Voters say they want bipartisan politicians who tackle issues

·4 min read

Jun. 23—Oklahoma primary elections will take place June 28, with a runoff Aug. 23, followed by the General Election on Nov. 8. And with these dates approaching, Cherokee County residents are deciding who will get their votes, and what issues are most important to them.

Jason Nichols, former Tahlequah mayor and instructor of political science at Northeastern State University, said issues are important to voters. When asked whether Americans voted based on a candidate's ethos or political platform, he said they are most likely to cast ballots based on positions on a particular issue.

"In a lot of cases, it's issues that bring an attentive public," said Nichols. "Unfortunately, it's often a single issue."

He explained that many working Americans can only allocate a certain amount of attention to politics because of time constraints.

"It's more of a logistical thing. They have the ability; however, their regular lives take up more time that doesn't allow them to focus on abstract political questions," said Nichols. "Often, they don't have the availability, or they choose to allocate more time and effort into paying attention to one issue, rather than multiple issues."

In a June 18 Saturday Forum on the Tahlequah Daily Press Facebook page, readers were asked what issues were most important to them when choosing a candidate for the District 2 congressional and U.S. Senate races.

"All of the above are issues I'm concerned with. Being a responsible adult in order to get things accomplished for the greater good of our nation seems near impossible with politicians these days," said Pam McClendon Pritchett. "The most pressing concerns are supply chain and inflation, border security, election reform with term limits, and Social Security and veteran benefits."

She said political parties aren't important, and that voters should humble themselves and look at the whole person.

"Bring factories and jobs back to the U.S. rather than importing everything from overseas. There's so much work to be done to grow the U.S. back, that it seems near impossible," said Pritchett.

Susan Feller said she believes working across party lines is important.

"Moderates from both sides need to work together to drown out the extremists," said Feller.

She is looking to vote for candidates who will fix America's tax structure so the middle class does not carry a disproportionate burden.

"Only allow truly charitable organizations to be tax-exempt. Get the government out of health care decisions. Abolish paid lobbyists. If legislation is worthy, people will advocate for it. Don't allow the political parties to determine how elections are held. Abolish the Electoral College. Invest more in quality early childhood education and child care. Keep religion out of government. Insist on ethical behavior," said Feller.

David Smalley wants to vote for candidates who eschew extremist ideologies.

"I would like to see a candidate stay out of the culture wars and focus on helping working-class families. This could mean advocating for higher wages, being pro-union and more public investment in infrastructure," said Smalley.

Christopher Murphy said that in the U.S. Congress, compromise is difficult to achieve.

"The problem with 'crossing party lines and compromise' is that voting Democrat is a total non-starter for a huge portion of the voting populace. That makes the Republican primary the key election in a lot of areas — like CD-2. And you get the most likely primary voters out by being loud, divisive, and extreme. If you want to stop divisiveness and encourage compromise, you've got to vote like it. First, you've got to vote," said Murphy.

What you said

When readers were asked in a poll on the TDP website what issue was most important to them, 24 percent said supply chain interruptions and inflation; 2 percent said protecting the Constitution and our democracy; 10 percent said border security; 7 percent said getting some gun control measure in place; 5 percent said election reform and/or term limits; 5 percent said better and safer public education; 5 percent said protecting Social Security and veterans' benefits; 4 percent said preventing any type of gun control; 4 percent said enhancing and protecting civil rights; 3 percent said stopping the war in Ukraine; 3 percent said strong efforts toward bipartisanship and healing the country's rift; 1 percent said eliminating abortion altogether; 1 percent said safeguarding reproductive rights; and 3 percent said "something else."