BY DAVID PERRYMAN
It is true that the airwaves across America have been saturated with venomous negativity in the presidential contest and that many people in both parties do not support the candidate of either party.
From the Oval Office to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC issues are mired in gridlock. Less than one in 10 Americans [9%] have any confidence in the current U.S. Congress, including Sens. Inhofe and Lankford and Reps. Cole, Lucas, Mullen, Bridenstine and Russell.
Alarmingly, many voters are so frustrated with the presidential candidates and congressional races that they are considering staying home and not casting a ballot. However, it is imperative that Oklahomans clearly separate what is happening in Washington, DC from what is happening in at our state Capitol.
There are a number of reasons that every Oklahoman needs to vote, but the most important ones involve the future of our children and the health of Oklahomans.
Regardless of who we talk to, Oklahoma is facing six or seven key issues that have been neglected by the state’s leadership over the past decade. Those issues are public education funding, rising healthcare costs, crumbling roads and bridges, a trained and career ready workforce, low and stagnant wages, overcrowded prisons and availability of water as a resource.
The list makes two things very clear: not only did the partisan supermajority at the state Capitol contribute to these problems, none of the state questions focused on fixing the problems were placed on the ballot by the Legislature.
In response to nearly 10 years of cuts to public education by the legislative supermajority, the people did the only thing that they could and placed SQ 779 on the ballot to supplement Oklahoma’s education budget.
While Oklahoma’s legislative supermajority sat on its hands while prison overcrowding becomes dangerous to correctional employees, the people did the only thing that they could and proposed SQ 780 to change certain offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.
As Oklahoma’s legislative supermajority twiddled its thumbs and did nothing for mental health and substance abuse treatment, the people initiated SQ 781 to provide funding for local drug treatment and counseling services using funds to be saved from decreasing incarceration rates.
It’s not easy for the people to get a state question on the ballot. It would be much easier for the people to replace the legislative supermajority that is blocking solutions to the problems that Oklahoma faces.
Maybe 2016 is the year that the people realize that once every two years, they have more power than all the government bureaucrats, corporate lobbyists and legislative supermajority combined. Oklahoma voters have more choices across the state than they have had in years. Maybe ever. Go vote.
Instead of standing in line to vote on Nov. 8, you may order an absentee ballot from your county election board between now and Wednesday, Nov. 2 or vote in person at your County Election Board office on Nov. 3, 4 and 5.
– David Perryman, a Chickasha Democrat, represents District 56 in the Oklahoma House