An Oklahoma City reporter and attorney is challenging Sen. Jim Inhofe for his U.S. Senate seat.

Abby Broyles, a Democrat, said she launched her campaign for U.S. Senate in November, because she realized that Inhofe — Oklahoma's long-time senior U.S. senator — wasn't doing his job in Washington, D.C.

"He's not representing the every day Oklahoman. He's not listening to Oklahomans," she said, adding it is time to replace Inhofe with someone who will represent the average voter, not those who are entrenched in Washington, D.C.

Among her complaints — and her priorities as senator — are health care and climate change, important issues that she said are being lost in the gridlock that is now Washington. Broyles said it's time to reach across the aisle and put aside partisan politics to find solutions that will promote change.

She also believes it is time for a fresh perspective.

"He's been in the Senate since I was in kindergarten," she said.

Broyles said health care is number one issue for her campaign and for Oklahomans. She said the average Oklahoman is one paycheck away from catastrophe, in terms of a costly health care issue, and two away from financial ruin. In the meantime, the state has repeatedly opted not to expand Medicaid coverage to residents at a time when many Oklahomans are having to decide between health care and the cost of housing, utilities and food.

"It's a big issue," she said, adding it also is a major issue on the radar of many young residents who also are mired in college loan debt.

She said while she doesn't believe legislators can completely erase that debt, they can look at much lower interest rates that make it more affordable for the nation's youth to eliminate their debt.

"It's common sense," she said, of a move to lower interest rates on college loan debt, adding it could give younger Oklahomans the flexibility to spend money on other things that will help boost the state economy, such as buying homes.

Broyles, who spent years working as a journalist, said she understands people at the lower end of the economic spectrum who don't have the money to afford everything they want, especially if they still are paying off debts. That is especially important in the area of health care, which can be so costly, some opt to do without it, she said.

Broyles admits she didn't grow up wanting to be in politics.

"I wanted to be a journalist," she said, adding she became an attorney to help people, which is the same reason she wants to seek elected office.

Broyles promised to maintain an open dialogue with residents, saying they can talk to her at any time in person or through her web site.

"People want to be heard," she said, adding she will listen to voices across the entire state because the position of U.S. senator "is not representing just Tulsa and Oklahoma City."

She also promises to be a voice in the fight to combat climate change, and closing the gap between men and women in the issue of pay.

Broyles, an Oklahoma native, earned a degree in journalism and started her career in a television station in Tyler, Texas, before returning to Oklahoma in 2014 to become a reporter/weekend anchor at KFOR in Oklahoma City. While working as a journalist, she started attending the Oklahoma City University School of Law, earning her law degree in May 2019.

Broyles is an award-winning investigative reporter whose work included uncovering political corruption that led to felony charges against Oklahoma Sen. Kyle Loveless, and exposing a loophole that allowed a sexual predator of children to keep his taxpayer-funded retirement. She resigned from KFOR in November.

Additional information is available on Broyles' web site: abbybroyles.com.

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