Editor’s Note: In this article, The Yukon Progress highlights the two Republican candidates vying to succeed Stephanie Bice representing District 22 in the Oklahoma State Senate. A special primary election is Feb. 9 and the general election is April 6.
By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Yukon’s Jake A. Merrick and Edmond’s Keri Shipley are Republican candidates seeking to fill a vacancy in the Oklahoma State Senate.
Merrick, 39, of NW 100th Street in Yukon; and Shipley, 48, of Water Oak Circle in Edmond, filed Dec. 7 at the Oklahoma State Election Board for the Senate District 22 seat.
Four candidates – two Democrats and two Republicans – will appear on a Feb. 9 primary ballot for a special election to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Stephanie Bice.
The top-vote getters from each political party with then square off in an April 6 general election to determine who will complete the final 21 months of an unexpired four-year term.
Congresswoman Bice, 46, was elected to a two-year term in the U.S. House of Representatives in the Nov. 3 election by defeating incumbent Democrat Kendra Horn.
Bice served District 22 for the past six years in the 48-member Oklahoma State Senate. She now represents Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District after receiving the oath of office Jan. 3 in Washington, D.C.
District 22 is comprised of northern Oklahoma County and eastern Canadian County, including parts of Yukon, Piedmont, Edmond, and Deer Creek.
The district represents these zip codes: 73003, 73012, 73013, 73025, 73078, 73099, 73127 in Canadian County; and 73142 and 73762 in Oklahoma County.
JAKE A. MERRICK
Merrick says essential freedoms are being challenged daily and it’s time to take a stand and say “no more” abortion, human trafficking, school closures, shutdowns, and mandates.
“Liberty is always a target and must always be defended,” Merrick said. “I will never surrender, and I will always fight to protect our right to worship, protect our right to bear arms, protect our right to school choice, protect our right to bodily autonomy, protect our babies’ right to life, and protect our right to open our businesses.”
If elected, Merrick plans to draft legislation to protect the rights of Oklahomans:
- End abortion in Oklahoma: “Abortion is currently legal in Oklahoma, and this needs to change. We must end this egregious practice in our state.”
- Ensure businesses can stay open: “If customers believe they are safe enough to shop, eat or otherwise engage with a business, they should be free to decide this for themselves. The government should back out of the free market and allow Oklahoma businesses to get back to work.”
- Ensure the right to bodily autonomy for both Oklahoma’s children and adults: “Individuals must never be forced to be vaccinated as a condition for employment, to enroll in school, to travel, or to engage in business.”
Merrick has a graduate degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Merrick’s career experience includes being the owner of Merrick Fence Company, founder and president of Paraklete Inc., and founder of True Cross Training.
Shipley said she’s running for office to a be a voice and advocate for the people of Senate District 22.
“Our community needs a strong, conservative leader to stand up for our interests – not special interests,” the Republican candidate said.
Shipley has worked for the last year as a staffer for two Republican members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
State Rep. Garry Mize, R-Guthrie, called Shipley a “talented leader” and believes she will be an “outstanding senator.”
“I have seen Keri’s strong work ethic, her grasp of issues and her passion to see our schools, businesses and communities thrive,” said Mize, whose House district cover the northern part of Senate District 22.
“She’s not only closely followed the policy debates, she’s also learned the in’s and out’s of the Capitol, ensuring that she’ll hit the ground running on day one.”
Shipley is a former president of the Deer Creek Executive PTO, chair of the Creek Classic Race and registrar for the Edmond Soccer Club.
As president and vice president of the Deer Creek Soccer Booster Club, she and her husband Kurt lead fund-raising initiatives allowing them to greatly expand the program.
A third generation Oklahoman, Shipley’s father was a Navy veteran and her grandfather was an Air Force veteran. She studied Marketing at New Mexico State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.
Thirteen polling precincts in Canadian County will be open for the Feb. 9th special Senate District 22 primary election:
- Surrey Hills Baptist Church, 12421 N Mustang Road in Yukon
- Yukon First Church of the Nazarene, 525 E Main in Yukon
- Bethel Community Church – Bradford Family Life Center, 4901 N Sara Road in Yukon
- First United Methodist Church, 400 Elm in Yukon
- Yukon Fine Arts Auditorium, 850 Yukon Ave. in Yukon
- Town & Country Christian Church, 2200 S Cornwell in Yukon
- Yukon Church, 11715 NW 10th in Yukon
- Covenant Community Church, 2250 Yukon Parkway in Yukon
- Discovery Church, 900 E Main in Yukon
- Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore Drive in Yukon
- Light Your World Church, 4550 NW Expressway in Okarche
- Piedmont United Methodist Church, 2525 N Piedmont Road in Piedmont
- Piedmont First Baptist Church, 15 Jackson Ave. NW in Piedmont
The two Democrat candidates on the Feb. 9th special Senate District 22 primary election ballot are Molly Ooten, 31, of NW 189th Terrace in Edmond; and Dylan Billings, 31, of Foxfire Road in Edmond.
Read about the Democrat contenders in an upcoming edition of The Progress.