People in Claremore know Ami Shaffer as a community volunteer, the pastor’s wife, a law student, a mother and a teacher.

Over the next few months, not only Claremore residents, but residents throughout Rogers and Mayes counties will come to know her as a Republican candidate for State Senate District 2.

Shaffer has officially announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination.

The District 2 Senate seat has been held for the last 28 years by term-limited Democrat Stratton Taylor.

If elected, Shaffer will be the first woman ever elected to serve Rogers and Mayes Counties.

On a personal level, Shaffer describes herself as a “long-time conservative, wife, mother and small business owner” who believes serving people in the second District means “working for job growth and increased opportunities for future generations.”

“For 25 years, I have invested my life into this area, first as a wife and mother, then as a teacher and community leader, and now as a small business owner. Like any other parent, I want to see a better future for my kids and grandkids,” Shaffer said.

Since making the decision earlier this year to seek the District 2 seat , Shaffer has been knocking on doors.

“My goal is 100 doors a week. The highest number I’ve done so far is 157.”

Those one-on-one moments with potential voters are revealing, Shaffer said.

“One gentleman said he had just paid $1,400 on his wife’s prescription.”

Availability of emergency ambulance service in rural areas and reliable, high-speed Internet access are other common citizen concerns.

“That’s major. That’s important when we talk about being the fastest growing part of the state.

“We are under-represented in the technology and health sectors,” Shaffer said, and that impacts the economic growth potential of the District.

“When I think about the infusion of population we have, it’s created wonderful problems but ...a strain on services.

“Obviously there is a State budget and things that are appropriated and available to certain areas, but being the fastest growing area with pressing needs, I believe our area needs to be a priority,” Shaffer said.

“As a result of our growth, the State of Oklahoma has the greatest opportunity to profit from this area. We are certainly poised on the brink to bring great things to our state.”



JOBS AND SMALL BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

“Small business need to be given incentives to operate and not shut down easily,” Shaffer said.

When someone starts a business it is virtually “something springing out of nothing. Multiply that over, many times over and you’ve got a tax base from which education funding comes,” Shaffer said.

That’s why one of her campaign focuses is on bringing better jobs to Oklahoma and increasing opportunities close to home.

“Economic development can do more for education than anything,” Shaffer said.

“I want our kids to be able to find good jobs here in Oklahoma. I want them to be able to start small businesses that create new jobs for other folks.

“Some of my former students have done just that, but our current laws make it hard to start and stay in business here in our state. I will work hard to increase business and economic opportunities here so that our kids do not have to move away to find a better life. Better opportunities translate into the best and brightest remaining here. And that means we can make our good state into an even better one.

“I think we have every bit as much to offer as those two states [Arkansas and Texas] do, but we’ve dragged our feet a bit.”

Shaffer, who passed the Bar exam last year, supports lawsuit and Workers Compensation reform.



Shaffer’s official candidate announcement offers addition information on her personal background and views on education, gun owner’s rights and community service:



PERSONAL

Shaffer has been married to Glenn Shaffer, senior pastor of the Church at Claremore for 31 years. They have two sons. Matthew, 29, leaves this summer to do missions work in the United Kingdom for the next couple of years. He served in the US Army and National Guards and in 2000-2001 was deployed to Bosnia. Daniel, 24 is a writer and filmmaker in Los Angeles who just produced his first short film.



EDUCATION

Shaffer is a former teacher. She remains passionate about excellence in education at all levels and said she will be a “tireless advocate for our children, teachers and schools.” She knows first-hand the importance of being a life-long learner.

“When we came here in 1980, I was just a few hours shy of finishing my college degree. Our children were small, so I remained home. But, the dream to have a college degree never left me.” Shaffer said.

Shaffer returned to college and taught school. But, she also nourished the dream of going to law school.

“At first, I was afraid to tell anyone except my husband that’s what I wanted to do. It seemed so out of reach. But, I thought a law degree would be an excellent tool to help me help others,” said Shaffer.

At the age of 43, Shaffer enrolled in the University of Tulsa College of Law. She taught school during her first year, and then worked as a legal intern for District Attorney Gene Haynes throughout the rest of her education.

“To really understand how passionate I am about education, you must understand where I come from.” Shaffer said. “Just one generation ago, something like attending college much less law school was impossible for families like mine. My parents stressed the need for a good education, especially my dad. Both were depression kids from poor families who could not afford college. Although my dad was successful as an Air Force pilot and flight engineer, he always felt like he missed out by not having the opportunity to obtain a college degree.”



GUN OWNER’S RIGHTS

“My dad had me out on the rifle range at age six. He was an avid hunter and collector, so I learned gun safety and how to handle a gun early. Obviously, as a military man, he believed strongly in the defense of self and others. He passed those values on to me.” Shaffer said.

Shaffer supports the concealed weapon law and gun owner’s rights including the rights of hunters. She wants to see those rights maintained and not chipped away by those who are neither hunters nor marksmen.



PRO LIFE AND COMMUNITY SERVICE

Shaffer has been a strong advocate for the pre-born since the 1980’s. She has spoken at and participated in various Catholic and Protestant pro-life events, including the Mother’s Day Chain of Life. Her advocacy for pre-born children led to her later involvement with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

In 1995, Shaffer organized the formation of the Tri-County CASA program in Rogers, Mayes, and Craig counties. CASA is a program that trains local volunteers to speak up for children caught in the courts of our area.

Shaffer served as the first chairwoman of the board of directors, and executive director of Tri-County CASA. She secured the initial donors and grants that obtained all the initial funding for the start-up program.

In 1999, she was elected as the President of the Oklahoma CASA Association. She also served on the board of the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth (OCCY). In 2000 she was nominated for the “Friend of Children” award given annually by the Commission.

Shaffer was also a Senate lay-member appointee for two terms of service on the Professional Responsibility Commission of the Oklahoma Bar Association during 1997-2003. The PRC reviews all professional and ethical complaints filed against attorneys licensed to practice in the state of Oklahoma.



SENIOR CITIZENS AND FAMILY VALUES

Shaffer has experienced the issues involved with senior care personally. In August 1998, she became her father’s legal guardian. And, she served as her mother’s power of attorney and caregiver until her death in 2002. Her personal experiences of walking through both parent’s dementia gives her a unique understanding of the needs of both the “Sandwich Generation” and that of our vulnerable seniors.

“No one can ever really prepare you for what it is like to find yourself in the situation of caring for older parents with dementia.” Shaffer said. “But, I can honestly say I have no regrets. Although my parents no longer knew me, I knew them. And, I got to make sure they were taken care of before we had to say good-bye. For that, I am deeply grateful.”

Shaffer said she will bring that personal experience to elder care and veteran’s issues.