Former Oklahoma State House Speaker T.W. Shannon spoke about the importance of reducing government spending, increasing spending on the military, and helping families and communities Thursday.
Shannon spoke to Chickasha residents as part of a fundraiser for his campaign for U.S. Senate.
He's running against Congressman James Lankford and University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma professor Kevin Crow for the seat vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn.
"I'm concerned about the direction of our country. I think this generation will be the first to leave our children with a lower standard of living than we had," he said. "The only way [we can avoid increasing the debt] is to stop spending…Washington is spending us into oblivion."
He said he decided to run for the Senate after watching a documentary about Martin Luther King Jr. on Martin Luther King Day when his father was teaching his young daughter how to ride a bicycle and he considered the progress for African Americans since King's time.
"Just one generation ago, my dad had to drink from a separate water fountain," Shannon said. "I fundamentally believe this country is hungry [to know] what it's like to have strong families, strong communities."
Local developer Steve LaForge hosted the fundraiser for Shannon and said he's known Shannon for more than 10 years, since they both worked on signs for former Congressman J.C. Watts' campaign.
"He's smart, he's quick on his feet, his beliefs are good," LaForge said. "He'll be a good fiscal and social conservative to send to Washington."
Barbara Pfenning, former president of the Chisholm Trail Republican Women, said she found Shannon to be an energetic politician with modern ideas.
"I know he has some concerns with the health care issue," she said. "It could definitely stand some modification."
Grady County Republican Party Chairman Chuck Utsler, who's also running for District 57 representative, said he's happy to support the current candidates for senate.
"We've got two good candidates [for senate]," Utsler said. "I'm pleased with the group that's running."
The general election will be on Nov. 4.