Friday, April 12, 2013

Meet the Candidates: Sara Jo Odom, OKGOP Vice-Chair hopeful

Sara Jo Odom, candidate for Oklahoma Republican Party vice-chair

With the 2013 Oklahoma Republican Party State Convention coming up next weekend, 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 the responses from the last public Vice-Chair candidate, Sara Jo Odom.

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

Now, meet Sara Jo Odom.

1. Tell us a little bit about your personal side.
Born and raised in Oklahoma City, graduated Northwest Classen High School and The University of Oklahoma. Spent 30 years away from Oklahoma, living in several other states, 2 years in Germany, and 20 years in New Hampshire. Three grown children and six grandchildren. In 1997, I was blessed to be able to return to Oklahoma– definitely God’s Country! Registered Republican as soon as I was old enough to vote! Active member at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, Edmond.
2. What involvement have you had in the past with the Republican Party (from precinct-level to RNC)? If possible, include approximate dates.
  •  National Federation of Republican Women – Board of Directors – 7 years
  • Secretary; Legislative Chairman; Nominating Committee; Leadership Committee
  • Region 9 Director – Liaison with Republican Women in CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, RI and Washington, D.C.
  • Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women
  • Served as President for four years
  • Current member OKCRWC; Associate Member Heartland Republican Women & Edmond Republican Women
  • Oklahoma City Republican Women’s Club
  • Various officer positions and President for two years
  • Currently serving on Outreach Committee
  • Vice-Chairman – Oklahoma County GOP
  • OK GOP Executive Committee
  • Worked for Republicans in New Hampshire while living there, and have been an active volunteer for Republican candidates since moving back to Oklahoma
3. Do you currently hold any Republican Party office?
I am currently on the Executive Committee of the OK County GOP and received an award for volunteer work back in February. Current NFRW Secretary; Current Executive Committee -- Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women
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.
Outside the Republican Party -- a member of Eagle Forum, Oklahoma; Americans for Prosperity; Concerned Women for America; -- all of these since 2006.
5. There have been eight state conventions in the last decade; how many have you attended (and which)?
I have attended all of the state conventions since 2003.  (I lived away from Oklahoma until my return in late 1997.)
6. What prompted you to run for this office?
I decided not to run for higher office of the National Federation of Republican Women, and that I should concentrate my volunteer work in Oklahoma.  I believe that my leadership experience is a good fit for this position.
7. What are your top priorities if elected as vice-chair?
 Top priorities: 
  • a)  To "keep the ball rolling" by continuing to register new Republicans, and target conservative Democrats and Independents to register Republican;
  • b) to immerse the Oklahoma Republican Party in any and all ways of communicating and training around the state, i.e., webinars, conference calls, live-streaming meetings, etc. and
  • c) hold countywide round-table discussions, inviting ANYONE who would like to become involved in our Party to participate.  Then, use the best of the ideas we receive and share them with all the counties.
8. What five issues should the Republican Party focus on politically?
  1. Decreasing the size of government
  2. Protecting our individual liberties
  3. Reducing taxes
  4. Immigration reform
  5. National Security.
9. List some of the individuals who are publicly supporting your candidacy that delegates might recognize.
Steve Fair, National Committeeman (Fair says he "has not taken a public position in the Vice Chair race"); Carolyn McLarty, National Committeewoman; Evelyn McCoy, President of the Oklahoma City Republican Women's Club; Sandra Leaver, President of Edmond Republican Women; Heather Cline, President of Heartland Republican Women; and many others
10. Here's your closing statement - cover whatever you want to talk about.
I believe that I am eminently qualified for this position of leadership -- having served in leadership positions in Rotary, Chambers of Commerce, Eagle Forum, Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women and National Federation of Republican Women.  I believe that the first responsibility of a leader is to raise up other leaders, and that a GREAT leader has left his/her ego behind -- and gives credit to anyone who helps get the job done.  I love Oklahoma, and I am a very loyal and devoted Republican -- having registered Republican back when it wasn't popular to do so.  The Oklahoma Republican Party has come such a long way in the past 15 years, and now that we have all statewide offices as well as all our Congressmen and Senators, I believe we should make sure that we hold all of them accountable.  We can't take anything for granted!  If Oklahoma can flip from a Democrat-controlled state to a Republican-controlled state -- then it can flip back!  We need to keep educating young voters, minority voters and women voters as to why the Republican Party stands for the highest ideals and values, and is the ONLY party that wants to truly protect their rights.
Thanks for participating, Sara Jo!

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


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