Claremore Daily Progress

June 3, 2006

Chelsea mayor up for House seat


Chelsea Mayor Kenny Weast has announced his candidacy for the Oklahoma House of Representatives District 6 seat.

Weast, a Democrat and lifelong Chelsea resident, believes the people of District 6 deserve “a real leader who listens to their concerns and who will work tirelessly with others to find solutions.”

Weast pledges a campaign of ideals and strong initiatives to keep House District 6 represented by a formidable Democrat.

“I believe my experience of representing the residents of Chelsea over the past three years has enabled me to be a leader who values the importance of every single person, while realizing the significance of a teamwork approach to accomplish set goals,” Weast said.

Economic development, public education, roads and bridges, and health care are among his primary concerns for Oklahoma.

Weast believes Oklahoma must focus on creating quality jobs, maintaining grant opportunities, and making “every facet of our state attractive” so businesses will open and relocate to the state and existing companies will stay and grow. Weast also favors more tourism funding, especially for the Will Rogers Museum and Ranch. He supports a minimum wage increase to help the state’s economy and improve living conditions statewide.

“We must continue to increase funding for education and continue to provide school systems with the tools essential for teaching Oklahoma’s youth,” Weast said. “Teacher and support staff pay must be increased and the Teacher’s Retirement Fund must be fully funded.”

Weast is also dedicated to the state’s public universities and colleges and to expanding the programs for Oklahoma’s vocational schools.

“The state must find the resources to truly solve this dangerous situation. As leaders, we must work together to fund radical improvements to our dilapidated roads and bridges because improved roads and bridges are vital to Oklahoma’s future. Also important is the broadening of the Pelivan Transit Service, which is so important for northeastern Oklahoma,” Weast said.

Funding for health care is also a priority for Weast.

“Health care for Oklahomans must be funded at all levels, whether it is care for our seniors and veterans, the mentally and physically challenged, or the underprivileged children,” he said. “I will work hard with other state leaders to find solutions to lower high prescription drug costs.”

Making funding available for police and fire departments is one thing Weast strives for.

“The needs of law enforcement agencies and local fire departments must continue to be served,” Weast said. “We must continue to focus on funding the different grant programs that help these departments succeed,” Weast said. “I hope I can introduce a bill titled RESP (Rural Emergency Services Plan), which would provide grant funds for rural fire departments, police departments, and ambulance services that are necessary for these departments’ survival.

“These men and women risk their lives daily for us, so leaders must continue to provide them the monetary needs so that they can continue to do their jobs.”

While Weast favors some tax cuts, he fears huge tax cuts that may loom ahead would be detrimental in the future.

“I am concerned only the wealthiest Oklahomans are benefiting from these proposed cuts while every Oklahoman will feel the impact of reduced services throughout our state,” Weast noted. “I fear that that senior health care and centers, Oklahoma schools and teachers, and roads are just a few examples that could face tremendous setbacks. Our economy is thriving now, but these cuts would be devastating when the next economic decline occurs.”

If elected, Weast wants to form a committee of individuals and leaders of all communities he represents to meet at least twice a year, before session begins and after it ends.

“I believe it is important to be a hands-on leader who listens and works to help the people I represent,” he said. “This committee would allow the local people of different communities to broaden my knowledge on important issues that may affect them and would allow brainstorming of ideas and solutions.”

Weast added, “I believe a representative should reach out to their constituents rather than depending on the people to reach him.”

While serving as Mayor of Chelsea, Weast also serves as Chairman of the Chelsea Economic Development Authority. In 2005, Weast was acknowledged as a “Who’s Who’s Among Business Leaders” for his work as Chairman of the Chelsea Economic Development Authority. Weast also serves as a member on the Grand Gateway Economic Development Association Board of Directors, member of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce board and Chelsea Medical Authority, and is the Vice-Chairman of the Chelsea Industrial Committee.

Weast, a self-employed food sales representative for the past five years, is married to Megan and has one son, Zach. He is a Chelsea native and a graduate of Chelsea High School. Weast is also pursuing a degree in History with a minor in Political Science at Rogers State University.

Kenny can be reached by cell (519-5326) or home (789-3999) phone. His Web site is www.weastforstaterep.com , and his e-mail address is kennyweast@sbcglobal.net.

“I encourage anyone and everyone to contact me if they wish to discuss an issue, help with the campaign, or just to get to know me. I am always available for the people of northeastern Oklahoma and would sincerely appreciate everyone’s support on July 25th.”