Republican candidates for Okla. open U.S. Senate seat gather on SOSU campus debate

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DURANT, OK -- Wednesday, Republican candidates for Oklahoma's open U.S. Senate seat took part in a forum on the SOSU campus.

Five of the seven republican candidates attended Wednesday's forum, hitting on hot topics like education, government spending, and veteran treatment.

The Oklahoma GOP is hosting a series of debates across Oklahoma for the candidates running for Oklahoma's open U.S. Senate seat.

Five of the seven republicans running attended Wednesday's debate in Durant on the Southeastern Oklahoma State University and dozens of people showed up to hear what they had to say.

The issue on most everyone's mind, the VA scandal, and veteran's medical care.

"They are veterans and they need to be honored as so, said current U.S. Representative, James Lankford. "So straightforward ways we can handle this: number one is they have access to private care and if they choose to go to a VA center then they can go there. Some prefer it. They like their doctors, they like their nurses, and they like that everyone around them is a veteran."

"We should view taking care of our veterans as military defense spending," said businessman, Eric McCray. "When we consider how much it costs to take care of them for the rest of their lives maybe we would approach the way we do war and do war differently."

"Certainly we need to our honor the commitments we made to these veterans and make sure they get the proper care," said former state senator, Randy Brogdon. "I wholeheartedly support the idea of letting the veterans select their own healthcare."

"We need to address the leadership as well," said veteran and businessman, Andy Craig. "We've already done that to an extent but we need to look at the existing leadership as well and more of the subordinate leadership. Everything as far as leadership is concerned is what is going to drive policy and give veterans access to the healthcare they need and deserve."

"If we have another crisis like this that develops, we don't just stand on somebody's side while they play months and months of cover up we need to handle it immediately," said college professor, Kevin Crow. "Second thing is if some of this activity is criminal, then that should be pursued."

Oklahoma House Speaker, T.W. Shannon, and candidate, Jason Weger, were not in attendance tonight.

The candidates are looking to fill Republican U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's seat, who will be resigning at the end of this year.

They will serve the rest of Coburn's two year term.

The next forum will be Friday in Lawton.

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