New­com­ers vie for la­bor com­mis­sioner seat

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - BUSINESS - BY DAVID DISH­MAN Busi­ness Writer ddish­man@ok­la­homan.com

Ok­la­homa is set to elect a new Com­mis­sioner of La­bor on Tues­day, set­tling a three-way race.

The race fea­tures Re­pub­li­can State Rep. Les­lie Os­born, Demo­crat Fred Dor­rell and in­de­pen­dent can­di­date Brandt Dis­mukes. All three are vy­ing for the seat of in­cum­bent La­bor Com­mis­sioner Melissa McLawhorn Hous­ton, who was ap­pointed in 2015 and did not file this year as a can­di­date.

Os­born, 55, lives in Mus­tang and is a busi­ness­woman in ad­di­tion to be­ing a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive. She served as chair of the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions and Bud­get Com­mit­tee. Her cam­paign fo­cuses on end­ing ex­ces­sive reg­u­la­tions, re­form­ing the tax code and sup­port­ing ed­u­ca­tion.

Dor­rell, 64, is from Bro­ken Ar­row, works for Spirit AeroSys­tems and teaches busi­ness cour­ses as an ad­junct pro­fes­sor at Tulsa Com­mu­nity Col­lege. His cam­paign cen­ters on work­place safety, im­prov­ing the liv­ing wage, and ed­u­ca­tional devel­op­ment and train­ing.

When asked what qual­i­fies them for the po­si­tion, both Os­born and Dor­rell touted their busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a 22-year small busi­ness owner,” Os­born said. “A lot of what the la­bor depart­ment does is in­ter­face with smal­land medium-size busi­nesses.”

“I have an un­der­stand­ing of peo­ple, the work­force and, in ad­di­tion, I’ve taught small busi­ness man­age­ment, so I have a pretty broad base,” Dor­rell said.

Os­born also said she worked with the la­bor depart­ment dur­ing her time as a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, an­other rea­son she feels con­fi­dent she can han­dle the job.

“My 10 years in the leg­is­la­ture, I worked with this depart­ment a lot,” Os­born said. “I could hit the ground run­ning.”

Os­born was able to raise sig­nif­i­cantly more fund­ing for the cam­paign, pulling in $726,184.30 by the Oc­to­ber 22 re­port­ing dead­line for the pre-gen­eral elec­tion re­port. Dor­rell raised $20,251.50.

Dis­mukes, 64, an Ok­la­homa City res­i­dent, raised $1,561.

“I’ve been a work­ing Ok­la­homan all my life, not a politi­cian,” Dis­mukes said. “I be­lieve Ok­la­homans are tired of the sta­tus quo and want new lead­ers, not politi­cians.”

The can­di­dates are ex­cited to get to work should they win the elec­tion.

“I feel like I have a good back­ground and fit for this agency,” Os­born said. “I re­ally re­spect what they do ... and I’m ex­cited to dig in and do ev­ery­thing I can to work with busi­nesses across the state to help them grow and stay in Ok­la­homa.”

“To me it’s not about be­ing a Demo­crat or a Re­pub­li­can, it’s about what you’re go­ing to do,” Dor­rell said. “I’m run­ning for the job I know how to do, not for a job I need to learn how to do.”

The race fea­tures Re­pub­li­can State Rep. Les­lie Os­born, Demo­crat Fred Dor­rell and in­de­pen­dent can­di­date Brandt Dis­mukes. All three are vy­ing for the seat of in­cum­bent La­bor Com­mis­sioner Melissa McLawhorn Hous­ton.

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