By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – The way many people found out about Jon Hazell getting into the race for the Oklahoma state senate is the same way many learned of his decision to step out of that race.
Hazell penned his thoughts and put them out on his Facebook page late Saturday evening, with the overlying reason for his withdrawal from the race being a lack of peace about the decision to run for the office.
Among other points he cited for choosing to step back from pursuing the senate seat were: the idea that campaign money could be better used to help other people, the idea of having to be ‘politically correct’ in order to be elected and a growing neglect for his ministry and family.
He said he apologizes for those who may be disappointed, but that he is going back to the classroom and to ‘whatever else the Good Lord May have in store for me.’
Hazell began his post by saying he is a Christian, a husband and father, and a teacher – and in that order – and he spoke about the important factors that go into being a teacher.
“Two years ago, when I was blessed to be named the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year, and I had to give a short speech, I began like this: ‘I would like to thank God for making me a teacher, and I would like to thank Jesus Christ for saving me and making me a good teacher. Because teaching is an act of love, and if one does not have the love of Christ in their hearts they can never be the best teacher.’
“And it is from that perspective of love, that I have tried to fulfill my calling to not only teach my students well, but to love them even more. And it is that love that gives good teachers the heart of a servant that all good teachers possess; because, make no mistake about it, teaching is an act of serving, and one will never be a good servant if one’s motive is not first the motive of love.”
Hazell spoke about loving and giving through teaching and serving for the past 35 years and how it made him feel like the ‘richest person on earth.’
But when he was approached to run for office, though it seemed to be a strange idea, he said he didn’t want to be selfish or to shirk his civic duty.
“Maybe, by becoming part of our state’s governing body, I could help hundreds of thousands of students and teachers instead of just the few in my own little corner of the world,” Hazell wrote. “And so I began to take the requests seriously, and pray and talk to my wife and close friends. And after a while, it seemed like that is what I was supposed to do, and so I made the decision to announce my candidacy and prepare for a campaign.”
And he said that although he received thousands of calls and offers of support and hundreds willing to donate money and service to the campaign, he had no peace.
Hazell said his thoughts were of the people in Africa where he has ministered before and what could be done with that same campaign money. And he said he did not begrudge others who use the money to run for office, but that he could not.
Having to guard carefully everything he said was also something Hazell that he would not do.
“I have now been warned by several that I have to be very careful and can’t say anything again…sorry, ain’t happening,” Hazell wrote. “I’m not a politician, and if something needs to be said, I’ll dang sure stand up and say it again. And if a person who speaks the truth can’t get elected, then I don’t want it.
“In my humble opinion, if a man can’t say what needs to be said, then he’s lost his manhood. I’ll keep mine thank you.”
He said he knows there will be people he is letting down and disappointed, and that he apologizes.
“I just hope you will understand that this is what I have to do, and I have come to understand that if a man cannot do something with his whole heart, then he is cheating those around him anyway, and I can’t do that either,” Hazell wrote. “And besides, I am not the savior of the world, God is, and I just passionately feel that He has other plans for my life right now.
“And if any of you might be wondering, nothing has happened; it’s just a decision that I have been feeling that I should be making for a while now, and I need to make it before we get too far invested.
“And if I am being totally honest, I may have been getting caught up in what people wanted, and losing sight of what God wants for me.”