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Race for Governor: Connie Johnson

Former State Senator Connie Johnson is running for governor. (KOKH)

On June 26th, Oklahomans will have a chance to go to the polls to pick who they want to represent their party in the gubernatorial election. FOX 25 is profiling the major candidates in all three parties that will appear on the ballot.

More than 30 years ago, Connie Johnson began her work in state government. She went on to represent State Senate District 48 as an outspoken advocate for minorities, criminal justice reform and drug policy reform. A decade ago, some of her ideas were sometimes seen as too liberal but are now much more in the political main stream.

“I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Johnson told FOX 25.

She said she is running for governor to bring the state back from the brink and is tired of seeing Oklahoma being in a race to the bottom of nearly ever positive indicator.

“I'm an angry black woman, if you will, as I watch what is happening because of our relationship with special interests like oil and gas,” Johnson said.

During her time in the Oklahoma Senate, Johnson tried multiple times to legalize medical marijuana. Ten years ago she was a radical for proposing something like that, but today she is all smiles as she sees a state question on the ballot for medical marijuana and growing support for cannabis in Oklahoma.

“It feels good, it is the reason I am running,” Johnson said. “I think I have those kinds of visionary, I have more visionary ideas, that the State of Oklahoma back then just wasn't ready for.”

Johnson sees a "Blue Wave" hitting Oklahoma in November as a revolt against what she sees as failed Republican policies for the past seven and a half years. Those policies were what many said led to the nearly two-week-long teacher walkout that saw tens of thousands of educators expressing their frustrations at the capitol.

“I don't want to call it a walk out,” Johnson said, “I think the rally was the greatest educational opportunity in the history of this state for our people to see that our system is broken; that we have unaccountable legislators, public servants, and a system that refuses to listen to the will of the people.”

Johnson's platform focuses on funding core services like education, expanding health care coverage and bringing in jobs. She believes the jobs will come in large part with the cannabis industry when it is legalized and in turn that industry will provide funding for more state services.

“Oklahoma deserves that, we are poised for an economic land run if you will. The next economic boom and that is the cannabis industry,” Johnson said.

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