January 19, 2013

Perryman praises youth for work against tobacco

GRADY COUNTY — When it comes to tobacco and its use by Americans, it is remarkable what a difference a generation makes.  Most of us remember that in the not too distant past, anyone of any age who could reach high enough to drop quarters into a vending machine was legally qualified to purchase a pack of cigarettes.  Snuff was sold in containers that when empty were perfectly acceptable “designer glassware.”

What many do not remember is that as recently as 2004, the federal government was subsidizing the raising of tobacco as a cash crop. Fortunately, our society’s view of tobacco has changed and in Oklahoma many of our youth are playing an active role in that transition.

This awareness has come about because of the harsh reality that tobacco kills 16 Oklahomans each and every day.  That is over 5,800 Oklahomans each year…more than car accidents, murders, alcohol and illegal drugs combined.

As of this year, 100% of the schools in Kiowa County, including Mt. View-Gotebo and Hobart have adopted 24/7 tobacco-free policies.  Five of eleven schools in Caddo County, including Anadarko, Binger-Oney, Boone-Apache, Carnegie and Hydro-Eakly have adopted that same 24/7 tobacco-free policy, as has the Kiowa/Caddo Technology Center.

Several area schools have active Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Teams.  Those in around District 56 and located in Caddo and Kiowa County include Binger-Oney, Boone-Apache, Carnegie, Cyril, Hydro-Eakly, Hobart and Mt. View-Gotebo.

Last week, I attended a tobacco education reception hosted by the Western Oklahoma Tobacco Control Coalition and the Caddo/Kiowa Tobacco Education Coalition.  The presentation was extremely enlightening and included representatives from the State Department of Health and the American Cancer Society and a speech by Dr. Terry Cline, Oklahoma’s Commissioner of Health.

At the Program, I was fortunate to be seated with representatives from the Carnegie SWAT Team and enjoyed visiting with them and their sponsor and particularly enjoyed the presentation during the program by Kade Squires, of the Carnegie SWAT Team.  Unfortunately, this year, almost 20,000 Oklahoma children will try their first cigarette and over 9,000 youth will become regular smokers.

Here is a mind boggling statistic for you…Tobacco use costs Oklahomans and Oklahoma businesses more than $2.2 billion annually in direct and indirect medical expenses and lost productivity.  According to the 2012 report of the United Health Foundation, Oklahoma ranks 47th in the percentage of people who smoke, topped only by West Virginia, Kentucky and Arkansas.

It is not surprising that Oklahomans rank 43rd in the nation in overall health.  I am inundated weekly with information from special interest groups about how tort reform, workers compensation reform and pension reform need to be addressed by the legislature to help bring jobs to Oklahoma.  It would seem that if the citizens of Oklahoma working together, through the elimination of tobacco use, would add $2.2 billion annually to the bottom line of the businesses that employ them, employers would flock to this state to take advantage of healthy workers.

  Listen to Kade and the SWAT team members from your community.  They have the statistics and are ready, willing and able to address the problem of tobacco…for the COMMON GOOD.

The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma requires both houses of the state’s legislature to convene in January of each odd numbered year to organize and then to meet in joint session in the hall of the House of Representatives to formally recognize and publish the election results from the previous November.

According to mandate, the organizational session was held last week, and eight members of the House of Representatives were allowed to address the full House of Representatives.  

I was honored and humbled to have the opportunity to be one of the eight members who were chosen to speak.  I am appreciative to Senior Representative Joe Dorman for his role in allowing me an honor that is not normally offered to a freshman legislator.

During my speech, I urged the Oklahoma House of Representatives to do what is best for Oklahoma and to be courageous and unify to send a message of cohesion and bipartisanship.  I encouraged them to move forward to find solutions to the problems faced by Oklahomans and that their showing of statesmanship would restore faith in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from Guymon to Broken Bow and from Miami to Altus.  You can see my speech, as well as all house proceedings on the Oklahoma House of Representatives website.

In other business, the filing deadline for new legislation will be this week and I am still in the process of finalizing language and paring down my list of bills to the eight allowed by House rules.  At this time, it appears that I will likely file two general government bills, three municipal government bills, two education bills and one tourism bill.

Text Only
  • Fightin' Words: Lessons from sports, even in tragedy

    This week, Americans got to hear firsthand accounts, some for the first time, of a sporting tragedy, the lessons from which are as poignant as sport itself.

    April 18, 2014

  • Weir speaks on good traffic stops do for society

    On the law enforcement side the county was fairly quiet last month. There was an incident which may not have seemed of great importance to many, but I would take exception to that.

    April 15, 2014

  • The Hero of Haarlem…For the Common Good

    “Trudging stoutly along by the canal,” as the story goes, the eight year old son of a Dutch sluicer was returning home from delivering cakes to a blind man. Humming as he passed the dikes, he noticed that recent rains had made his father’s job even more important.

    April 11, 2014

  • Morning Ralph…Morning Sam…For the Common Good

    Deep in the vaults of Warner Bros. there is a series of Merrie Melodies cartoons featuring Sam the Sheepdog and Ralph E. Wolf.  It has been years since I have seen the animation; however, the tan sheepdog with the unruly mop of auburn hair and the thin brown wolf that bears an uncanny resemblance to Wile E. Coyote (except for Ralph’s red nose and Wile’s yellow eyes) are readily recalled.

    April 4, 2014

  • Fightin' Words: A right way and a wrong way to treat a college players union

    Initially the ruling by the National Labor Relations Board over Northwestern football players' ability to unionize was, at first, the start of a ticking time bomb on college sports.

    March 28, 2014

  • In New Orleans, Katrina victims live out Hollywood eco agenda

    I visited Lousiana recently to do some reporting on Sen. Mary Landrieu's bid to win a fourth term in a tough political year. But before heading to the key parishes that will determine Landrieu's fate this November, I stopped by New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward to see how rebuilding efforts are faring nearly nine years after Hurricane Katrina.

    March 25, 2014

  • BLOG: America is doing all it can to Russia

    The conservative response to President Obama's handling of the Ukraine crisis is a perfect example of what some Americans need to learn about how the world around them works now.

    March 21, 2014

  • In jam over Obamacare, Dems don't know which way to turn

    When it comes to Obamacare, many Democrats take comfort in polls showing a small majority of voters, or at least a plurality, oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act. To them, that proves the Republicans' do-away-with-it position is out of sync with voters as this November's midterm elections approach.

    March 18, 2014

  • Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo and the Common Good

    The term “Spaghetti Western” is used to describe a movie about the American West but directed and produced by Italians and normally filmed in Europe. This motion picture genre has been around for more than 70 years.  Outdoor scenes are often shot in an area of Spain that bears a striking resemblance to the Southwestern United States.

    March 14, 2014

  • Have Bazooka - will travel and the Common Good

    For seven seasons from 1957 through 1963, actor Richard Boone played a gentleman gunslinger named Paladin in the CBS television, Have Gun—Will Travel.  The storyline involved Boone’s character, a highly educated and cultured mercenary whose residence was the Hotel Carlton in wild-west era San Francisco.  Paladin’s business card intimated that he had no qualms about using his Colt .45 revolver or his single action Marlin rifle for hire, wherever his career would take him.

    March 7, 2014