Ashley Nicole McCray, the Democratic candidate trying to unseat Republican Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony maintains she is not the person she was when she was the smiling activist posing with a banner that said ‘F*** the Police!”
She also claims she is not anti oil and gas even though she has demonstrated against oil pipelines in the state and threatened at one time in 2017 to occupy the Jim Thorpe building at the state capitol. She also contends “Oklahoma is an illegal state” set aside for indigenous people by treaty.
McCray is proud of her Native American heritage. She is a member of the Absentee Shawnee tribe which has contributed $2,700 to her campaign. She has led protests against Columbus Day and an OU fraternity’s “Cowboys and Indian” themed party .
She is also one of two women who interrupted Gov. Mary Fallin’s State of the State address earlier this year by standing up in the House gallery and unfurling a banner that draped over the side stating “Oklahoma” “State of DESPAIR.” When a Tulsa World editorial used the word “incivility” to describe what she did, McCray responded by stating it was anti-indigenous and racist to refer to the actions of indigenous people and indigenous women as uncivilized.
The 34 year old McCray is the same Native American activist who has led protest after protest, including the one where she posed with a smile, holding a banner with two others, that stated “F*** the police!”
Does she really believe that?
“No,” she laughed nervously during an interview with OK Energy today. “I have police officers in my own family. As far as oil and gas, my dad actually dropped out of the 9th grade and worked as a roughneck and worked in the oilfields. It’s not that I’m against oil. Its not that I’m anti-police.”
“I agree with you that my tactics aren’t always the most friendly or the best and I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot especially off this campaign. It’s definitely helped me grow and my understanding of all the issues that we’re being faced with. at the same time, it’s helped me create better strategies than holding signs that say “F*** the police.”
Her activism at the University of Oklahoma as well as at the State Capitol prompted her to run for office. And she openly wants to bring a revolution of the people to the corporation commission.
“My background is in environment and political economy and industrialization,” she explained. “This is actually the area that I’m most interested in. I think that perhaps in the future, I’ll run for a legislative office or congress.”
Having won the run-off election by a large margin in late August, McCray is on the campaign trail attempting to unseat Commissioner Anthony. And her last campaign report showed she has only about $7,300 cash on hand.
McCray’s a self-admitted ‘community organizer,’ ‘activist’ and ‘academic.’ In answering one group’s candidate questionnaire, she spoke of “environmental racism” and how it affects the low-income, rural and other vulnerable communities.
She spoke of the same environmental racism in January 2017 in protesting the $900 million Diamond pipeline that has since been completed and is carrying oil from the Cushing hub to central Tennessee.
“As an environmentalist and someone who is an academic and a community organizer, it seems that of all the communities that I’ve gone to and been able to visit throughout the state and organize with, it seems at the end of the day the corporation commission seems to be the end place for revolution,” said McCray.
She maintains people around the state are frustrated with the actions of the corporation commission. And she says she’s the right person to take their message to the commission. She calls Bob Anthony “A shaky legacy” on her Facebook advertisements.
“Not only am I more representative of the people of Oklahoma, I’ve been doing the work in the communities, hearing their concerns and seeing first hand the impact of the decisions that are being made on Oklahoma communities from all backgrounds—rich, poor, black, white, native, affluent, not affluent, Republican, Democrat, all across the spectrum.”
McCray contends Anthony’s been in office too long.
“I think that someone being in office for 30 years, first of all I think that is a bad thing,” she continued. “To have someone in a position of that much concentrated power that long, I also think it is problematic that Bob Anthony has been responsible for costing Oklahoma taxpayers to pay $5,000 towards a report that he ended up not following up on.”
She accused him of fostering an atmosphere of “aggression and intimidation” in the corporation commission and causing a high turnover rate of employees.
“He takes campaign contributions from Devon Energy, Chesapeake and Harold Hamm—the very industry or entities that he’s actually mandated and elected to regulate,” added McCray who vowed not to take contributions from energy companies, even if Harold Hamm gave her $2,500 for her campaign.
She registered as a Democrat in October 2014 and voted twice before this year’s elections. She voted in April of 2016 and November 2014.