NORMAN — Rep. Joe Dorman said he’s proud to be a Democrat running for governor, but he hopes to garner bipartisan support.
In a visit Wednesday to the Transcript, Dorman said, if elected, he wants to work across party lines like former Gove. Henry Bellmon, a Republican leader who worked with a Democratic legislature.
Education is a top priority for Dorman.
“We need to keep the politicians out of the classroom,” he said.
Dorman believes in attainable standards and more opportunities for students to succeed in arenas beyond testing. An alumnus of Oklahoma State University, he suggested asking the state universities to develop meaningful testing tools for students.
“Develop our own tests that are grade appropriate,” he said.
Dorman is also a critic of Gov. Mary Fallin’s rejection of federal Medicaid expansion dollars.
“All of our rural hospitals are struggling,” he said. “Twelve hospitals right now are facing shutdown.”
Dorman believes party politics, not wise policy, was the motive for the governor in rejecting the money Oklahomans needs for health care. He said he would have accepted the Medicaid expansion funding.
“It’s money we needed,” he said. “It’s money Oklahoma taxpayers paid in.”
Dorman is optimistic about the party’s future.
“I think it will be a better year for Democrats,” he said.
He is making the rounds, knocking on doors, speaking to groups and getting his message out via social media.
“I’m not going to back down,” he said.
Dorman describes himself as a fiscal realist.
“I don’t think you can responsibly cut taxes and then create debt,” he said. He believes the current state administration has mismanaged fiscal policy and said, if elected, he would implement a long-term budget projection to work toward important goals.
Dorman said the state needs to review its tax credits and make sure incentives are supporting jobs and true economic development. He also believes in performance audits for state agencies and that it’s possible to modernize practices to save taxpayers’ dollars.