October 29, 2013

Shelter plans marching forward

Guest Columnist


It has been an interesting time surrounding the Take Shelter Oklahoma petition drive recently.  Attorney General Scott Pruitt submitted revised language to the petition’s ballot title which our committee felt was biased and politically motivated.  David Slane, an attorney in the Oklahoma City area and OKC Fox News legal analyst, is volunteering to assist in our effort.  The A.G. has five business days to submit an intent letter for modifications, but he waited seven days to notify that he was taking this action.  Between the prejudiced language and his missing the deadline, we feel confident the Oklahoma Supreme Court will keep things fair and balanced.  We also hope this will be resolved quickly as every effort they exert to fight this slows down the collection of signatures by our volunteers and accomplishes their goal of defeating this by any means possible.

On Thursday, I will hold my interim study on tornado shelters.  If you can attend, it will be in room 432a at the State Capitol.  This discussion will go into detail regarding the concerns we face as a state with a lack of storm shelters and security standards in our schools.  I am pleased that this bi-partisan hearing, requested by over twenty legislators, will focus on solutions and hopefully achieve some course of direction for the legislature.  

 I also want to congratulate Kylie Carroll, a senior at Fletcher High School, on turning eighteen and registering to vote!  Kylie is a member of our Take Shelter Oklahoma Steering Committee and she registered to vote this past Thursday.  She also signed the petition after she registered.  She was very happy to make her support official by signing the petition, along with the work she has done to help collect signatures before that.  I am also very proud of the Youth in Government students who are assisting this effort.  Governor Brock Trotter, Lieutenant Governor JD Baker and Speaker Andrew Valdez are all working in Edmond to help with the cause!  These students understand how important it is to protect those in our schools now and for the future!

It was a fantastic weekend at the Chickasha Firefighters Chili-Cook-off and Car Show!  The cookers all had an excellent time at the Grady County Fairgrounds and congratulations to the Ninnekah Firefighters and Dale Thompson, the Grady County Emergency Management Director for their winning entries.  I had my chili there and was able to feed quite a few people, and I also managed to collect several hundred signatures.  This was a great time all-around and helped raise some much-needed funds for our firefighters!

I am taking a different role of rating chili, instead of cooking, this upcoming weekend by serving as a judge at the Alex Fall Fest on Saturday in their town park, so stop by and enjoy a fun time from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The proceeds from this event go to purchase children’s playground equipment.  This third annual festival is always a good time, so I am hoping for some great weather and a big crowd!

Also, this weekend will be the big event for Take Shelter Oklahoma with the volunteer collection drive that will be held at every high school football game in the state!  We are working at most of the 173 home games around Oklahoma on Friday night with a wide variety of volunteers who feel that the direction we are going to help fund tornado shelters is the right course of action.  Please look for volunteers with clipboards as you enter the game and sign the petition to help get this to the ballot for a vote of the people!  We must get over 155,000 signatures by December 16 to have a chance to let the voters of Oklahoma decide if this is the right way to help fund shelters and school safety, rather than local school districts bearing the full cost by raising their property taxes.

     If you want to keep up with the activities of Take Shelter Oklahoma, or you would like to volunteer, please email or contact us through the website at on the Internet.  

It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me to discuss one of these or other issues, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My email address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082, and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking the time to read this column, and I look forward to seeing you soon.