The second session of the 53rd Oklahoma Legislature adjourned on May 25th after four months of extraneous and tedious activity but not much in the way of quality policy-making. Those of us who work in the business of lobbying the legislators and the Governor’s office were all glad the session was over last week. We were frustrated with the process, the behavior of many legislators and their respective leaders, and the strong influence of state and regional politics. Making good public policy, funding core services, and fine tuning our states laws to benefit citizens is a tough task in a normal year, but in an election year it becomes next to impossible. Law-making will never separate itself from politics because politicians are elected to be the designers of state statutes and examiners of our constitution. When they cannot come to consensus on the language and intent of these statutes in our state law, (this happens often!) the Oklahoma legislature will quickly choose to pass Joint Resolutions calling for amendments to our Constitution by taking these to a vote of the people in the upcoming general election in November. In this election year the general ballot will have 12 or more state questions; many will be difficult for the Oklahoma voters to understand because of the complexity of the changes in our constitution and the resultant effect on the everyday lives of our citizens.
This is the process of a democratic society and for the common ordinary Oklahoma voter it is difficult to imagine how complex law-making and governing is unless you’re inside the ugliness of the political process and the inner-workings of the executive and legislative branches of our state. When our voters are unhappy with the process and/or the results, and the people elected to represent them fail in their eyes there is only one thing to do. Change the participants! The way you change the participants is through the election process. Simply VOTE! This election year many local seats are wide-open due to the effects of term limits or by some members just opting not to run. Now is the time to elect the officials we want to run our national, state, and county governments.
OkACTE will be posting on our web site www.okacte.org over the next couple of weeks, GET OUT THE VOTE! Information and links to websites which will help our members become registered to vote, list dates of the primaries, runoffs, and general elections, and candidate information. Your OkACTE leaders will be interviewing candidates, attending candidate forums and fund-raisers in order to seek out those prospects as a member of the State legislature or the U.S. Congress who we think will support CTE. The first opportunity for you to vote will be June 23rd as most Oklahoma voting precincts will be holding the 2012 primary elections. You can find out about polling places, early voting, and candidate information at the Oklahoma State Election Board website: www.ok.gov/elections. You can also find about more about the candidates at the State Ethics Commission website: www.ok.gove/ethics/public/cand-list.html. Hint: look under candidate committees to see who does and does not donate to the various campaigns. This can tell you a lot about the issues these candidates will be working on and who will influence their votes! Have a great summer and don’t forget to VOTE.
Patrick McGregor, Executive Director, OkACTE.