April 20, 2013

Perryman touts importance of reading

CHICKASHA — I grew up in a house that received a daily newspaper, two weeklies and a number of magazines.  That was the norm.  My grandparents’ homes were the same.  So was their parents’.  Settling in western Caddo County in 1901, my Indiana great grandparents kept up with news from the area where they were raised through the ‘Churubusco Times’ and my Kansas great grandparents did the same with a paper from central Kansas.

Rural life in early Oklahoma was not an impediment to receiving the newspaper.  A morning edition of the Oklahoma City paper was delivered with the mail Monday through Friday.  Amazingly every week, “The Sunday Oklahoman” was faithfully and routinely dropped from an airplane into farmhouse yards in rural Caddo County.

We also had an old set of the World Book Encyclopedia.  Between newspapers, magazines, the World Books and of course the Bible, there was seemingly nothing worth knowing that could not be learned from the written word.

In 1965, despite a tight budget, my parents enrolled me in the Weekly Readers Book Club.  About once a month, a book would arrive in the mail.  Many of those adventures, biographies and poetry are still prized possessions supporting childhood memories delivered through the magical literary talents of novelists, scientists and historians.

One of the books was titled “Ribsy”.  Ribsy was a dog that was the central figure in a series of books by author Beverly Cleary.  At the time, my family had a dog named Bozo who was absolutely just as smart and just as important as Ribsy.  In fact, if I could have moved a few spots around on Bozo, or vice-versa, he and Ribsy could have passed for identical twins. Maybe that is why Ribsy and the rest of Beverly Cleary’s books became personal favorites of mine.

This past week, Allie Rupp, a young attorney from Minco and dedicated volunteer for children, invited me to D.E.A.R.  to read to groups of children at the state capitol.  I was not aware of the organization, but was pleasantly surprised when I learned that D.E.A.R. stands for Drop Everything And Read and is an annual event held each April 12, the birthday of children’s author Beverly Cleary.

When I arrived at the Capitol Rotunda on Friday, I was handed a book titled, “The Wild Adventures of Oklahoma Joe’s Ten Gallon Hat” and presented with, appropriately, a Ten Gallon Hat.  Physically, the children and I sat around the Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma, but in our minds, we were transported to District 56 to experience the culture, geography, flora and fauna of Kiowa, Caddo and Grady Counties

With the hat as a prop and lore of Native Americans, Buffalo, horses, Indian Parades, windmills, Redhawks and pickup trucks filled with watermelons, we were mesmerized by the story of Oklahoma Joe’s Hat thanks to D.E.A.R., Ms. Rupp and the sponsorship of Feed The Children.

Reading is essential.  First learning to read and then reading to learn.  The love of reading makes learning so much easier.  The next time you are struggling to find a gift for anyone, particularly a child, give them a book or a magazine or a subscription.  You will likely be opening a whole new world for them.

For years, as a practicing attorney, I read and thoroughly analyzed every word and every phrase and every clause in every Contract, Will, Trust, Statute or Court Decision.  I believed that if it was important enough to write, it was important enough to read.  The placement of a simple word or comma, often changes the entire meaning of a phrase, which in turn changes the meaning of a sentence and can sometimes totally alter the meaning of a Contract.

I have brought that skill and that ethic to my new job as a State Legislator.  I read everything.  On a number of occasions, I have discovered words or phrases that change the intended meaning of Bills.  I have been able to help both Republicans and Democrats improve their bills.  Sometime those changes are made in committee.  Sometimes the amendments are made between committee and the house floor and on a few occasions, my suggested changes have actually been incorporated on the house floor.

To exercise that skill, however, Bills must be presented in a timely fashion and not ramrodded through the process.  The House of Representatives has a rule that requires Bills to be placed on the calendar at least 24 hours prior to being considered.  Unfortunately and somewhat unfairly, every so often measures are presented in a way that other Representatives are not given 24 hours to review the measure.

I learned very quickly that many Representatives do not know what their own bills say.  Often, Bills are drafted by a legal staff based upon a request from a Representative.  Sometimes the Representative does not fully understand his own request and sometimes the legal staff does not understand the request.  Consequently, what is actually drafted is sometimes not close to the legislator’s intent.  

Hence my rule…Do not vote for anything without reading it “cover to cover”. This is a lesson that I learned during the first week of session when I agreed to vote for a measure based upon what another Representative told me that it said and I later learned that it contained more partisan political rhetoric than substance.  Now, I refuse to vote for any measure that has not been on the House Calendar for at least 24 hours.

There is absolutely nothing that is being considered in the Oklahoma House of Representatives that is so important that fair disclosure to all members of the House would not be possible. Reading is truly fundamental to virtually everything we do.

Sometimes our government faces a tight budget like my parents did when they signed me up for the Weekly Reader Book Club.  In retrospect, these 50 years later, I am thankful that they did.  

Today, we are faced with a choice between funding essential core functions of government, such as education, law enforcement, roads, bridges, a crumbling Capitol building or cutting the state income tax so we will have an average of three or four dollars per month back in our pockets.

You have a civic duty to get involved in the process and express your thoughts. Communicate to the legislature and the governor what choices you think need to be made.  Don’t let special interest groups and lobbyists be the only voice.  You too must provide input.

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

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video

Judging by our slow start, do you believe May will be a rough weather month?

     View Results