And so it begins. The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor met for the first debate of the political season in a forum hosted by the Oklahoman.
The Oklahoman billed this as a conversation between the two candidates and that's what it was. It was very cordial, and very tame. But we did get to go into more detail tonight about those specific platforms.
This first forum of the campaign didn't really cover any new ground. Republican Kevin Stitt and Democrat Drew Edmondson traded light jabs over attack ads, like one slamming Edmondson.
"Particularly the one knocking the barn down. That's the most worthless barn I've ever seen. There’s no road leading up to it or leading away from it." Edmondson said, drawing laughter from supporters.
Stitt said, "This is about delivering services. I believe in smart government. A government that delivers core services efficiently and effectively."
The candidates talked about their plans for funding education. Edmondson reiterated his plan to increase the tax on oil and natural gas production to 7 percent, do away with the capital gains exemption and increase the tax on tobacco. That's the same plan he has to fund infrastructure repairs.
Stitt said he has a plan to fund education while raising teachers’ salaries
"They're at number two right now. I've got a plan to get them to number one.” Stitt said, “Next session."
We asked Stitt for more details on that plan. “Next year we have a billion dollars more in revenue, so I want to inject more into the common education system to make sure we get our teachers up to number one in the region in pay." Stitt said.
Edmondson responded, “He calls it a billion. It’s closer to 800 million in new revenues. 400 of which he would have vetoed. So I'm glad that wiser heads prevailed."