J. M. Branum launches campaign as first Oklahoma Green to run for state House

NOTE: J. M. Branum will be seeking the Oklahoma Green Party’s endorsement at its convention this summer.

J. M. Branum is a 30-year old candidate for House District #99. He is running on the Independent ticket but is a Green Party member.

“My campaign will focus on the most important issues of our day: ending the racist, classist and immoral practice of the death penalty, fighting to provide genuine relief to those oppressed by poverty, promoting means of independence from high gas prices, and working to reform Oklahoma’s undemocratic ballot access laws,” said Branum.

J.M. Branum graduated from Newcastle High School in 1994. He later studied at Southwestern Oklahoma State University before transferring to the Institute for Christian Studies in Austin, Texas where he graduated with a B.A. in Bible with a Christian Ministry emphasis in 2000. In 2005, Branum graduated from Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Today, Branum is a resident of the Lincoln Terrace neighborhood of Northeast Oklahoma City. He currently works as a legal assistant and a pedi-cab driver, but will receive his bar license in September and will then begin practicing civil rights and consumer bankruptcy law. He is an active member of Joy Mennonite Church and is involved in the congregation’s work in peace and social justice issues, primarily through his involvement with the Oklahoma Committee for Conscientious Objectors.

The candidate is also an avid bicyclist and is seeking to use his bicycle for much of his campaign travel needs.

“I believe that bicycling offers OKC residents the best chance at being free from petroleum addiction. Northeast Oklahoma City has lots of problems, but one huge positive is that this part of town has lots of low-traffic residential side streets that are excellent for bicycle commuting. My hope is that by doing much of campaign by bicycle, I can demonstrate how bicycling is a practical mode of transportation that has the power to make our lives more sustainable, joyous and free.”

Branum has been a member of the Green Party since 2001 when he joined in San Marcos, Texas. He was later a founding member of the state Green Party in Oklahoma and has served as state executive committee member, co-chair and now Secretary. Prior to his membership in the Green Party, he was a Libertarian from 1999-2001 (during which he received over 17% of the vote as a candidate for Constable in Travis County, Texas), and was a Republican from 1994-1999.

J. M. Branum says his evolving political philosophy has been primarily shaped by his faith and by life experience. “As a college student I first was involved with the Republican party because of the hot button issue of abortion and because of my admiration of their small-government philosophy. Later as I discovered that the teachings of Jesus were pacifistic, I became a Libertarian, and then after I discovered that Jesus was most definitely not a capitalist I became a Green.”

“Today as a Green, I share much common ground with both liberals and conservatives. I share common ground with many liberals on the issues of civil rights and their concern for the poor, while I share common ground with many conservatives in their belief that government should best be done on the local level. It has been said that Greens are neither left or right but rather out in front, and I think that is true.”

Branum hopes that by running in this race he can help to widen the discussion of the campaign to include the progressive concerns of District 99.

“I am an admirer of Rep. Opio Toure’s stand in the state house for civil rights (including the abolishment of the death penalty) and for poverty relief. My hope is that the eventual Democratic party nominee will follow in Toure’s footsteps, but if the Democrats nominate a candidate who does not share those progressive values, I will be in this race to provide a vote of conscience to voters,” said Branum.

For more information go to: http://www.jmbranum.com