Know Your Candidate: Kent Glesener

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KT: Why did you decide to run for office?

KG: As a businessman who has lived and raised our children here, I believe it is time for real solutions to the flawed budget process, lack of transparency, need for performance audits, and correction of the misuse of taxpayer dollars. We continue to rank in the bottom ten in healthcare, education outcomes, overall state rankings and worst in the world in incarceration. We can’t afford to let one more day pass without real reforms.

KT: What is your personal work history and why does that qualify you for this position?

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KG: I am a professional engineer who has worked on major construction projects from Alaska to Louisiana, and built a successful business right in Sapulpa, Paradigm Construction and Engineering. As a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, I have received a lifetime achievement award, and serve on the advisory board for the engineering program at Oral Roberts University.

I understand infrastructure needs, but also knowledge of the layers of bureaucracy and the outdated processes that government has in place that are holding Oklahomans back from success in their own businesses. It’s time to apply real world, proven business policies to bring Oklahoma government practices accountability, ethics and transparency. I fully believe that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

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KT: What do you consider the two or three biggest issues in Oklahoma right now?

KG: One, accountability and transparency is a must for how the agencies our spending the people’s money, so allowance for the auditor’s office to perform audits without restrictions is a must. Two, we must reform and modernize how government operates or we will not have the ability to position Oklahoma for improved outcomes overall. Three, education reforms and increased support to our classrooms and teachers — such as the 65 percent rule of budgeted money to reach the classroom.

KT: Why are you more qualified than your 3 opponents?

KG: I have a demonstrated professional resume which shows I know what steps need to be taken to achieve financial success, recognizing metrics and trends that must be proactively addressed (economic downturns, etc) to achieve stability and continued growth, and business best practices that can be used to reform government.

I also have co-founded an international ministry, which has put a very real face on those in need. I have been involved in prison ministry (and therefore knowledge of histories of how people ended up in that situation, to solutions such as reintegration programs to lower recidivism), in missions and work to support Israel, and multiple endeavors helping those who have been victimized and abused.

I believe that in any station of life you are in, that we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. I am fully committed to serving and helping people. If I am so fortunate to gain your votes and trust, I will continue to do so as your State Representative, because to whom much is given, much is required.

KT: You mention a transparent state budget in your platform, how do you plan to make that happen?

KG: Our current legislature has in place a restriction on audits from taking place due to Title 74- 213.2, which requires that in order for the state auditor to performance audit an agency, authorization must be given by the governor, a joint resolution of the house and senate or the head of the agency itself.

No wonder we have agency waste, fraud and abuse in agencies with this type of limitation.

Our state auditor should be able to audit any and all agencies on a regular basis with no restrictions. Agencies should be required have their budget, money in and all expenditures listed online. It is your taxpayer dollars that are utilized, you should be able to know where and on what your money is being spent.

KT: Education reform seems to be listed on almost every politician’s platform, what does education reform mean to you?

KG: Our state repealed Common Core several years back, but in conversations with teachers they are still overwhelmed with mountains of paperwork in the bureaucracy that is connected, that takes time away from the students.

We have a new administration in DC, and we should be advocating for less paperwork and a rollback of those bureaucratic programs that don’t allow teachers the freedom to do what is best for the students in their classroom. Now that teachers have been given the pay raise, we must focus on making sure that the money does reach the classroom – and again operational and performance audits are necessary to ensure that happens. The front line should have the funding first.

KT: One statement on your website that stuck out to me was “our churches and pastors shouldn’t be afraid to speak the truth,” can you tell me what problem that statements addresses and how you plan to deal with it?

KG: President Trump answered that question with his executive order easing the restrictions of the “Johnson Amendment” which, since 1954, was used to silence pastors from exercising their First Amendment rights under fear of losing tax exempt status. Pastors, since before the birth of our country, had been leaders in moral behavior and beliefs. Now, they can once again weigh in on reminding people of Biblical truths and moral and fiscal responsibility.

KT: Obviously your faith is very close to you and your politics, how do you respond to the criticism that those two things should be kept separate?

KG: I have found in business that there are people that go to church regularly, but then exhibit unethical behavior. Too many times the excuse for their behavior is, “It’s just business.” Separating beliefs following tenets of faith from how you act daily in politics, business and in life’s decisions, comes to a bad outcome for both the person behaving that way, and for the people with whom they are doing business.

I am grateful to be redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ. My business decisions and my public and private life are to be a testimony to His saving grace. I will never separate my belief from my action, because I must answer for my decisions at the end of this life.