“We’ve just got to figure out how to become more competitive,” Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat opined upon learning that the Volkswagen has chosen Canada over Oklahoma for its massive new battery-making facility.
I’ve got a couple of suggestions for Leader Treat to consider in his pursuit of competitiveness, both of which he could unilaterally implement: 1. Quit letting all those stupid bills out of committee. Treat appoints all committee chairmen and members of committees. He also assigns all bills to committees. He needs to develop a little more backbone, tell the chairs which bills not bring up and that would be the end of that; and 2. Be prepared to fire any chairman that refuses to go along with his directive. After he fires the first one, there won’t be a second one that crosses him.
On a personal note, I had Treat’s job many years ago. I didn’t have to fire any chairmen because they knew I would if they didn’t bottle up the nutty stuff members propose in response to some redneck’ s recommendation at a local coffee shop.
Also it gave me, and my tiny majority of only 26 Democrats [it takes 25 to pass a bill] more time to work on important stuff such as: The legalization of casino wagering, including slot machines at race tracks; the legalization of a state lottery with proceeds from both casinos and the lottery earmarked for public education; the passing of a dollar-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes with that money earmarked for health initiatives including the Stephenson Cancer Center and the Harold Hamm Diabetes Complex.
We also found time to pass a $500 million higher education bond issue that built buildings, provided more modern technology and infrastructure at all 27 of our colleges and universities. We also found time to build the National Weather Center that is now home to over 500 highly paid and skilled workers and has made it the focal point in our entire country for weather data, information, warnings and alerts.
And, of course, there were regular pay raises for educators, support personnel and state employees. And all of this, plus much more, was done without a tax increase.
New jobs and industry leaders look for and follow environments created by state leaders that emphasize unity, working together, public education, modern and available health systems, good roads, wide and available bandwidth and, most of all, a society that honors all citizens, has an open and supportive attitude toward people who might be different from one’s self.
That is not reflective of Oklahoma today and that is why we lost out on another major new company and over 7,000 jobs.
The Oklahoma House especially passes every piece of bigotry and biased bullshit its members can dream up and it kills us economically.
Sadly, most business factions sit on their hands and only privately speak out against the rural rednecks who dominate social policy and, now, public education with Ryan Walters and homeschooler himself Gov. Kevin Stitt in charge.
If those two guys, and Leader Treat plus House Speaker Charles McCall really want to know why Volkswagen will be making batteries in the Toronto area instead of the Tulsa area, all they have to do is look in the mirror.
It is in that gaze that they will observe up close the real problem and, as Pogo paraphrased, “It is us.”
Oh, and you voters as well. You keep re-electing them.