OKFB, OCA and AFR Unite to Endorse Senator Darcy Jech for Re-Election of District 26Tue, 02 Aug 2022 05:15:07 CDT
It was a historical day Monday as three of Oklahoma's major farming and ranching groups gathered at Lucille's roadhouse in Weatherford, Oklahoma, to endorse Senator Darcy Jech for District 26.
Jech currently represents Beckham, Blaine, Caddo, Custer, Kingfisher and Roger Mills counties and was initially elected in November 2014. A Southeastern Oklahoma State University graduate, he is now a businessman and owns an independent insurance agency in his hometown of Kingfisher. He won re-election in 2018 without opposition for a new term, to end in 2022, and now faces a runoff election on August 23 against Weatherford native Brady Butler.
District 26 has been redrawn and no longer includes Roger Mills and Beckham Counties- but does include all of Kingfisher, Blaine, Custer and Caddo Counties- plus the more rural parts of western Canadian County. The newly drawn district is the one up for grabs in the 2022 elections.
Representatives from American Farmers and Ranchers (AFR), Oklahoma Farm Bureau (OKFB), and the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association (OCA) threw their support behind Jech.
OCA's Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey said, "We are pleased to support Darcy for Re-election. In the dictionary under 'Statesmen" is a picture of Darcy Jech. He listens to both sides on the issues, and he's a better Senator because of that. He does good work, solid work, and work that is beneficial, and we need him in this role."
AFR President Scott Blubaugh echoed those sentiments saying, "I've known Darcy a long time. He's a man of integrity and honesty. But, most importantly, Darcy listens. He hears both sides of an issue before making a decision. This is incredibly important to truly represent a district. Darcy's constituents can be assured that he is listening and that the people of District 26 are heard."
Former Senator and Pro-Tem Mike Schultz represented Oklahoma Farm Bureau: "I served with Darcy, and there's not a better member in the Senate. He's level-headed and puts a lot of thought into every decision he makes. Western Oklahoma could not ask for a better member in the Senate who does things for the right reasons. He knows how to carry the ball and get things done, and we need to keep him there."
Farm Director KC Sheperd was on hand for the event and caught up with Jech afterward, who said he's hugely grateful for this endorsement, "It means the world. I've worked with these groups since I've been in the Senate for eight years, so they are my people. I grew up on a farm, and my district, for the most part, is Ag and farms, so it's a good fit."
Jech has been the rural caucus chair in the Senate for the past six years and says he enjoys communicating with these groups and other farm organizations, "It just means the world, and I'm very honored to have their endorsement."
All three ag groups mentioned that Jech listens to both sides, and He said that's just what he's been taught, "I think there are always two sides to an issue. We get a lot of calls and emails from time to time, and I appreciate hearing those, but I do want to hear what the other side of the story is, whether it's coming from a lobbyist or a constituent. I'm very concerned with their concerns and want to get to the bottom of it, but sometimes it helps me do my job if I know the perspective they are coming from and what's on the other side of the issue. So I think it helps me gain a better understanding of the issue and helps me know where to go from there."
Jech said he's learned from knocking on doors and talking to folks that inflation is the topic that's on everyone's mind, "What we've seen with fertilizer costs, not only for costs but availability for repairs, is a real challenge." In addition, Jech said the drought is concerning, "We haven't had a drought like this in a long time, so it just adds to the challenge."
The Runoff election is coming on August 23, and Jech asks everyone to go out and vote. He says one of the things he learned when he went into the Senate was how little he knew, but Jech says over eight years, he has learned some things, "Some leadership positions have come my way, some committee chairs and some other positions that helped me do my job better. They helped me represent my district better.
Jech says the fact that he's the rural caucus chair and chairman of some committees has also helped, "Those are positions that I didn't seek, but they found me, but I welcome those leadership positions, and I think the fact that I'm in those positions, really helps me do my better." He said his relationships with these Ag groups, colleagues, and agencies have also allowed him to form great relationships, "Whether it's Blayne Arthur with the department of ag, different agencies, or my constituents, when someone calls me with an issue no matter the agency, at this point, I've probably got a relationship with the person that can help me with that issue. Jech said having those relationships helps him do his job, "I think I'm better because of those relationships going forward. I think that's an asset for me and the constituents in District 26."
Click or tap below to hear KC talk with Jech about his thoughts on the upcoming farm bill, Redistricting, finding skilled workers, and more.
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