By Jeff Harrison
The Republican primary for State House District 94 will feature a pair of political newcomers.
Franklin Paul Cromack, 35, an IT professional, and Lauren Rodebush, 31, a physical therapist assistant, are making their first run at political office as they square off for the party nomination on June 30.
The district is currently represented by Andy Fugate. The Oklahoma City Democrat was elected in 2018 replacing Scott Inman who did not run due to term limits.
Cromack and Rodebush are both adjusting to campaigning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of the door knocking I had planned on had been scrapped and an online outreach program was my reaction to being limited in social interactions,” Cromack said. “I have been posting to my personal Facebook pages daily and staying as in touch with the community as I can be.”
Rodebush has also focused her efforts online. She remains optimistic that an increase in online communication could have positive impacts.
“Perhaps more concern and involvement will arise from those previously inactive due to the increased ease of exchanging ideas, understanding multiple points of view and respectful opposition,” she said.
Franklin Paul Cromack
Cromack said he is running to bring Oklahoma’s moral and fiscal situation back into line with conservative values. He said he will seek to end abortion in Oklahoma, protect and defend constitutional rights, and fix education, medical and financial issues in the state.
“As an Oklahoman now for the past 20 plus years, I have grown and worked and lived with my fellow neighbors and have seen how strong Oklahoma can be and how resilient we are to tragedy and how ready we are to help anybody in need,” he said. “I wish to represent my district to be a leader and voice for my constituents in seeking actual change in our government leading to lower budgets and taxes, better education opportunities and a thriving economy for our district and state.”
Cromack comes from a multigenerational military family and has lived in Del City for more than 20 years. He moved to the community when his father was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base.
His father served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force including during Operation Desert Storm. His grandfathers served in the Vietnam War. Two siblings, a brother-in-law and nephew also served in the military.
He works as an IT professional contractor/consultant. He is single.
Rodebush said when she was first approached about the opportunity to run for the State House 94, she dismissed it. She soon changed her mind.
“After serious thought, I realized this could be reality and I could actually make a difference for this community that I love,” Rodebush said. “Right now, my district’s voice is being silenced. It is time to flip the seat and give my community an opportunity to be acknowledged, understood, and to present the needs of the constituents.”
Rodebush said her top priority would be improving the healthcare system for Oklahomans. She said many underlying issues were amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The already broken system has been struggling prior to COVID-19; however, due to its intensity it is proving more challenging to feign success,” Rodebush said. “Valuing profits and status over people and compassion does not suggest strength in its foundation. The healthcare system needs an overhaul: patients need better care and employees need more support accompanied by laws to protect themselves from unethical forced pay reductions despite unreasonable expectations for higher performance.”
She promises to bring compassion to the State capitol.
“I promise to weigh all sides of an argument before making decisions that have the potential to negatively impact one group while benefiting another,” she said.
Rodebush moved to Del City in 2017, but her family has deep roots in the community. Her husband Jonathan’s great grandparents Norman and Betty Sanders moved there in 1953.
Lauren and Johnathan have two children and they will celebrate 11 years of marriage next month. Lauren graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s in health and exercise science, and from OCCC with professional degree as a physical therapist assistant. Johnathan earned an MBA from SNU and operates a small business.
Lauren works as a physical therapist assistant specializing in geriatric rehabilitation.