Veteran Teacher, Law Officer Challenge Rep. McDugle For Wagoner County Seat
TULSA, Oklahoma - There are two challengers for State House Seat 12: teacher Cyndi Ralston and Wagoner County Deputy Nick Mahoney.
Ralston has taught for more than 30 years in Broken Arrow and currently in Haskell, according to a campaign representative. She is running as a Democrat on a platform of education funding, health care, particularly in rural Oklahoma, and criminal justice reform.
Mahoney has served as a law enforcement officer for 10 years. He's the public information officer for the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office.
The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Kevin McDugle, who came under fire when he posted a video to his Facebook page lambasting teachers for their behavior at the capitol.
"I'm not voting for another stinkin' measure when they're actin' the way they're actin'," he said on the video.
McDugle eventually deleted the video and replaced it with another, explaining the previous video and vowing to continue to support teachers. The second video also appears to have been deleted.
News On 6 spoke to McDugle Tuesday after he posted the videos. You can watch them here:
He told us, "I've always supported the teachers. I want to continue to support the teachers, but I am aggravated by some of the things that are happening up here. It's not the way you get things done," he said.
Some of the teachers McDugle represents said they were surprised by the video and they felt he was one of the most supportive representatives they met with Monday.
Both videos were deleted from McDugle's Facebook page.
Ralston said, "I was extremely disappointed in Representative McDugle. He really disrespected the teachers. We all are here. The comment that he made that the students are watching us, I’m very proud that they students are watching us at this point.”
According to the campaign, Ralston helped organize Haskell teachers attendance at the state capitol on Monday. Ralston’s candidacy was spurred on in part by McDugle’s controversial video.
Mahoney, a deputy sheriff with the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office, is also running for the District 12 seat. On Wednesday, Mahoney commented on McDugle's videos:
"The mass majority of Oklahomans stand with our teachers, as a father of public school students, I want what's best for their education. I want them to have the best teachers, schools and funding possible. For any public figure, especially a state representative to respond the way he did is uncalled for and unprofessional."
The decision will go to voters June 26.