OK House District: HD 66
Party Affiliation: Democrat
James Rankin is running for Representative for District 66.
What is the role of government in protecting public health and welfare?
I am not sure how you are proposing this question. Since I am a public health official, I do think that government has to provide the framework by which public health emergencies are handled and coordinate with local officials. If you are speaking about public health and welfare in general, government has to be the enforcing agent of the many policies of this country. We are a nation of many different people and faiths but we are all Americans. It would be the government’s obligation to see that all are respected and tolerated. Taking faith for example, I am a Christian and I hold to my beliefs very strongly but I can exist with those that are of different views and religions. It is not for me to try and force someone to believe like I do, nor did Jesus do that. He simply stated the truth and let each person make their own decisions. It comes down to respecting one another. I generally eat about three times a week at a local café which is owned by a man of the Muslim faith. I respect him for the person he is and he respects me for the person I am and that is how it should be.
What are your views on individuals being able to safely and securely access sensitive medical procedures in privacy and without interference from the state?
Again, I am not sure how you are proposing this question or if it is in reference to something specific. As far as I know medical procedures are private and should remain that way without the interference of the state. If you are speaking to the issue of abortion, I am pro-God, and God is life. Although abortion is a medical procedure, it is a procedure to end life, and to me that is something totally different. However, I do support an abortion option in the cases of molestation and rape and also if the potential mother’s health is severely compromised.
What measures will you take to ensure that every Oklahoman has the chance to participate meaningfully in the democratic process?
I would not support any measures that would seek to limit a group of voters or to inhibit voter turnout. After all, that is a pillar of this nation, that all the rightful people have a voice. I support anyone being able to vote that is of age, a citizen, of a sound mind, and is not a felon regardless of their political party affiliation, their skin color, their religion, or their financial standing.
How can we make voting more accessible to Oklahomans?
From what I can see and read, voting in Oklahoma has not had the issues that some southern states have had. But, if it is a large turnout, the polls should stay open for all who were in line when the polls would normally close. We also have absentee voting and early voting for those that do not wish to wait in line.
Many Oklahomans experience discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and other factors; how would you address these problems as an elected leader?
I think I have covered the answers for this question in the answers to the previous questions. I do not support discrimination period. I would have to vote no on any legislation that authorized discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion.
What measures will you take to ensure that First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, speech, protest, and press are protected from infringement?
I certainly want to be free to participate in my religion so I am not going to go and try to stop another. Out airwaves are full of hate speech, it is everywhere and since there is freedom of speech people feel like they can say anything they want. They shouldn’t feel that way because words hurt. If I am a true Christian then I am not out running my mouth degrading someone else. I would like to think that is true for those who are truly of the Muslim faith. Protest is fine. Civil protest is another of our cherished freedoms. But protest that goes out and damages or destroys others property is not protest but crime and must not be allowed. Press is much like speech, and there should not be hate in it
How can our current criminal legal system be reformed to better protect the rights of all persons involved?
I think DNA testing should be mandatory for all serious crimes. While it will not guarantee that the state gets it right, it will be a big step in the right direction. I think that sometimes cases are allowed to be dragged out over a long period of time diminishing the justice that should be afforded to the victim or their families.
What steps would you take to adjust or reform our criminal legal system?
For one thing, we can’t just slap people on the hand for serious crimes and tell them not to do it again. I have heard the saying “You do the crime, you do the time.” We have strayed from that because people are committing crimes at record paces, and our prisons are full and we are taxed more and more to support the prisons. We have as a nation and people, gotten away from the basics of our society, which is a firm belief in God’s commandments, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, do not lie, love you neighbor. If we all did that there would hardly be any crime.