My name is Joe Dorman, and I am running for Governor of Oklahoma. You may wonder why. What makes this guy any different? Why should I listen to what he has to say? Why does he think he has a chance? All of these questions and many more have occurred to me many times.
And the simple truth is, I am running because I love Oklahoma. I love this land. I love her beauty. I love her diversity. And most of all, I love her people -- their pioneering spirit, their can-do approach, their neighbor-helping-neighbor attitude. I love Oklahoma and I love Oklahomans. And the spirit of service my parents instilled in me compels me to stand up for what is right for all Oklahomans.
This is not a decision I take lightly, but one that has come from serious contemplation and a growing need for a leader who places people over politics and service above all else.
Since starting this journey, I have visited with tens of thousands of Oklahomans from all corners of our state. I have met with and heard the concerns of my fellow citizens about how we can make Oklahoma great again. What I have heard over and over is that we are headed in the wrong direction with education, with jobs and the economy, health care and with the lack of storm shelters in schools -- all issues I plan to address as I campaign for Governor of Oklahoma.
When faced with a challenge, my parents taught me to create solutions, not simply focus on the problem. Throughout my career as a public servant this is exactly what I've done. I started in the mailroom, nothing was handed to me, and a few years later ran for and won an election to become a State Representative from the southwest part of the state. In representing the people of my district, I've had to make the difficult decisions, placing the needs of my constituents and the state before big business and moneyed interests. Time after time I have had to blaze my own trail, reaching across the aisle and fighting for the rights of hard-working, everyday Oklahomans.
Four years ago when Mary Fallin returned from Washington, D.C. and became Governor of Oklahoma, she brought back with her the national GOP platform of policies that place politics over people. The type of policies of extreme mandates that seek to divide us rather than unite us. If you care about the increasingly sharp, four-decade long widening of the income inequality gap across this country, then you must care about what's happening today in Oklahoma.
One of Oklahoma's most famous sons, Will Rogers once said:
"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."
Well, I have to say what's happening in Oklahoma today is far from a laughing matter.
Over the last few years, I've watched many Oklahomans suffer from ideological decisions that have continued to place politics over people. I've spoken with mothers who are working long hours only to pay for childcare, and fathers who have to work three jobs to barely make ends meet. And, I've held the hands of parents whose lives have been shattered because they sent their children off to school one fateful May morning, never realizing a vicious tornado would be the reason that would be the last time they would see them alive.
These are the ideals I have been and will continue to fight for as the Governor of Oklahoma.
When I announced my candidacy recently, many labeled me the underdog -- something I've dealt with and overcame my entire life. However, in a state where the income divide continues to grow at an alarming rate where too many hard-working Oklahomans put in an honest day's work at a low-paying job that doesn't even yield a living wage, sitting on the sidelines wasn't an option.
In today's Oklahoma, we are now the third highest in the nation for the percentage of workers earning minimum wage, just $7.25 an hour -- a paltry amount even with our low cost of living. In Mary Fallin's Oklahoma, despite her talk of the importance of family, Oklahoma's children remain the most vulnerable segment of our society; with 31 percent of Oklahomans under the age of five living in poverty, and one in four going to bed hungry every single night.
Despite this, there have been massive cuts in the very programs designed to help these kids and their families, simply to make room for lower taxes that benefit people in our state who don't actually need a tax cut...
Oklahoma is capable of great things when we set our mind to it -- and we have a lot to be proud of: We were the first state in the nation to offer statewide preschool and we've developed new technologies that have changed the world. Working together, our ancestors transformed prairies into communities and shaped a future from red dirt and a pioneering spirit.
If you care about hard-working, regular men, women and children simply trying to keep their heads above water, you should care about what's happening in Oklahoma. I'm someone who has come from humble beginnings, starting in the mailroom of our State Capitol to now running as the Democrat for Governor; I've never been handed a thing in life, always working to achieve results and focusing on priorities that benefit ALL Oklahomans. These scorched earth, blisteringly extremist policies being enacted by an out-of-touch Governor in Oklahoma today is the breeding ground, a test tube of sorts, for the nation. That's why Oklahoma has become ground zero in our fight for the heart and soul of America. So if you're willing to shoot for not just what is acceptable, but for what is possible, than I ask that you join me and together we can win this election.