Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
LDS Lawyer In Oklahoma Running For State Legislature
Excite News (Daily Universe) 13Apr00 P2
By Elizabeth Arrowsmith: The Daily Universe
PROVO, UTAH -- Thad Balkman, former Brigham Young University
political science graduate, will run for the Oklahoma State House of
Representatives in the November, 2000 election. He will oppose
Democrat Wallace Collins, who holds the current House seat. Balkman,
originally from Long Beach, Calif., is a Republican who will run on a
tax reform platform with goals to create a business friendly
environment and raise public education to a higher level.
After graduating from BYU in 1994, Balkman and his wife, Amy moved to
Norman, Oklahoma to pursue a law degree from the University of Oklahoma.
They have two children, Adeline and Jackson. Balkman credits his desire to
pursue a political career to the professors at BYU. "BYU was where I got my
formal training in politics in the academic sense," said Balkman. "The
professors at BYU incorporated the role that morals and God play in our
government and society." This is something that Balkman sees as a solid
basis for his professional career.
Balkman was the class president at the University of Oklahoma Law School
in Norman. November's election will mark the first time Balkman will run
for public office. Balkman, 28, currently works at the Stanley Ward Law
Offices in Norman, a small private practice where he has practiced civil law
since September of 1998.
Jon Mott, instructional designer and adjunct political science professor
at BYU, is a political advisor to Balkman and has developed his campaign Web
site. "As a BYU graduate and member of the church, he's gone out to an area
of the country that is not predominately LDS and has been able to establish
himself in the community," Mott said.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Balkman is
one of a few active politicians in the "Bible-belt" area of the United
States. "People in Oklahoma are very religious, I've been asked a lot -
are you active in your church? And I tell them, yes and that I attend the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," he said. Balkman serves as
the Elder's Quorum president in his ward. "I think that LDS people should
be encouraged to go out and vote, to get well read on what the issues are,
to take the time to study what you're voting for," Balkman said.
Balkman has a grass-roots approach to campaigning. Twice a week he knocks
on doors to introduce himself to voters and allow them to become familiar
with his platform. He has been warned that his religion could be a
disadvantage to his campaign. "I've had a few people tell me that it's
going to be a detriment. In Oklahoma we have a congressman who is LDS -
Ernest Istook. People know him and know what his religion is. I think it's
going to be helpful," Balkman said.
"Part of the duty of Latter-day Saints is to make sure their morals are
represented in government," Balkman said. "I think that politicians should
have to live under the laws they pass. If you're a politician all your life
you never know what it's like to own a business and live those laws," he
Balkman's campaign Web site can be accessed at http://www.balkman.net.
He also has a monthly cable show, in preparation for the August primaries.