OKLAHOMA

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OKLAHOMA

Population (1994): 3,258,000 (up 3.6% from 1990), 1.2% of U.S. total

Voting-age population: 2,394,000; 1994 turnout, 42%

Median age: 33.2 years

Median household income: $26,991 ($5,273 below U.S. median)

Unemployment: 4.4% (1.2% below U.S. average, March 1996) Last presidential election: Clinton (D): 34% Bush (R): 43% Perot (I): 23%

Congressional delegation: One Democrat, seven Republicans

Oklahoma is no stranger to boom-and-bust upheavals. Fickle forces, from the 1930s dust-bowl drought to the 1995 terrorist bombing, have etched the Sooners with a distinct skepticism. Buoyed by the growth of the service sector, Oklahoma's economy is stable, but past upheavals have reverberated in the political realm as well: in 1990 Oklahoma was one of the first states to approve term limits for state legislators. This used to be a Democratic outpost, but in the past few years Oklahoma has swung markedly to the right. And this year may mean that a Republican sweep of the state's congressional delegation will come sooner rather than later.

JIM BOREN (D) SENATE CHALLENGER

BORN: Dec. 10, 1925, Wheatland EDUCATION: U of Texas, B.A., 1948; California State U, B.A., 1950; U of Southern California, M.A., 1950; Nathaniel Hawthorne College, L.H.D., 1967; U of Texas, Ph.D., 1969 FAMILY: Wife, Norma; two children RELIGION: Methodist MILITARY: Navy, 1943-46; Army Reserve, 1958-63 OCCUPATION: Professor; business consultant; campaign manager; POLITICAL CAREER: Democratic nominee for U.S. House, 1986 ADDRESS: 1 Plaza South, Tahlequah 74464. Tel.: 918-456-1357

In 1992 Boren ran a spoof campaign for President, saying he could provide what people seemed to want: "bold, reckless, arrogant, ignorant leadership." The self-described "humorist, educator, author, sculptor and former diplomat," now 70, says he's serious about this race and promises to work hard to keep education, Medicare and veteran programs fully funded.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES National Service YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "Members of Congress should be servants of the people who elect them, not...the special-interest lobbyists who give them money."

JAMES INHOFE (R) JUNIOR SENATOR

BORN: Nov. 17, 1934, Des Moines, Iowa EDUCATION: U of Tulsa, B.A., 1973 FAMILY: Wife, Kay; four children RELIGION: Presbyterian MILITARY: Army, 1954-56 OCCUPATION: Real estate developer; insurance executive POLITICAL CAREER: Oklahoma House, 1967-69, Senate, 1969-77; Mayor of Tulsa, 1978-84; U.S. House, 1987-94; U.S. Senate, 1994- ADDRESS: 3035 Northwest 63rd, Suite 201 N, Oklahoma City 73116. Tel.: 405-848-6060

Entering the Senate after a special election to fill the seat vacated by retiring Democrat David Boren, Inhofe now face's Boren's eccentric cousin. Inhofe himself is known for some verbal eccentricities, like denouncing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as "gestapo bureaucracies." With a strong conservative record, however, he plays well in this Bible Belt state.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare NO* National Service NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "Why would you want to trade a Republican who is in the majority and has seniority for a Democrat who is in the minority and has no seniority?"

RANDOLPH AMEN (D) District 1 (Tulsa, part of Wagoner County)

BORN: Oct. 28, 1945, Los Angeles EDUCATION: U of California at Davis, B.A., 1976; Southwestern U, J.D., 1981 FAMILY: Separated; one child RELIGION: Christian MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Democratic nominee for Tulsa city council, 1996 address: 5315 East 47th Place, No. 6-G, Tulsa 74135. Tel.: 918-622-5297

Amen, a conspiracy buff who has penned a yet-to-be-released book on the Kennedy assassination, now has a plan to make Tulsa a jumping-off point for colonization of outer space. It includes a novel solution to overcrowded prisons: sending convicts on missions to build interstellar infrastructure. But Amen still must contend with football-star-turned-Congressman Steve Largent before the 21st century's Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria can set sail.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion YES Guns YES Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "[A]ffirmative action, for all the good it has done, has run its course...Jefferson's dream has come true: we, as Americans, are equal. Period."

STEVE LARGENT (R) District 1

BORN: Sept. 28, 1955, Tulsa EDUCATION: U of Tulsa, B.S., 1976 FAMILY: Wife, Terry; four children RELIGION: Protestant MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Marketing consultant; professional football player POLITICAL CAREER: U.S. House, 1994- ADDRESS: 6957-B Lewis Avenue, Tulsa 74115. Tel.: 918-481-5011

As a conservative Christian and "family-values" Republican, Largent has strong support in the First, home to Oral Roberts University. The district contains major McDonnell Douglas and Rockwell International facilities, and Largent is a staunch defender of the defense budget, even supporting a military exemption from budget cuts. He also sponsored the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act to give parents control over when and how their children are exposed to sex education and condom distribution in schools.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia YES NAFTA NR Welfare YES Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "If we can get government out of the way, we will see our economy grow faster, create more jobs and more opportunities."

TOM COBURN (R) District 2 (Northeast--Muskogee)

BORN: March 14, 1948, Casper, Wyo. EDUCATION: Oklahoma State U, B.S., 1970; Oklahoma U, M.D., 1983 FAMILY: Wife, Carolyn; three children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Physician POLITICAL CAREER: U.S. House, 1994- ADDRESS: 515 West Okmulgee, Muskogee 74401. Tel.: 918-686-9495

Coburn broke a 74-year-old mold by winning this seat, which had been the Democrats' since 1920. With no political experience, he promised to read every bill that crossed his desk and burned lots of midnight oil fulfilling the pledge. (He also kept delivering babies on weekends.) A devotee of health-care issues, Coburn promotes the G.O.P. plan to save Medicare by limiting its funding increases to 7% a year.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense YES Abortion YES Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia YES NAFTA NR Welfare YES Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "[The G.O.P. freshmen] came here with a purpose, and most of us don't have a career in mind...The carrots and the sticks that worked in the past do not work on us."

GLEN JOHNSON (D) District 2

BORN: April 20, 1954, Oklahoma City EDUCATION: U of Oklahoma, B.A., 1976, J.D., 1979 FAMILY: Wife, Melinda RELIGION: Roman Catholic MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Oklahoma House of Representatives, 1982-, Speaker, 1990- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1248, Muskogee 74402. Tel.: 918-687-1977

The Democrats have heated up this race by choosing Johnson, a respected lawyer with a long political resume. He became Speaker of the state House in 1990 at age 36, the youngest person ever elected to that post. Vowing to reclaim this district, which the Democrats lost in 1994, he says his priorities are to balance the budget, improve education and create jobs. Johnson raised most of his campaign funds within Oklahoma, saying this was to limit the influence of out-of-state contributors.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "I'm a positive person. I'm proud that I don't have to be a flamethrower to get things done. I don't divide, I facilitate and get 'em to the table before I make a call."

DARRYL ROBERTS (D) District 3 (Southeast--"Little Dixie")

BORN: Nov. 9, 1944, Dallas EDUCATION: Southeastern Oklahoma State U, B.S., 1968; U of Oklahoma, J.D., 1974 FAMILY: Wife, Kathleen; two children RELIGION: United Methodist MILITARY: Marines, 1969-71; Marine Corps Reserve, 1971- OCCUPATION: Attorney POLITICAL CAREER: Oklahoma Senate, 1982- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 672, Ardmore 73402. Tel.: 405-226-8288

When Bill Brewster announced his retirement, Oklahoma Democrats scrambled to save the last Democratic seat in the state. Now the man with the longest run as Oklahoma Senate majority leader faces the man for every party, new Republican Wes Watkins. Roberts' record on jobs, and his endorsement from former House Speaker Carl Albert, make him a real contender.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "People don't like Newt Gingrich...especially since he and the freshman Republicans shut down government and tried to link Medicare cuts to tax cuts for the wealthy."

WES WATKINS (R) District 3

BORN: Dec. 15, 1938, DeQueen, Ark. EDUCATION: Oklahoma State U, B.S., 1960, M.S., 1961 FAMILY: Wife, Elizabeth Lou; three children RELIGION: Presbyterian MILITARY: Oklahoma National Guard, 1960-66 OCCUPATION: Communications executive; building contractor POLITICAL CAREER: Oklahoma Senate, 1975-77; U.S. House, 1977-90; candidate for Governor of Oklahoma, 1990, 1994 ADDRESS: Box WW, Stillwater 74076. Tel.: 405-624-1100

Watkins left the House in 1990 to run (unsuccessfully) for Governor. He lost a second bid for Governor in 1994, as an independent. Now he's back to run for his old House seat--but as a Republican. The latest party switch may not bode well for him, however, since registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 4 to 1.

THE ISSUES

Budget NR Medicare NR Defense NR Abortion NR Guns NR Gays NR Bosnia NR NAFTA NR Welfare NR Medical Leave NR (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "My values have not changed...I'm not running for honor. I've been there. I want to work for a balanced-budget amendment and protect Social Security and Medicare."

ED CROCKER (D) District 4 (Southwest--part of Oklahoma City)

BORN: Feb. 28, 1948, Montgomery, Ala. EDUCATION: Pasadena City College, A.A., 1968; U of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1980; U of Oklahoma, M.P.A., 1985 FAMILY: Wife, Ann; two children RELIGION: Methodist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: State substance-abuse-program director; legislative analyst POLITICAL CAREER: Norman city council, 1989-91; Oklahoma House of Representatives, 1991- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 1353, Norman 73070. Tel.: 405-360-1462

Crocker opposed state Question 669, which would have frozen property taxes and cut education funds; he has made much of opponent J.C. Watts' refusal to take sides on the issue, which was ultimately voted down in every county. A supporter of both a balanced budget and modest tax cuts, Crocker calls himself the moderate alternative to Watts.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "A bedrock principle for our nation is a strong system of public education that prepares our nation's young people for responsible citizenship."

J.C. WATTS (R) District 4

BORN: Nov. 18, 1957, Eufaula EDUCATION: U of Oklahoma, B.A., 1981 FAMILY: Wife, Frankie; five children RELIGION: Southern Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Property-management-company owner; professional football player POLITICAL CAREER: Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner, 1991-94; U.S. House, 1994- ADDRESS: 224 West Gray, Suite 104, Norman 73069. Tel.: 405-360-5550

As the G.O.P.'s first black representative from the South since Reconstruction, Watts has become a symbol of party inclusiveness. Hitting on such key issues as welfare reform and "compassion," Watts' "American Dream" speech to the the Republican National Convention in August solidified his reputation as a party unifier.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays NO Bosnia YES NAFTA NR Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "Republicans define compassion by how few people are on food stamps and [Aid for Families with Dependent Children] and public housing, because we have given them the means to climb the ladder of success."

JAMES FORSYTHE (D) District 5 (North central--part of Oklahoma City)

BORN: Dec. 14, 1933, Edmond EDUCATION: U of Central Oklahoma, B.S., 1957 FAMILY: Wife, Rosalyn; two children RELIGION: Unitarian MILITARY: Army, 1953-55 OCCUPATION: Consulting civil engineer POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: 200 North Boulevard, Suite 205, Edmond 73034. Tel.: 405-330-1574

After 27 years as a bridge-hydraulics engineer, Forsythe was looking forward to retiring and spending time with his family. But when it seemed there would be no Democrat to challenge incumbent Ernest Istook, he delayed his plans. Forsythe has taken his campaign to the people by driving from town to town in a white pickup with wife Rosie. Education is a big concern: he opposes funneling federal money to private schools through vouchers, and wants to strengthen public schools instead.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA NO Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "Public education is, in fact, one of the greatest success stories in this country's history."

ERNEST ISTOOK (R) District 5

BORN: Feb. 11, 1950, Fort Worth, Texas EDUCATION: Baylor U, B.A., 1971; Oklahoma City U, J.D., 1977 FAMILY: Wife, Judy; five children RELIGION: Mormon MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Lawyer POLITICAL CAREER: Warr Acres city council, 1983-87; Oklahoma House, 1987-92; U.S. House, 1992- ADDRESS: 5400 North Grand Boulevard, Suite 100G, Oklahoma City 73112. Tel.: 405-948-1444

Istook's stringent concern for the federal pocketbook is well known: a recent study rated him in the top 5% in Congress on fighting wasteful government spending. He's also conservative socially, and proposed a measure that would have required parental consent for minors to get contraceptives or treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA YES Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "As bad as the truth [about Medicare] is for seniors, it's worse for younger Americans...they must pay ever higher taxes for a program that will be wiped out before they actually qualify for benefits."

PAUL BARBY (D) District 6 (West and Panhandle, part of Oklahoma City)

BORN: June 9, 1935, Beaver EDUCATION: Panhandle A&M College, B.A., 1957, B.M.E., 1959 FAMILY: Single RELIGION: Unspecified MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Oil-and-gas investor; title consultant; rancher POLITICAL CAREER: None ADDRESS: P.O. Box 18698, Oklahoma City 73154. Tel.: 405-424-3351

For newcomer Barby, learning the political ropes has been interesting. In a fit of honesty, he announced that he is gay; then his brother Stanley and six other relatives--a sister-in-law, nephew, nephew's wife, cousin and cousin's wife--endorsed his opponent. (Barby explained that his brother had long supported the G.O.P.) Barby wants to strengthen education and the rural economy, but he faces a battle on one issue: in this gun-toting district, he supports the Brady Bill and the assault-weapons ban.

THE ISSUES

Budget NO Medicare NO Defense YES Abortion NO Guns YES Gays YES Bosnia NO NAFTA YES Welfare NO Medical Leave YES (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "Gingrich Republicans act like they are ashamed of America. They don't have any faith in the judgement of the American people."

FRANK LUCAS (R) District 6

BORN: Jan. 6, 1960, Cheyenne EDUCATION: Oklahoma State U, B.S., 1982 FAMILY: Wife, Lynda; three children RELIGION: Baptist MILITARY: None OCCUPATION: Farmer; rancher POLITICAL CAREER: Republican nominee for Oklahoma House, 1984, 1986; Oklahoma House, 1989-94; U.S. House, 1994- ADDRESS: P.O. Box 26825, Oklahoma City 73126. Tel.: 405-632-0800

Though its constituencies range from the inner-city neighborhoods of Oklahoma City to the wild plains of the Panhandle, Lucas prides himself on being in touch with his district--he went home nearly every weekend in his first term and held more than 70 town meetings throughout the 24-county district.

THE ISSUES

Budget YES Medicare YES Defense NO Abortion YES Guns NO Gays YES Bosnia YES NAFTA NO Welfare YES Medical Leave NO (For an explanation of these issues, see the front of this guide.)

QUOTE OF NOTE: "[The new farm legislation] was an intense time of educating the 'agricultural know-nothings' in Congress, particularly those from the northeast who think food comes from their corner supermarket."