Tommie’s story: Training Oklahoma’s future leaders

Culture & the Family

Rick Farmer, Ph.D. | December 14, 2020

Tommie’s story: Training Oklahoma’s future leaders

Rick Farmer, Ph.D.

[As we approach the holiday season, OCPA is sharing stories of real people whose lives have been impacted by some of our work over the past year. Without supporters like you, this work would not have been possible.]

Tommie Johnson III

“What you see as a police officer on the street gives you a unique view of life. I soon saw that my ideology put me more in line with the conservative party,” said Tommie Johnson III, the newly elected sheriff of Oklahoma County.

A young father of two, Tommie has served as police officer for eight years, obtaining the rank of master officer and wearing a lifesaving award on his uniform. After his years of service, he experienced the revolutionary move of 2020—the city council cut funding to the police department. “What really hurts is not the money,” Tommie said, “but the fact that half of the community doesn’t trust us.”

He wanted to move into a leadership position, but thought he needed more training in conservative principles, so he joined the inaugural class of OCPA's Fears Fellowship program. “You need to understand the founding principles, and that is what the Fears Fellowship did,” he said. “We studied the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Federalist Papers and I thought, how do I become like that? This program was the most amazing thing I’ve ever been a part of.”

And in January, Tommie will be sworn in as sheriff of the most populous county in Oklahoma. At a time when support for police officers is at an all-time low and city leaders around the country are complacent in the face of rioting and looting, Oklahoma City’s new sheriff is asking "How can I be like the Founding Fathers?"

The future leaders of Oklahoma, like Tommie, are already here. They’re being trained in conservative values and free-market principles thanks to OCPA’s Fears Fellowship. Will you join us with a year-end gift of $50, $100, $1,000 or whatever you can afford, so we can continue to educate the next generation in the values you hold dear? You can give to OCPA by clicking here.

Rick Farmer, Ph.D. Dean of the J. Rufus Fears Fellowship

Rick Farmer, Ph.D.

Dean of the J. Rufus Fears Fellowship

Dr. Rick Farmer serves as OCPA’s Dean of the J. Rufus Fears Fellowship. Previously, Rick served as director of committee staff at the Oklahoma House of Representatives, deputy insurance commissioner, and director of the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Earning his Ph.D. at the University of Oklahoma and tenure at the University of Akron, Rick can best be described as a “pracademic.” While working full-time in the Oklahoma government, he continued to teach and write. He served as president of the Oklahoma Political Science Association and chairman of the American Political Science Association’s Practical Politics Working Group. In 2016, he was awarded the Oklahoma Political Science Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Farmer has appeared on CNN, NBC, MSNBC, C-SPAN, BBC Radio, and various local news outlets. His comments are quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and numerous local newspapers. He is the author of more than 30 academic chapters and articles and the co-editor of four books.

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