Local lawmaker Todd Thomsen is seeking his fourth term in the Oklahoma Legislature this year.
A Republican, Thomsen has lived in Ada 22 years. He was elected to represent the 25th District in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2006, then won re-election in 2008 and 2010.
His legislative assignments for 2011-12 included the chairmanship of the Higher Education and Career Tech Committee and membership on the Public Safety and Transportation Committees.
Thomsen will face challenger Donald C. Gallup in the June 26 Republican primary election. There are no Democrats in the race this year so whoever wins the Republican primary will capture the seat.
Thomsen said the Legislature will face several important issues in 2013, which will include looking at the state’s tax structure, prioritizing state spending and making Oklahoma a more business-friendly environment. He said lawmakers should review existing business tax credits and decide which ones should remain and which should be eliminated.
Thomsen said lawmakers may also consider reducing corporate income taxes and study the best way to invest state dollars to promote business and industry. For instance, he said lawmakers may decide to invest in upgrading the state’s roads and bridges.
“My hope is we’ll take a long-term look at Oklahoma and see what type of infrastructure investments we need to make that position us for growth in the future and actually incentivize growth,” he said.
Turning to education, Thomsen said lawmakers should review recent school reforms — including the A-F grading system, high-stakes testing and third-grade retention — to see whether they represent a conservative approach to those issues.
“I think as a conservative, we need to analyze whether our current reforms are truly conservative,” he said. “With common education, we choose to micromanage schools when actually, a conservative position is for local control, promote competition and provide choices.”
The A-F grading system rates schools based on student achievement, student growth and the school’s overall performance. High-stakes testing requires high school students to pass at least four of seven state assessment tests before they earn a diploma.
Oklahoma’s third-grade retention policy, which will take effect in 2013, requires schools to hold back third-graders who do not meet reading standards.