NORMAN — Norman attorney Aaron Stiles is making yet another bid for the State House District 45 seat. The difference this time is Stiles is the incumbent.
Four years ago, Stiles challenged the Democratic incumbent, Wallace Collins, and lost. Not deterred, he tried again in a more GOP friendly environment two years ago and won by just under 500 votes.
Collins had the seat for 14 years.
In the June 26 primary, Stiles defeated Republican challenger Derick Jensen by a generous 75 percent margin.
The General Election on Nov. 6 may be more of a challenge.
Stiles takes on Democrat Paula Roberts, also of Norman, and a well-known name throughout Cleveland County. Roberts served as the Cleveland County Election Board secretary from 1989 until 2011 and was a Norman teacher.
The only Democrat in the race, Roberts said she is seeking a seat in the House because she is concerned that the “narrow agenda and radical ideology” of Republicans “will hurt our state economically.”
House District 45 contains almost all of Lake Thunderbird, where much of Norman’s growth is occurring. It’s voting precincts are 3, 12, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 55, 81, 82 and 94.
Democrat Paula Roberts: Roberts is a longtime Norman resident. Public service has always been her guiding principle, she said. That principle enabled her to achieve success as a teacher at Norman High and at the Cleveland County Election Board. Her experience as a teacher has made education one of her top priorities.
Roberts believes the best way to obtain jobs and business in Oklahoma is by having an educated work force.
As a 15-year breast cancer survivor, Roberts will champion women’s health needs and will promote programs for early detection and treatment. Her 30 years as a military spouse has given her a deep respect for veterans and an understanding of the needs of military families.
Roberts has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Oklahoma. She taught business classes at Norman High. During her tenure at the election board, her goal was to see that every candidate and voter was treated courteously and efficiently, without regard to party affiliation.
Roberts has served on the boards of CASA and Sooner Theatre. She is currently on the board of Full Circle. Paula and husband, Barry, are members of First Christian Church, where she serves on the outreach committee.
Her husband of 41 years, Barry, is a longtime Norman attorney and retired Air Force Colonel. They have one daughter, Amanda.
“Norman is my home, I love it here and I know this district,” Roberts said of her decision to run for office. “It’s time for us to have a representative who will represent the people and someone we can depend on to work for us. I will be a strong advocate for House District 45.”
Republican Aaron Stiles: Stiles was born and raised in Cleveland County. He was first elected as the District 45 representative in 2010.
After graduating from Carl Albert High School in 1997, he became a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard as a military police officer. During Stiles’ eight years in the Air National Guard, he received the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal and two honorable discharges.
Stiles received a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Oklahoma. He then went on to the University of Oklahoma College of Law and received a juris doctor.
Stiles is owner and lead counsel for the Stiles Legal Group, based in Norman. He and wife, JoAnne, have been married eight years.
He was co-author of House Bill 1601, which was signed by the governor on May 24, 2011. The measure was designed to establish a one-stop shop for business owners.
“This plan is designed to cut through the government bureaucracy, which is a strong disincentive to the creation of new businesses and jobs,” Stiles said in a press release after the bill’s passage. “Business owners should not be forced to navigate through a gauntlet of multiple agencies and government red tape in order to start their business.”
Oklahomans will be able to incorporate or create a limited liability company, or LLC, online. The new law also allows most trade licenses — plumbing, electrical, tax certificates, cosmetology — to be applied for online.
Stiles was appointed to the Business and Professional License Facilitation Task Force, which was set up to study existing models in other states to determine the most efficient ways to submit applications and approve business licenses in Oklahoma.