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Enid News & Eagle - Dorman Visits Enid in Campaign for Governor

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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman spoke in Enid Saturday evening at Five80 Coffeehouse.

The Rush Springs native addressed a group of more than 75 people about issues ranging from education, tax credits and reaching across party lines to do what is best for Oklahomans.

The District 65 state representative said he got his first experience at the Capitol as a page, an award though his local 4-H club.

"It truly opened my eyes to the bigger picture of the world," Dorman said. He said he saw people in leadership positions working together to help their constituents.

Dorman said he knew he wanted to serve the public and got his first job at the Capitol in the basement as a mail clerk.

"Yes, I am that guy that started in the mailroom and worked my way up to this point," he said. "We'll see how it goes on Nov. 4."

Dorman said he saw the Republican and Democratic parties begin, then continue, to divide.

"You have to work together to find consensus and find those areas where you can do things better for our people," he said. "You don't do it in a hostile way. You don't do it in an uncivilized way, like we see in Washington right now.

"We see too much fingerpointing. Mary learned a lot of lessons while in Washington, D.C."

Dorman said Fallin has not lived up to her previous campaign promises of "Family, Faith and Freedom."

"We have not had the leadership in the executive branch that we need to steer the ship and make policies to help Oklahomans," he said.

Dorman said the last piece of his legislation to make it into law was authored by a Republican, Sen. Patrick Anderson, who was among those at the coffeehouse Saturday.

"Not everyone is going to agree with the policies I feel are important, but we have to sit down at the table and have that discussion," Dorman said.

Dorman said it has been nearly eight years since most educators have had a raise, the cost of living in Oklahoma rises each year and state employees are not being valued as they should.

"Education is the issue I have tried to champion the most," he said. "Most of the legislators want to do right by education."

He said funding needs to go back into classrooms, and not to standardized testing. He said teachers need resources to do the job our children deserve.

"When I was in school you didn't see high levels of stress in schools like what you're putting on kids today," Dorman said. "And when I am governor, we're going to do what we can to get rid of high-stakes tests."

He suggested instead of politicians deciding what's best for children, educators should devise standards for schools. "We need leaders in the education field developing the policies and not the politicians," Dorman said.

Dorman then spoke about the issue of health care.

"The first executive order I will issue is to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma," Dorman said, receiving a round of applause. "That is money that has gone to Washington, D.C., from Oklahoma taxpayers. It can be brought back to Oklahoma with one signature from the governor."

He said minimum wage needed to be raised to a level where people can live.

"Oklahoma is the third-highest state in the nation for employees making minimum wage," he said. "We have got to raise the current minimum wage to a living wage. We can't expect people to live off that."

Dorman also addressed an issued close to many in the crowd Saturday -- mental health and the status of the NORCE and SORC facilities.

"NORCE and SORC we've got to reopen," he said.

Dorman said there was a $21 million cut to mental health this year in the state. He said the largest mental health facility in the state is the Oklahoma County jail.

He also addressed the chances of a Democratic taking back the seat of governor. "Across the state, Oklahomans of all ages, of all backgrounds, of all political parties are frustrated with Mary Fallin and we have a chance to win," he said.

Dorman mentioned the Rasmussen Report's poll from July that had Fallin with 45 percent of the vote and him with 40 percent.

Dorman has asked Fallin for six debates before the election. He said she has agreed to only one, set for Oct. 2 on OETA.

Following the event, Dorman said he was pleased at the number of people at the coffeehouse.

"We're getting a tremendous response," he said. "There were quite a few Republicans in the room and I feel they left happy.

"We're not always going to agree on the issues, but they know I am going to be willing to listen and form an opinion on fact and try to do the right thing."

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