My grandpa, Juan Hernandez, swam the Rio Grande and my mom learned to walk on a swept dirt floor in Salt Creek (Pueblo), Colorado. Grandpa was one of the day laborers that helped build and landscape the grounds of the new college up the road in Colorado Springs. As he worked, he had no idea that his grandson would one day join the Air Force and be ordered from the enlisted ranks to attend the United States Air Force Academy.
I know what it’s like to be disenfranchised. It is horribly depressing and scary. Our State House District 88 is, and has been, disenfranchised for far too long. With your open-minded, pragmatic vote, we will, for the first time in many years, be empowered with a seat at the table and not just be recipients of legislative bones and shafts. Time to quit being ignored and start taking back what is ours with a representative who knows how to twist arms, horse trade and grovel for constituents.
I was one of six legislators who represented the state of Washington's off-shore island counties. My five Democrat colleagues graciously schooled me in geotribal politics where constituents come before party. They taught me that a legislator without a stick is useless.
My favorite part of my mornings was spent jacking up bureaucrats and state agencies that were making life difficult for my neighbors who were applying for benefits or trying to get a business license. As I had significant input on both their capital and operating budgets, my people were well served and happy.
I know my progressive constituents were happy with me. When I first ran, I barely won by 304 votes. Despite being twice elected to the non-partisan city council (unopposed), 67% of my hometown, Langley (Bluer than Berkeley), went for my opponent. But, two years later, after seeing what I was about and what I could do, the progressives and independents broke my way and I was reelected in a landslide with a 10,600 vote victory margin. I even carried Langley by three votes.
My arts community appreciated that I was always promoting them and exhibited their projects in my high-traffic legislative office, and, for my refusal to take my Swamp Mama Johnson poster off the wall.
Why run now?
I’m Kelly Barlean, a retired attorney. Our lives have been turned upside down fighting the virus. Unfortunately, once the pandemic has run its course, there will be a fiscal fallout resulting in economic hardship for far too many Oklahomans.
We are at war. Partisanship and tribalism must be suspended until we are well on the path to getting our lives and Oklahoma’s economy back in order. But, to win a war, warfighters with combat experience are essential.
We have no choice but to be proactive and creative in crafting our next state operating budget. The budget must a policy driven instrument that lays the foundation and sets forth the path to the state’s economic recovery while ensuring the sustainability of the ever expanding state safety net for our hurting neighbors.
Being retired at 58 has its perks, but we are in a conflict with an insidious enemy. My Air Force Academy duty concept compels me to come out of retirement to serve my neighbors and the rest of Oklahoma. I was a state representative twenty years ago when I lived in the state of Washington, a state with no term limits.
For four years, I looked out for 120,000 people. I did my best to keep the state off their backs and to not let their interests be bullied away by Seattle and Tacoma.
Before I was a legislator, I was the managing partner of my law firm, a city councilman, an Army Infantry Officer (101st), and a USAF Security Service Intelligence Analyst. After I was a legislator, I was a Colorado city attorney and then had the hardest job of my life, stay-at-home-dad.
You will not be rolling the dice on me. I have a legislative record and I own it. I will not attempt to insult you by blowing smoke or spinning what I did when I was in office. For an unbiased account of my time in office, I’ll let the newspaper reporters of the day tell you what they told my former constituents about how Kelly Barlean took care of them.
I would be honored to receive your vote to let me be more than your voice in the Legislature.
After passing the Colorado Bar Examination, I moved to Lawton. I applied to the Bar Examiners for a law license as an out-of-state attorney without having to sit for another bar exam and was denied. The Colorado Supreme Court did this for Oklahoma lawyers but it was not a two-way street.
So I petitioned the Oklahoma Supreme Court to over-rule the Bar Examiners and grant me a license. I argued my case on May 12, 1994. Over two years later on July 10, 1996 the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued an Order denying my petition.
By this time, I had already been elected to the City Council of Langley, Washington.
The file below in a copy of my petition and the Court's Order.
After being twice elected to the Langley City Council, I threw my hat in the ring to represent the district in the State House.
The district was north of Seattle and was extremely diverse. The district contained a Navy base, 2 Indian reservations, all or parts of 3 counties (including state's third largest), 9 cities, 13 school districts, 9 state parks and 2 ferry landings. I would be representing farmers, ranchers, hippies, environmentalists, military personnel, Boeing machinists, boat builders, and a vibrant arts community.
Election night was horrible. Went to bed down 611 votes. Ten days later it looked like I had lost until the last bag of absentee ballots came in from the US Navy. The Sailors flipped the election and I was the last race called causing a 49-49 tie in the House between the parties.
The first file is a map of my district.
The second file is newspaper article written one week after the 1998 general election.
The state was going to sell a parcel of surplus coastal prairie land in my district. I was tasked with stopping the sale.
The articles below are in chronological order giving a blow-by -blow account .
The first article contained my thoughts on how the state should be able to backfill a 1.3B revenue loss to Operating Budget without having to raise taxes.
The second article is on clean-up legislation for a poorly worded Initiative of the People regarding property tax on motor vehicles.
It was a tough year. The University of Washington only got 16 million according to the provost on page 3 of the Alumni newsletter.
My university did a bit better.
So did Snohomish County.
I co-prime sponsored, at the request of the Department of Revenue,
a bill to resolve a fight going on for decades with the state and the tribes over the sale of untaxed cigarettes on tribal lands.
When it became difficult in the House to move our bill, we dumped it and worked on the companion bill in the Senate which passed
The first file below is an article from the Colville Tribal Tribune
Next is the Bill Report for our House bill.
When Boeing HQ moved to Chicago, I thought it was cool they wanted to know how the new guy from Oklahoma felt about it and quoted me twice over my senior peers and the local Congressman.
Seattle Times article regarding my involvement and legislation that enabled the passage of the 2000 Supplemental Budget as a freshman legislator in a state with no term limits..
Last article is a fluff piece on the District's new legislative delegation after the 2000 election.
After the terrorist attacks, I was placed on the Select Committee on Community Security .
The last two articles showed my displeasure with the Governor's lack of intestinal fortitude in standing up to California when their utility deregulation spawned ENRON and caused Washingtonians' wallets and their air quality to suffer.