Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Meet the Candidates: Richard Engle, OKGOP Vice-Chair hopeful

Richard Engle, candidate for Oklahoma Republican Party vice-chair

As time draws closer to the 2013 Oklahoma Republican Party State Convention, we continue our series on the individuals who have publicly announced their candidacy to replace outgoing Chairman Matt Pinnell and outgoing Vice-Chair Pam Pollard. Today, let's look at Richard Engle's response to our candidate survey.

The other announced candidate is Denise Crosswhite Hader; her survey is posted here. For chairman, Dave Weston and Amanda Teegarden are the current candidates. You can view Weston's survey here; I have not received a response from Teegarden yet.

Now, meet Richard Engle.


1. Tell us a little bit about your personal side.
My wife since 1985, Denise, is the Deputy Insurance Commissioner, handling all matters of Property/Casualty, Rate and Form Filing, Continuing Education and Workers Compensation. Our Daughter, Destiny, is 21 and living on her own in Oklahoma City.  Denise and I live on a small farm between Mustang and Tuttle.  We are members of, and I an Elder for, Faith Church in Oklahoma City.  I own a business, BellWest America which is Oklahoma's largest independent telephone directory publisher. I believe that serving and building the Republican Party is an important part of God's plan for my life.

2. What involvement have you had in the past with the Republican Party (from precinct-level to RNC)? If possible, include approximate dates.
I have been actively involved in grassroots Republican Party activities for over 30 years.  As stated by former Speaker of the OK House, Lance Cargill, "Richard has knocked more doors, for more candidates than anyone in Oklahoma."  From founding the Christian Coalition in Central Oklahoma, to co-founding OCPAC - the largest membership PAC contributing to conservative Republican candidates only, and as President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, I have been consistent and active from the ground up.

3. Do you currently hold any Republican Party office/position?
I currently serve as State Committeeman for Canadian County, Chair of the Committee on Rules and the County Courthouse Campaign Committee for the OKGOP.

4. What political involvement have you had outside of the Republican Party (i.e. campaigns, elected office, political groups, etc.)? If possible, include approximate dates. 
Unlike other candidates, I have been elected to public office, twice.  I self imposed term limits in accord with a promise to my constituents.  I also serve as the Republican member of the Canadian County Election Board, and served for ten years as the Commissioner of Archives and Records for the State of Oklahoma - being appointed by Gov. Keating.  I regularly write for the Oklahoma Constitution Newspaper and other publications from time to time.  I have vast experience speaking in public and have been interviewed hundreds of times for radio, television and newspapers. 

5. There have been eight state conventions in the last decade; how many have you attended (and which)? 
My recollection is that I have been a Delegate to every OKGOP convention for the last two decades.
I was elected by the 6th Congressional District convention (as was my wife) to the national Convention in San Diego in 1996.  I am told we were the first married couple so elected in Oklahoma, but another married couple was elected by the 2nd District Convention later the same day.

In 2000, I was chosen to be on the Executive Committee Slate as a Delegate to the national Convention in Philadelphia.  My fellow Delegates elected me to serve on the National Rules Committee.

In 2004, I hosted a hospitality suite for the Delegates to the national convention in New York for the National Federation of Republican Assemblies with Phylis Schlafly, Alan Keyes and several others as my co-hosts.  It was gratifying to serve the Delegates, Alternates and guests.  Denise was an Alternate to this and the previous convention as well.

In 2012, I was honored to carry the proxy for our National Committeeman to the RNC and its Rules Committee for the two RNC meetings leading up to and including the convention in Tampa.

While attending national conventions is enjoyable, I am only interested in those in which I can contribute in a substantive way.

6. What prompted you to run for this office?
It is a position of service, and that fact is what motivates me most.  I have spent most of my time in politics (all grassroots) in the party and in supportive roles.  This office gives me the opportunity to serve, support and build our party as a conservative, constitutional force in Oklahoma.  I truly wish to take that service to the next level.

7. What are your top priorities if elected as vice-chair?
As promised last year, I will continue to work to empower the grassroots and to elect Republicans at the local level.  I wanted to move forward with those priorities and I did.  The Committee on the Rules will continue its work where I am advocating for grassroots empowering revisions and more importantly I will continue to work to elect Republicans at the local level.  The County Courthouse Campaign Committee saw extraordinary success when (for the first time) the state party financially supported county candidates.  Last year, not one Democrat defeated an incumbent Republican for county office while eleven Republicans defeated incumbent Democrats.  60% of the challenger candidates the state party supported won!  Republican pick-ups at the county level exceed those in the State House, Senate and Congress combined!

I am eager for the opportunity to bring these priorities to the next level as Vice Chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

8. What five issues should the Republican Party focus on politically?
I am eager for the Republican Party to take its platform even more seriously.  A platform is something you stand on if you are a leader, and something you stand beside if not.  It is time we stand on it, firmly resolved that those issues the Oklahoma GOP proclaims as our agenda are settled matters and I will advocate for them with every elected official and with any access I might have with the press.  I have every confidence in the conservative nature of our party and have no qualms with the issues it will put in the platform.

I believe it is incumbent on me, as Vice Chair of the state party to support each plank of the platform or (if absolutely necessary) hold my tongue on any issue I could not support.  If I could not fulfill this pledge then it would be proper to relinquish the role.  It is a representative role and the Delegates to the 2013 OKGOP convention may have confidence that I will represent them well.

To secure that I have fully answered your question, I will list my priorities for public policy.
  1. I am pro-life and will only support the GOP as a pro-life party.
  2. State sovereignty: As we see our national government fall into ever deeper debt, our state must be well prepared to stand up for Oklahomans.  For the time being, the best way to do that is to secure our sovereignty and work to prevent the federal government from imposing unconstitutional mandates on us, thus bankrupting Oklahoma as is being done to our national government.
  3. Individual liberty: Our nation was devised as one that recognized that all men were created equal and that they were endowed by their creator with inalienable rights.
  4. Smaller government:  Democrats controlled the state for nearly 100 years.  The Republican minority voted against nearly every expansion of government.  Yet, when we have won control of the legislature and the Governor's office, we have seen very little reduction in government programs the Republicans opposed in the first place.
  5. Pro-business on a level playing field.  We must build our economy, but never in a way that creates favoritism.

9. List some of the individuals who are publicly supporting your candidacy that delegates might recognize.
I am honored by the support of two Statewide elected officials.  I haven't spoken with all the others yet.

Insurance Commissioner, John Doak and Labor Commissioner, Mark Costello.  Also of note are Sen. Randy Brogden [sic] and Rep. Charles Key.  

10. Here's your closing statement - cover whatever you want to talk about.

My platform is simple. I want to empower the grassroots and I want to elect Republicans at the local level.  I said it so many times, in so many venues last year, I think people believed I meant it.  This year, as they have seen me fulfill those promises and stand for those goals, they are sure to acknowledge that I was, and am, sincere in it.

I look forward to an agreeable convention as we have seen the integration of many new Republican activists who previously were less familiar with and thus less confident in our processes.  Over the last year we have seen some healing in our relationships one with another.  We all lost the bid for the White House, we all have cause to come together.

I believe we can move forward, welcoming those who have the same principles even if they have differing priorities.  We can overcome the spirit of factionalism.  The Republican Party is "the party of liberty, the party of equality, of opportunity for all, and favoritism for none." as stated in the preamble of the national Rules of the GOP.  We can All agree with that!

Finally, I want to say that I appreciate the opportunity I had to run last year and I am gratified that Steve Fair and I have been able to work together (on the Committee on Rules) and I look forward to working with him as we continue to build the OKGOP.

Thanks for participating, Richard!



[UPDATE]
Current candidates for OKGOP Chair:
Dave Weston -- survey here
Amanda Teegarden -- survey here

Current candidates for OKGOP Vice-Chair:
Denise Crosswhite Hader -- survey here
Sara Jo Odom -- survey here
Richard Engle -- survey here

1 comment:

Steve Fair is a political activist. said...

Just to be clear I have not taken a public position in the Vice Chair race.

Steve Fair