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June 1, 2014

Hooten hopes to hit right notes

DUNCAN — You might want to pay special attention to the June 24 Oklahoma primary for the open Senate seat in District 40 of the Oklahoma state legislature.

  You probably aren’t a qualified voter in that race, but there is a distinct Duncan flavor to the competitive battle.

  David B. Hooten, who has played his magnificent trumpet for Pope John Paul II at the Vatican, for Queen Elizabeth’s 60th birthday, at the memorial service for victims of the Murrah Building bombing, for Presidents Reagan and Bush in the White House, for symphonies and philharmonics throughout the world and for national anthems at the Olympics, in old Yankee Stadium, for the Sooners, the Dallas Cowboys and the Thunder wants to, these days, make a different kind of music.

  He is one of six Republican candidates for the District 40 seat being vacated by state Sen. Cliff Branan, term-limited after 12 years in office and now a “new” candidate himself for the empty Corporate Commission seat.

  It is the most crowded race on this year’s statewide election ballot, full of men all with records of previous leadership successes and a similar interest in representing what is likely the state’s most affluent district with notable addresses like Nichols Hills, Bethany, Warr Acres, The Village and northwest Oklahoma City.

  Hooten, his wife Whitney – who said yes to his marriage proposal in the China Room of the White House – and their three children have been Nichols Hills residents for years.

  Though it is his first political race, he is confident he can make a positive difference, giving back to the state that has meant much to him. He thinks he will be a leader who can attract followers.

  He was born to Air Force parents in Frascati, Italy but grew up mostly in Duncan where his dad worked at The Banner and his mom operated Mama Lucia’s popular Italian restaurant.

  He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from North Texas State University, then added a masters in trumpet performance from the University of Oklahoma.

  But the start of what has become an incredible career began in Duncan with lessons from the devoted but demanding Merle Brandon, who never took a dime for the instruction.

  Hooten later studied under the legendary Don “Jake” Jacoby and cut his first album in 1989. Twenty more albums have followed and his hit single, Amazing Grace, performed here in a recent concert and again at a Duncan Chamber of Commerce function, continues to evoke chill bumps at every performance.

  He believes a lifetime of experiences, exposure through world travel to different methods of significant accomplishments, his small business background of running his family’s restaurant for 15 years, marketing David’s Meat Sauce nationwide, teaching music and his executive director’s role for the non-profit CARE Center -- Child Abuse Response and Evaluation Inc. – provide him the sensitivity necessary for dealing with Oklahoma issues.

  “Oklahoma,” he told Duncan friends recently, “isn’t broken, but it lacks leadership and statesmanship. “

  He wants leaders to “do the right thing for the right reasons” and believes the state can become a model that can literally change American values and the now troubled direction of the United States.

  It is the focus of his campaign message.

  Get the basics right, he said, then get out of the way.  Get the right return for taxpayers and stop wasting money. Get on the right side of business. Help, don’t hurt. And protect our Oklahoma values; they’re right for our families and our community.

  Hooten believes many agree. That’s why, with three hard weeks of campaigning left, he remains optimistic.

  Winning outright in a six-person primary is a longshot.

  Opponents Joe Howell, a veterinarian; the Rev. Steve Kern, husband of Oklahoma legislator Sally Kern;  Michael Taylor, a county government worker;  Brian Winslow, a Real Estate broker and property manager; and Ervin Yen, an anesthesiologist, all have support.

  So making the August 26 runoff is his immediate goal.

  And a win there would send him into the Nov. 4 general election as a seasoned campaigner, the Republican nominee and the favorite against Democrat John Hardy Edwards, who has had no opposition.

  He thinks it’s possible.

  He thinks a good guy can win and make a difference.

  And though Duncan friends can’t vote, many are backing a hometown boy with the hope he’ll make good, again.

                                                                                                                                                   edarling@duncanbanner.com                                                                                                                                         (580) 255-5354, Ext. 130

 

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