For Immediate Release
Angela Allmond, Communications Director
Oklahoma Democratic Party
Contact: Alicia Andrews, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair
Scott J. Hamilton, Executive Director
Dems Respond to “State of the State”
OKLAHOMA CITY—FEBRUARY 7 2022 – According to Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Alicia Andrews, the governor’s State of the State address was thin on facts and full of happy talk.
“The governor wasted no time in gloating over Oklahoma’s super-majority and throwing divisive language at the Biden administration. He must live in an alternative universe if he can condemn federal “overreach” while his administration has consistently had a top-down approach in government within our state,” said Andrews.
“He stressed the need to work together when the governor’s administration has shown no interest in working across party lines to better the lives of everyday Oklahomans. His constant talk of a road to making Oklahoma a “top 10” state is countered by the way his own administration has worked to keep us at the very bottom of most things good.
“Consider education, for instance. He may as well have had a crawl at the bottom of the screen saying, ‘We will stop at nothing to privatize Oklahoma’s schools.’ The Oklahoma Empowerment Act, he says, will allow the money to follow students, not systems. This is shorthand for, ‘our schools will all be privatized’ and that is just wrong,” continued Andrews.
“It was embarrassing to hear him talk about the ‘science of hope’ yet all the while supporting his party’s effort to eliminate social and environmental learning in our schools. And then he proposed paying Oklahoma’s best teachers six-figure salaries. These are nice words, but there is no plan to make this a reality.
“And then out of nowhere, the governor bashed teachers’ unions and falsely claimed that they are pushing for CRT or Critical Race Theory, something that is not taught in any K-12 school in Oklahoma or anywhere else in the country. He also claimed, and again, falsely, that the unions are opt-out rather than opt-in. Rep. Melissa Provenzano corrected this after the SOS speech,” Andrews continued.
“The governor also spoke of the droves of people leaving blue states to find freedom in red states. He tried—unsuccessfully—to make this tie to Oklahoma. By his own statement, only 15% of high school graduates are college ready. What right-thinking person would leave a state with a good educational system for their children only to be greeted with such dismal outcomes delivered by Oklahoma’s super-majority?” asked Andrews.
“The Oklahoma Democratic Party has long supported efforts to make our young people college- or career-ready. In his own words the governor said we need more nurses, teachers, and engineers. All of these require a college education. Does he not understand the link?”
One of the things most frustrating to Andrews was the attack the governor made on initiative petitions.
“He said that Oklahomans voted for medical marijuana because they were sold ‘a bill of goods.’ He clearly thinks Oklahomans are not smart enough to have an active voice in our government. His party has proposed legislation to make it even harder for Oklahomans to mount an initiative petition, a direct access to creating positive change for all of our citizens,” said Andrews.
“Finally, a glaring omission from the governor’s remarks were the Oklahoma lives lost due to COVID. Nor did he address our rankings regarding the handling of COVID. This level of insensitivity reflects the governor’s apparent attitude towards those not in a position to help him. I can only imagine how the families and loved ones of those who have died from COVID must feel knowing that their governor did not even mention the pandemic in his speech.”
All-in-all, said Andrews, the speech was riddled with rhetoric, half-truths, and outright misinformation.
“The people of our state cannot survive four more years of a divisive governor who continues to fight with our Indigenous Tribes, refuses to accept responsibility for a failing education system, and spends billions of dollars on infrastructure that was given to the state by a Democratic President and congress.
“I dare say that if you asked the average Oklahoman, they would not paint the same rosy picture the governor sees from his ivory tower,” concluded Andrews.
For more information about the Oklahoma Democratic Party, visit the party website at okdemocrats.org, or call party headquarters at 405-427-3366.