Why Mark is Running as an Independent

Mark is running for Congress as an Independent to allow our shared Oklahoma values to break through the current dysfunction of our two-party system. He’s sick and tired of watching a polarized Congress getting nothing productive done as economic disparities mount and our culture erodes.

If you’re like most Americans, you likely agree that independent voices will improve our political climate. Recent polling by the Bullfinch Group reveals that fully half of Americans think the Nation would be “better off if some congressional districts elected independent candidates not aligned with either the Republican or Democratic parties.”

Historically, political independence has been “in the water” here in the Sooner State. Since Statehood and before, Oklahomans, including Mark’s ancestors, consistently charted an independent path through the cultural, economic and political issues of their day. Yet in recent decades, we’ve allowed ourselves to get sucked into partisan tribalism, and have been voting more for party than person. In doing so we’ve been complicit in handing the reins of our economy and culture over to a “uni-party” elite of Republicans and Democrats whose allegiances are ultimately to global capital rather than American industry and community.

There are distinct advantages to being an Independent. When a Congressperson is a true Independent, and refuses to swear allegiance to a political party, they become a valuable and highly sought-after “wild card” in a closely divided House of Representatives. Because an Independent’s vote is less susceptible to being “whipped” by party leadership, the Representative is potentially in a position to leverage wins for their District that could never be leveraged by a party loyalist.

If you hadn’t noticed, our Nation is as fractured and polarized as it has been since the Civil War. And that chasm has opened largely along partisan political lines. If we are to survive as a civil society, we have to begin to search fervently for ways to span that divide so that an enduring healing can occur. We need courageous individuals to shun party labels, and spend their time, energy and political capital looking for ways to build bridges rather than digging deeper trenches. Mark is a natural and effective “bridge builder”; it’s something he’s been doing consistently over nearly 40 years of legal practice, community activism, and church governance. He looks forward to bringing that same courage and skill set to Congress.