property tax increase of up to $133.27 on a $100,000 home.

In Noble, voters approved a pair of school bond issues totaling $31.01 million. The package includes $30.01 million for construction projects and $1 million for transportation equipment.

District officials plan to spend the largest share of that $30.01 million on an $11.5 million performing arts center and an $8 million gymnasium. Other projects will include renovations at Katherine I. Daily Elementary School, a classroom addition at Hubbard Elementary School and renovations to the front entry and the library at Pioneer Elementary School.

Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›