The Pryor Times

February 13, 2014

Governor’s address gets chilly reception


PRYOR, OK — The 2014 legislative session commenced on Feb. 3 with Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address. This was my 10th address to attend. Normally a day of wild, over-the-top enthusiasm, this year's address was a little less rousing for some reason.

I was pleased to cheer the governor's comments on higher education, veterans’ affairs, and the presentation of a bond proposal to fund repairs at the State Capitol. But the negative rants against the federal government are becoming stale. This year’s address included the usual subjects:  Washington is broken and Obamacare is unsustainable.

Oklahoma leaders need to quit looking in the rear view mirror. It is far better to cheer for Oklahoma than cheer against our federal government. It would be refreshing to hear our congressmen offer a solution to the Romney-style healthcare program that is now the law of the land. Likewise, the Republican majority in Oklahoma City has failed to embrace any state-level solution. All I hear is populous, anti-everything political messaging.

 Though I cannot control the actions of my federal or state legislative counterparts, I can control my own legislative actions. Among the many issues touched upon by the governor, I do not support cutting our state budget or our state's income tax while education, healthcare, transportation, and corrections (where we spend over 80 percent of your tax dollars) are at 2008 funding levels. Additionally, I will continue to support the Oklahoma Plan for healthcare expansion that would provide insurance coverage for an additional 180,000 Oklahomans.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you at the Capitol. I appreciate you entrusting me with your vote, a responsibility I take seriously. Please let me hear from you with any questions you may have. I can be reached at 800-522-8502 or bensherrer@okhouse.gov. Until next week, God bless you.