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February 1, 2012

Fletcher woman seeks Cole’s seat

DUNCAN — Few people have heard of Donna Bebo, but over the next few weeks, she hopes to make herself a household name for voters in the Fourth Congressional District.

Bebo is a Democratic candidate, with hopes of taking Republican Tom Cole’s seat away from him in the Fourth District U.S. House.

She chose the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton for announcing her candidacy on Monday. Bebo said she participated in a rally last summer in front of Cole’s office in Lawton, and fellow ralliers encouraged her to run for office.

“I became more and more involved. I kept hearing from other progressives that what we need is someone is not another politician. They said I’d be perfect and we needed someone who cares,” Bebo said.

An only child, Bebo was born in Iowa and graduated in 1995 from Central Alternative school in Dubuque. During her youth, she said she always spent most of her time around adults.

“Our family was always politically aware. At dinnertime, that was always our topic of conversation, what the next bill was or who was in office. There’s a big sense in my family of not waiting for others to fix something when it’s wrong, but stand up and try to make it right,” she said.

She started to college, but eventually left that path and at some point, became a single mother. While in college though, she always found psychology and social studies her course of interest. Her dreams included either becoming a teacher, or working with troubled teenagers.

Being a single mom of one child though, meant taking on some less than pleasant jobs.

“Whatever it took to pay the bills.”

Waitressing, bartending, and even working on construction sites doing utility locating work, she said. She experienced two marriages before meeting her current husband, Jason, in Washington state, who was in the military. Since then, she’s had the enjoyment of being a full-time mother, she said.

A transfer to Fort Sill brought the Bebos to Oklahoma in 2008 and they bought a home in Fletcher.

They have four daughters, Marissa, 16, Riley, 10, Keira, 4, and Marlena, 2.

Jason is now retired from the military and is a Corrections officer in Lawton.

She said her family is her biggest group of supporters and they also have a great interest in politics.

“Our 10 year-old daughter, she’s very interested in politics. She’s convinced she’s going to grow up and save the world.”

Even though she hasn’t met Cole, Bebo is convinced he isn’t listening or caring enough about his constituents or non-voters of Oklahoma. One of her biggest concerns is environmental issues.

“We have a cement factory in Ada, and I wouldn’t want my children living next to a factory that could be pumping poison into the air and not being regulated,” she said. Bebo wants to see that safe working conditions become standard in all workplaces.

“If workers are being injured, it’s our duty to find out why and work to keep them safe.”

Bebo admits she’s stepping into unknown territory, but isn’t intimidated. She also said she’s willing to compromise to get the end results needed.

“I’m excited. Obviously this is new territory, as long as I hold true to myself, at the end of the day I know I have the support and love of my family,” she said. “As long as I am doing what I believe is right, I have the strength to push ahead. I’m a fair minded person. The end result is what matters.”

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