The Filing Period closed on Friday, April 13. Since then, Candidates have been out visiting with the public, soliciting votes. One of those is long-time Shawnee Native, Joseph Blanchard, who now resides in Tecumseh with his wife, Twyla. He submitted his name when House District 27 Representative, Josh Cockcroft, announced he would not seek re-election.

On that afternoon, Mr. Blanchard was in a meeting, discussing his odds of running against the incumbent. After 2 hours of comments and defending his position, in the final 15 minutes he learned of the shocking community news. It was the last bit of information needed to make the decision easier and run for the vacant office.

Joseph is a graduate of Shawnee High School, as are 3 of his children: Dakota, 26; Solomon, 24; and Kyerra, 20. The last child, Erika, 11, attends Bethel Upper Elementary. He is employed with Seminole Public Schools as the Title VI and Johnson O’Malley Coordinator. In addition, he serves as Head Coach or Assistant Coach for 3 sports: fast pitch softball, basketball and baseball. One can also see him roaming the sidelines on Friday nights with the football team.

When asked why he decided to run, he replied, “I believe I have the background, education, and skills necessary to help my community. I’ve volunteered over the years, in one way or another, and felt our Creator was opening another door for me. It was a good opportunity to give back, while at the same time, being a voice for others.”

“I work at a place, where my job is to empower, inspire and motivate young people to achieve their goals. I noticed, there was nobody tangible the students could relate with. Most of them don’t know Kelly Haney or only recognize him as an artist, not as a former Senator. And, when looking at the political landscape, most people don’t think their Legislators are in touch with them.”

While working for Tribal Nations, Blanchard obtained a BA in History from the University of Central Oklahoma. His most recent employment with the Absentee Shawnee Tribe (AST), he performed and exceled at his Specialist job in the Realty Department. This prompted a promotion with joint duties as Cultural Preservation Director and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. Upon assuming command, there was no staff to help run the 4 programs under his oversight and a very limited budget.

When Joseph left, the Department had blossomed into 9 programs, with 12 staff positions. As the AST Point of Contact, he used the Tribe’s sovereign status to foster professional relationships with Federal, State, and local entities and programs in 26 states.

About his success, he said, “My oversight depended on me to be accountable, complete the tasks at hand, and make smart decisions. I didn’t want to fail my leadership or the AST People.”

For more information, constituents can visit the Facebook Campaign page, “Joseph Blanchard for House District 27”.

The Republican primary is June 26.