A chill in the air and steady light rain weren't about to stop a small group of people from coming together in Pauls Valley last week to hear what the Democratic nominee had to say about the issues and her run for the U.S. Senate.
Abby Broyles was greeted by a number of spaced out people, masked up for safety, as they gathered under an outdoor pavilion for her local campaign stop on Sept. 9.
Broyles, along with three other challengers, are running for the Senate seat held by Republican Jim Inhofe since 1994.
At some point Broyles says she decided to “get off the sidelines” and step away from her television job in Oklahoma City to challenge a longtime senator she believes is “out of touch” and “no longer the person for the job.”
“We need someone who will sit and listen and actually ask what you want,” Broyles said, adding she knows her incumbent opponent will call her a “liberal and socialist.”
“It's about showing up and being there to represent the people of this state.”
From her work as a journalist Broyles said she's all too familiar with the closure of Pauls Valley's hospital two years ago and others just like it in rural areas of the state over the last few years.
“I know you closed your hospital in Pauls Valley because we covered it on the news,” she said.
One of her main issues is to find a way to bring quality, affordable healthcare to those living in both urban and rural areas of Oklahoma.
“I don't think the Affordable Healthcare Act is perfect, but it's a good place to start. Healthcare is personal to all of us. We have to get it under control,” she said.
“I also don't think me or Mr. Inhofe should be telling women what's best when deciding what's best for their healthcare.”
When it came time for questions the very first one drew a quick and loud response from someone attending the event.
The man, standing up to address Broyles, was interested in her stance on gun control as he said the “safe zones” aren't working. He was shouted down by one individual, which in turn drew another response from the crowd.
“He's right about the Second Amendment, but what about the First Amendment,” said a man who added a comment about not being able to criticize a “tyrant” in high political offices like the White House.
As for the racial justice movement sweeping the country for months now, Broyles said this is something that clearly needed to come to the forefront.
“I'm glad we're having conversations in this country that are long overdue on racial injustices,” she said.
“We can't have bad apples who are racists in police departments and part of a system that's failing us. I'm not for dismantling police departments or taking away guns.”
The candidates suggests part of the solution is to better train law enforcement and not ask officers to deal with many things they're not properly trained for such as some social and mental health situations.
“They're dealing with so many situations they're not trained for, and that keeps them from keeping people safe at times.”
Broyles also wants to expand rural broadband service in the state to give more residents an opportunity to connect to the Internet.
“I want every little girl to know they can grow up and be in the U.S. Senate,” she added in the event organized by the Garvin County Democratic Party.
Also on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election are Libertarian Robert Murphy and Independents Joan Farr and A.D. Nesbit.