BY SHARON MARTIN
“Her lips are moving,” it answers.
Now, I believe there are politicians who serve us with their hearts in the right place. But there are also those who have proven themselves to be unworthy of our trust.
Politics requires compromise. Good faith negotiations should not be seen as promise breaking but as part of doing political business. Legislators who cannot compromise aren’t serving all their constituents, only those who agree with them. This isn’t about compromise.
Gov. Chris Christie was lauded for his negotiation skills when public sector employees in New Jersey agreed to compensation cuts in exchange for Christie’s promise to fund public pensions. Then, two years running, he didn’t.
“Promises were made that can’t be kept,” Christie said at a Town Hall stop.
Did he make his promises knowing that it was possible he wouldn’t keep them?
Then there’s our own governor, Mary Fallin. Out of one side of her mouth she says we must prepare Oklahoma students for 21st Century jobs. Out the other side, she advocates tax cuts that necessitate funding cuts for those very institutions that prepare students for those jobs.
Gov. Fallin touts the work of our CareerTech system while presiding over a budget that has seen staff and funding reductions to the system. The CareerTech budget is 15% less this year than it was in 2009.
Higher Ed has seen massive cuts, too. And there are the teacher shortages in Oklahoma’s public school systems even as funds are shifted to privatization schemes.
Education isn’t the only thing suffering here. Thirty-two million [$32 million] in needed federal funds that could address water quality, dam repair, and other environmental issues have been lost because the state budget could not afford its 25% matching funds share.
I guess we can drink our $29 tax cut in bottled water.
Meanwhile, our governor goes to Paris for an air show. It’s true that her trip to France was paid for with private funds. And Oklahoma is an aerospace leader, so our secretary of commerce should represent our state in places that can bring in international monies. But our governor seems more concerned with the folks who buy her unnecessary European trips than she is with future workers, their teachers, and all those constituents downstream from dams in need of rehabilitation.
You won’t hear it from her mouth. You’ll hear what you want to believe. But, pardon my cliché, her actions speak more plainly than her words.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer