As presented in last week’s newsletter where we highlighted the state and national endorsed EDW candidates, this week, we are highlighting our County endorsed candidates, Vicki Behenna for OK County DA, Cathy Cummings for OK County Commissioner D3, Nick Singer for OK County Assessor, and Brandon Kirkpatrick for OK County Treasurer.
EDW Endorses Vicki Behenna for Oklahoma County District Attorney
Edmond Democratic Women announces endorsement for Vicki Behenna, a Democratic candidate for Oklahoma County District Attorney. Vicki shares the values of the Edmond Democratic Women and we believe she is uniquely qualified to represent all Oklahomans. For more information about Vicki or to volunteer to help with her campaign efforts, please visit her website
With over 30 years of legal experience, Oklahoma County District Attorney candidate Vicki Behenna has witnessed the virtues – and shortcomings – of our criminal justice system.
“I’m running to bring balance, justice and leadership to the position,” said Behenna. “I’ve never run for office before, and I’m certainly not a politician. I did serve as a prosecutor for over 25 years in the U.S. Attorney office, and have spent the last eight years on the other side of the courtroom as a defense attorney. I’ve seen justice occur when all sides come together to make sure punishment fits the crime, and I’ve also seen injustice served when human beings make mistakes and those mistakes are not considered for political or personal reasons. My fight is for justice for all involved and society as a whole.”
As a federal prosecutor, Behenna was involved in several high profile cases – including the successful prosecution of Timothy McVeigh, who initiated the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.
“My work on the Murrah Building attack was to find justice for 168 innocent lives lost,” said Behenna. “That was also my first real experience in the use of the vast resources of the FBI’s forensic lab to facilitate a criminal investigation.It was an honor to work closely with both federal and local law enforcement to investigate and apprehend the persons responsible for that horrific act.”
Behenna’s work in the U.S. Attorney’s office also involved the investigation and prosecution of multiple high profile elected officials involved in fraud and corruption, both Democratic and Republican.
Following her outstanding work as a prosecutor, Behenna changed her career path in 2014 to become a defense attorney.
“In 2009 I had a personal experience with a close family member wherein forensic evidence that could have been used to exonerate the accused was instead hidden in an attempt to secure his conviction. It was that experience that led to my retirement as a federal prosecutor, and desire to work with the Oklahoma Innocence Project.”
In 2015 she was named Executive Director of the Oklahoma Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to identifying and remedying cases of wrongful convictions in Oklahoma. Bringing together OCU Law students to work with attorneys and the legal director, OKIP pursues only cases in which there is credible evidence of actual innocence. She resigned from the organization in 2022 to devote her time to her campaign.
"I think people don't really understand how valuable our liberty is until you watch somebody have their liberty taken away," said Behenna. "My work at the Innocence Project was the hardest, most challenging legal work I have ever done.
“I don’t come from a wealthy family. I was the second person in my family ever to go to college, first person ever to go to law school. I emphasize that when I talk to members of the community because I want them to understand that you can do anything. You can make a change.”
In addition to legal research and court activity, Vicki’s work with the Innocence Project has led her to testify before the U.S. Congress and advocate for recent legislation at the State Capitol on best practices regarding forensic science, interrogations and the misidentification of innocent people. Two pieces of bipartisan legislation championed by Behenna and allies were recently signed into state law by Governor Kevin Stitt.
Vicki and her husband Scott, a retired OSBI agent and FBI terrorism analyst, have been married for over 43 years. They have lived in Oklahoma County for 41 years and are the proud parents of 3 sons: a doctor, a lawyer and a rancher.
This information was taken from Vicki’s website.
EDW Endorses Cathy Cummings for County Commissioner District 3
Edmond Democratic Women announces endorsement for Cathy Cummings a Democratic candidate for County Commissioner District 3. Cathy shares the values of the Edmond Democratic Women and we believe she is uniquely qualified to represent all Oklahomans. For more information about Cathy or to volunteer to help with her campaign efforts, please visit her website.
Cathy Cummings has been married to her husband Sean Cummings over 20 years. They have raised 5 children together. Cathy Cummings has led an exciting life. Not only for being a wife and Mother. She is also a celebrity restaurant owner here in Oklahoma. Vito’s Ristorante has been a successful restaurant for 18 years. What you don’t hear much about Cathy Cummings is her devotion to Community and Public service. Every year, Cathy serves up to 6,000 people at the Red Andrews Christmas dinner. She started a Pine Pantry at Andrew Johnson Early Childhood Development Center. And makes sure it is always fully stocked for anyone in need. She collects and distributes trunk loads of school supplies to all of the schools in and around The Village. She helped distribute several tons of food and 1000’s of masks during Covid.
Her political life has also been pretty exciting.
Cathy Cummings, also known as “The Mayor” to her Village residents and friends, has served on the Village City Council since 2016. She has also served as Vice Mayor and Mayor.
Cathy knows that she can take her experience from the City level, to The County level. And save taxpayers money while doing a high-quality job with honesty and integrity.
Making life better for the folks that live in The Village has always been her top priority.
- Re-building all 7 Parks
- Re-building Britton Road
- Re-paving miles of roads
- Building miles of new sidewalks
- Large-scale Drainage projects
- Promoting new businesses
- Starting a Farmer’s Market
- Hosting family friendly events: Yoga in The Park, Easter Egg Hunts, Movies in the Park, Festivals, Bike rides,
- Starting The Pine Pantry
- Hosting Blood Drives
This information was taken from Cathy’s website.
EDW Endorses Nick Singer for Oklahoma County Accessor
Edmond Democratic Women announces endorsement for Nick Singer, a democratic candidate for Oklahoma County Assessor. Nick shares the values of the Edmond Democratic Women and we believe he is uniquely qualified to represent Oklahoma County. For more information about Nick or to volunteer to help with his campaign efforts, please visit his website.
Nick is a real estate professional, a developer, economist and strategic leader focused on changing the status quo and what is possible. Nick grew up living up and down the east coast. As the son of a navy veteran, Nick learned firsthand the sacrifice that goes into service.
After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Math and Economics, Nick moved to Oklahoma to begin his career in live event production. Nick has produced some of the largest events in Oklahoma history. The Oklahoma Centennial Kick-off in Guthrie, broadcasting Devon Energy’s worldwide town hall meetings, Sonic Drive-In’s only Oklahoma-based franchisee meeting, the NBA Finals Media Conferences and President Obama’s signature energy policy speech in Cushing, OK are among the many events he has provided consultation, technology design and logistics, and the live event production.
During this time, Nick got involved in the community. Board work and community commitments included Leadership Oklahoma City, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and First Unitarian Church. Nick started his family in Oklahoma and has two children in Oklahoma public schools.
After that career, Nick moved into politics. Starting as a campaign volunteer and becoming a grassroots candidate himself, Nick over performed on limited resources in challenging political environments. Building volunteer, data-driven campaigns and knocking thousands of doors, he found talking directly with voters is a clear recipe for changing the discourse and popularizing ideas.
Nick’s greatest strength is his ability to navigate the worlds of the insider and the outsider. As a lobbyist, he has worked directly with a variety of policymakers, legislators and interests to craft public policy. As an activist, he has researched, read and worked in spaces driving conversations from the outside to the mainstream. As a candidate and campaign worker, he has talked directly with and made the case to thousands of voters on their doorstep across many issues.
As a community leader, Nick understands the pressures facing families and can meet people where they are at after hundreds of conversations individually and in groups across the state. His friends and family have faced the challenges many of us experience in Oklahoma and he is ready to meet the challenge. Nick wants to get
back to an effective, transparent government that works for every Oklahoman, not just the wealthy and powerful.
Community - Fixing the Oklahoma County Jail
Oklahoma County is a diverse and growing community with an attractive mix of urban and rural communities. Many of us are pleased with the progress over the last few decades but we also fall short in glaring ways.
With the OK County Jail, we have to stop sending good money after bad outcomes. The OK County Jail is the County’s biggest asset and it has been a disaster for 30 years. Overcrowded, understaffed and poorly built, politicians and civic leaders have kicked the can down the road for years. We have to fix it.
We need a new jail building but we also need to invest in separate diversion, treatment and support facilities for people who struggle, not more incarceration.
Equity - Equitable Assessment, Transparency, and Accountability
As someone who is fiscally responsible, voters need a watchdog to know where their tax dollars are going. While the Assessor’s website is considered accessible, it is trapped in the early 2000’s for design and user friendliness.
I pledge to use the assessor's office to let taxpayers know where their dollars are going. Property assessment fills a lot of buckets and taxpayers deserve to know where their tax money is going and if it is to the uses they want to see.
There is also a tale of two taxpayers playing out in our community. Taxpayers in downtown OKC get to focus their property taxes on projects in their area while the rest of us support the common good. My opponent used to talk about this but has grown quiet on matters like Tax Increment Financing and other ways we could address the jail situation other than committing years of property tax bonds to it.
As County Assessor, I will make assessments more equitable. If you have concerns about your assessment, we need to make it possible for everyone to question it, not just those with resources.
Investment - Invest in ourselves and County Social Programs
The Assessor’s office is ground zero for property valuation and seeing trends before anyone else. While Oklahoma County has grown dramatically and diversely, our housing stock, social services, and other programs have not. A recent housing study done by Oklahoma City shows we are lacking in quantity and quality of affordable housing. The Assessor should be a leading voice in development trends and shine a light on challenges in our community. We need an Assessor that is making it easier to address urgent needs, not sitting on their hands waiting for someone to come to them.
The Assessor sits at the table on many real estate and development discussions. We need an assessor that is looking out for the value of all properties.
The Assessor can use data and facts to see where our community needs investment, make recommendations around where money is currently going to where it should be going and weigh-in appropriately.
This information was taken from Nick’s website.
EDW Endorses Brandon Kirkpatrick for OK County Treasurer
Edmond Democratic Women announces endorsement for Brandon Kirkpatrick a Democratic candidate for Oklahoma County Treasurer. Brandon shares the values of the Edmond Democratic Women and we believe he is uniquely qualified to represent all Oklahomans. For more information about Brandon or to volunteer to help with his campaign efforts, please visit his website.
I am a husband, father, local business person, and social advocate. I grew up in Oklahoma City and Edmond, where I graduated from Edmond North High School. While in High School, I was fortunate to attend and graduate from our local vocational program, an educational experience that has blessed my life and laid the foundation for my future success.
At 16, I met my wife and best friend, Stephenie. We knew early that our life would be perfect as long as we had the other, and we recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. In 2004, just days after having our first daughter, we moved to Bethany, where we live today, and have three amazing children. Our kids attend Bethany Public Schools, where my wife works as the assistant librarian for elementary and middle schools. We attend Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene and love how they have challenged us to live our lives actively, loving our neighbors.
I have dedicated my professional life to supporting local businesses, especially manufacturing in Oklahoma and the surrounding states. This experience has taught me how to work with diverse groups of people for common goals. My business success has been because of my focus on surrounding myself with others motivated to bring the needed changes for the business and themselves. I have found that success requires exploring all possible outcomes with the people best informed on the problem and desired outcome, the worker.
In 2019, I saw a documentary by Viola Davis called "The Last Defense," which featured Julius Jones, a victim of the racial injustices built into the American justice system. He was incarcerated for murder at just 19 years old, despite compelling evidence that he was wrongfully convicted. I was inspired by Julius's story and started working for the Justice for Julius coalition. Last November, I helped lead the nationwide movement that saved his life and will continue this fight until Julius is home where he belongs.
I am running for Oklahoma County Treasurer because I believe our city needs someone willing to speak up for our community. Someone that has made their career helping our state's businesses and residents evolve and grow. Someone that knows what it takes to speak up for our most vulnerable and has the fortitude to stand firm until our communities goals have been achieved. Someone that is only beholden to the people of Oklahoma County, not the political party or the people in power.
If elected, I will be a vote on the County's nine-person budget board, and my vote will be the people's vote! I will vote to fund projects that benefit our community. I will bring the people in the community impacted by decisions made to the table so that every voice can be heard and all can understand the impact of our political choices.
I want to be your next Oklahoma County Treasurer. I want to change the trajectory of our state. I want to help better fund education at all levels in all communities in Oklahoma County. I want to fund diversion programs that would allow the mentally ill and those suffering from drug addiction to get the help needed to be functioning members of our community instead of punishing them. I want to be Oklahoma County Treasurer because I believe in our community, and I believe change starts with each of us getting involved.
Accountability: Collecting Taxes and identifying ways to raise revenue while ensuring that our county agencies and tax dollars are properly accounted for.
I have spent the last 17 years working with our state's most prominent companies and many local businesses, helping them reach their budget goals while adding revenue to their bottom line. I have managed multi-million dollar budgets and understand how to run a business successfully. My career has prepared me to be Oklahoma County Treasurer. It has taught me how to manage a budget and support projects that add revenue to fund growth and further capital. If elected as Treasurer, I will bring this same tenacity for success for Oklahoma County. I will work to fund programs and projects needed in our community. Programs that will bring in jobs and help to develop and restore neighborhoods critical to Oklahoma County's future.
Transparency: Ensuring that the taxpayers of Oklahoma County know where and how their tax dollars are being spent and creating equitable and accessible ways to have questions and concerns addressed.
Most people do not understand what the Oklahoma County Treasurer does, and to me that is a lack of transparency. In 2020, the County Commissioners, jail trust, and budget board attempted to misappropriate 40 million dollars into the county jail. Community members fought back to ensure that CAREs act funds go back to the people in the form of rental and utility assistance and small-business and non-profit relief grants. This is the perfect example of the lack of accountability and transparency and shows the need for responsible spending in Oklahoma County.
Responsible Spending: Ensuring with my vote on the budget board, that county dollars are only spent in the most equitable and beneficial ways for constituents. Citizen-led spending is key to an inclusive budget. Hosting meetings and working with the communities that are impacted the most can deliver success.
This information was taken from Brandon’s website.