Bombing survivors' father announces gubernatorial bid

Monday, February 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A man who has two children who survived the Oklahoma City bombing said Monday he wants to give back to the people of Oklahoma by becoming their next governor.

Jim Denny, 56, of Oklahoma City announced his plans to run as a Republican in 2002.

"I love the people," Denny said at a Tulsa park with his wife, Claudia, at his side, and their children, Brandon, 9, and Rebecca, 8, laughing and playing on nearby playground equipment. "It's going to be a true honor to reach out and serve the people of Oklahoma."

Denny has worked as a motivational speaker and a "24-hour-a-day father" since the 1995 bombing. Brandon and Rebecca were among the few children inside the building's daycare center to survive. Both were badly injured.

Brandon has not gained full use of his hand and continues to receive therapy, even though that didn't seem to slow him down on the playground equipment Monday. Both children attend second grade at a private Catholic school.

Denny, who moved to Oklahoma from California 15 years ago, said the state's response to the bombing, the May 1999 tornadoes and the Oklahoma State University plane crash last month taught him much about Oklahomans.

He said he wants to represent the "goodness" of the state.

Before the bombing, Denny worked as a manager in a shop that builds drilling tools. As governor, he said he'll still be an employee -- of the people.

"They're the bosses," he said. "And I'll listen to them."

Denny believes his communication skills, in particular, qualify him for the job and his name recognition will help at election time.

Denny said he will stress education, health care and economic development but isn't making his platform formal until after he conducts a 12-month tour of the state. He said he plans to visit the largest cities to the smallest towns to find out what people need.

He said he also will work alongside some Oklahomans for a day, whether they're flipping hamburgers or milking cows. He said he'll do it for the whole day, not just when television cameras are around.

"I think putting my true heart into what I believe in, I don't think I can fail," he said.