In last week’s article I commented on the fact that this is the time of year when policy is already starting to be established for the upcoming session of the Oklahoma Legislature.
I noted that the important issue of property tax reform is set to be discussed as Representative David Dank has once again filed the property tax reform proposal. I also pointed to the encouraging sign that perhaps important legislative process reforms will be initiated following the convening of a task force by House Speaker-elect Kris Steele for that purpose.
I view these as positive first signs and I enjoy writing about them because it is has been my intent to use these articles to provide a special emphasis on positive news as a counter to all of the discouraging news we hear about in politics these days.
However, I feel an obligation to communicate all of the facts both good and bad and a Thanksgiving day news article about this year’s upcoming legislation destroyed some of this optimism and started a firestorm within the House Republican caucus. The article indicated that Steele and other Republican leaders want to place an emphasis on economic issues while reducing focus from frivolous distractions such as the defense of traditional values, immigration reform, second amendment issues, and presumably the related states’ rights legislation. Since when have Republicans considered traditional values issues to be frivolous?
Until now, this type of rhetoric has been used by the Democrats to demonize traditional values legislation and the courageous legislators who advanced it. To have this attitude now being seemingly being endorsed by our own Speaker of the House is devastating.
A follow-up article indicated that one of the issues on which Steele does want us to focus is his proposal to allow government entities to regulate smoking within privately owned businesses. Very few voters voted for the Republicans in order to empower Republicans to allow government to get bigger. It was a shock to realize that our leadership would seem to suggest that we should not focus on the issues which have defined our party but instead should consider allowing government regulation to expand.
Republicans were elected to head up both the legislative and executive branches of state government for first time in state history because the people of Oklahoma desperately want state government to stand up to the federal government. Oklahomans want us to assert our rights under the tenth amendment, stop the insanity being propagated in Washington DC, roll back mountains of government waste and inefficiencies which generations of Democrat office holders allowed to become institutions of state government and which are costing Oklahoma taxpayers so much money in waste, shrink the state tax code so that Oklahoma can compete with states who do not have an income tax for economic growth, defend against the assault on the traditional values which have made our nation great, and remove the government regulations which have built up over the years against our important freedoms such as our second amendment rights.
Along with Oklahomans, I maintain that these issues are not frivolous distractions. Rather, they are the core principles which resulted in Republicans being elected to office. It appears these principles are now under an all-out assault and in the next few months it will be our responsibility as officer holders to stand up and defend them despite efforts by our leadership to do otherwise.
This will be a fight to preserve honestly and integrity. Nearly every Republican campaigned for office on these principles (especially those who represent rural areas where traditional values are extremely important). It is shocking to think that once elected, Republican office holders would break their word and abandon the principles espoused in their campaign materials simply because the powerful special interests in Oklahoma City view them as embarrassing frivolous distractions.
Next week I will provide some insights as to why conservative office holders are especially frustrated by this turn of events.