Sand Springs City Councilman Brian Jackson is throwing his hat in the ring for the House District 66 election. The Republican candidate is a thrice-elected councilman and has been awarded an apple by the Oklahoma Parents and Educators for Public Education political action group.
Education is the cornerstone of Jackson's campaign, an issue which he says is "the purest form of economic development." He points to proper education funding as a solution to fixing both the State economy as well as overcrowded prisons.
"From the womb to the classroom, that's how I describe my philosophy," says Jackson. "Education gives you options...Incarceration breaks up families, continues the cycle of poverty, and creates a reliance on government."
He says the teacher pay raise included in House Bill 1023xx is just a start and that school funding and salaries need to continue to go up. He is opposed to forced consolidation of school districts.
"I'm a Republican that's not afraid to reinvest in our Oklahoma," says Jackson. "We do that by these taxes. You've done tax breaks here and there with businesses and income tax."
Jackson praises the revenue package passed with House Bill 1010xx and says that he would go a step further by raising gross production tax to 7% on new oil wells. The GPT was raised from 2% to 5% during the latest session. He also wants to look at raising income tax and ending the capital gains tax deduction.
Jackson is a Charles Page High School graduate from the Class of 2002. His wife, Barbie, is a fifteen year veteran teacher in the Sand Springs Public School District. The two have a daughter, Bella, in the second grade. He earned his Associate's Degree through the Tulsa Community College West Campus in Sand Springs and a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. He has spent the last ten years as Development Manager for Junior Achievement of Oklahoma and has spent nine years on the Sand Springs City Council.
One of the most important things Jackson wants voters to know is that he plans to be an "open-door legislator." In fact, he plans to remove his office door altogether so that constituents can always access him.
Jackson plans to vote "Yes" on State Question 788, legalizing medical marijuana. "If there is something out there like marijuana that can change someone's life - I'm for that. I don't want to be hindering anyone. I think it's a moral issue if you're standing in the way of something that could be beneficial."
Regarding tax incentives, Jackson says they're "the nature of the game nowadays." He points to the City of Sand Springs's recruitment of Reasor's and Wal-Mart as evidence of the success of tax incentives. "You have to do your research to make sure on each individual case, if it makes business sense. We really need to evaluate each one to make sure it's providing fruit."
Jackson is hesitant to raise the minimum wage saying that the current rate provides an individual incentive for employees. "You show your employer that you've got drive and skill and passion for that job, you're not going to stay at the minimum. When the government starts intervening in that, that goes directly to the consumer."
Jackson would have voted "No" for the Constitutional Carry bill that was passed by the legislature and vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin. He says that Oklahomans already have the ability to get an open or concealed carry license, and that removing the screening process would create a "Wild West scenario" that could escalate potentially dangerous situations.
He opposes Senate Bill 1140 which allowed for religious adoption agencies to refuse to work with LGBTQ couples. "I'm a person that believes not to discriminate against people. That bill discriminates. We have thousands of children in Oklahoma that are waiting for a loving family."
Jackson previously ran for a House seat in 2006 and for Senate District 37 in 2016 and 2017. Should he win the primary and November general election, he would have to surrender his City Council seat. Jackson just began a three-year term in May of 2018 and the City of Sand Springs would have to have a special election to replace him.
The Republican Primary will be held on Tuesday, June 26th. Jackson will face incumbent Jadine Nollan and Emily Delozier. If no candidate receives at least 50% of the votes, then the top two candidates will advance to a runoff election on August 28th. The winner will face the Democratic nominee on November 6th.