By Senator Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant
OKLAHOMA CITY – Hello again, everybody! As the pages of the calendar turn to September, it is time to begin work on the issues that will be considered during the 2008 session.
Over the five years I have served as your senator, the best ideas I take to the Capitol come from you, the people I represent. When compared to some of my colleagues, I am very lucky because my constituents have never been shy about sharing their concerns with me.
The battle two years ago to enact the death penalty for serial child molesters started with a phone call from a grandmother in Marshall County. She wanted us to do a better job of protecting Oklahoma’s children. Because of that phone call, a battle began that ultimately led to the bipartisan passage of landmark legislation to protect children.
The struggle to protect the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer – the underground water supply providing water for many of the communities I represent – began when a concerned group of citizens in Johnston County raised the issue. I will never forget the first visit I made to Tishomingo as a Senate candidate; the Arbuckle-Simpson was the greatest concern expressed.
Those conversations ultimately led to passage of Senate Bill 288 in 2003. That law made certain the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer could not be plundered for profit. The power to protect our future began with the voice of the people.
The “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday was a perennial concern of the people across southern Oklahoma. Hardly a week passed in the last five years that someone did not visit with me about this most common-sense of tax breaks. Those words shared with me by hundreds of you kept the flame burning, and ultimately led to the passage of the sales tax holiday this year.
The case of a former Republican lawmaker who got paid by the state while behind bars on a sex crime caused bipartisan outrage across the state. Oklahomans passed my constitutional amendment to prevent legislators from getting paid if they are behind bars. That was another law that began as a concern expressed by you.
As we begin our work to prepare for the 2008 session, I am again asking for ideas from you. Not every idea we have proposed has become law, but we have new opportunities ahead of us. That is the way democracy is supposed to work, and I am proud to be your voice in the Senate.
If you have any ideas for legislation, comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my Capitol office. You can reach it by calling (580) 924-2221 or (405) 521-5586.
You can also send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on the link on my website located at www.gumm.us. It is an honor to work for Oklahoma, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks again for reading the “Senate Minute,” have a great week, and may God bless you all.