BY JOE DORMAN
It has been a pretty busy time for me since the Take Shelter Oklahoma petition drive began on September 18! We have been adding volunteers daily to the effort and I appreciate each of you who have taken sheets to help collect the necessary amount of signatures. I will be sure to mention all the locations in our area who have agreed to have petitions at their business in the near future. If you would like a copy of the petition to help circulate, email TakeShelterOklahoma@gmail.com for a copy. For more information, be sure to keep up with things at www.TakeShelterOK.com on the Internet.
The thing that I have appreciated the most in this effort is the work done by the parents of the children who died in the May tornado that hit Plaza Towers Elementary. Each has been very active as the honorary chairpersons for the petition drive. They have dedicated time each day to promoting the cause, while at the same time helping raise funds for the private venture assisting local schools. This initiative, called Shelter Oklahoma Schools, is coordinated by four legislators assisting with the fundraising and distribution of those dollars to schools in need. Their website is www.ShelterOklahoma Schools.org and the effort is run by Reps. Jon Echols, Mark McBride, Eric Proctor and Richard Morrissette; two democrats and two republicans. I had the chance to discuss both efforts with Rep. Echols on Inside the Issues, shown on Cox Channel 3 and 703, so that will air several times this week in their service area.
I am especially pleased that Friend Public Schools and Carnegie Public Schools will be receiving assistance from this group to help build shelter space. Shelter Oklahoma Schools has collected just over $2 million from groups (including a donation from me) to help those schools with no bond capacity left or that simply do not have the tax base to build shelters. This effort, combined with Take Shelter Oklahoma, will certainly get us to the goal of getting security standards and proper tornado shelters in every school in Tornado Alley!
While working on this effort, I am still very busy with the work associated with the job. I had the pleasure of recently attending the annuals meetings for Rural Electric Cooperative (REC) and Cotton Electric Cooperative. Both of these organizations provide an outstanding service to areas of my district by supplying affordable electricity to those in their service area. These cooperatives are still maintained by the membership and the votes at the annual meeting help keep the citizens involved and informed. I cannot say enough good things about our electric cooperatives, especially with the work they have recently done to repair lines in areas where theft has occurred and hurt not only the delivery of electricity, but also impacted phone service.
On the discussion of utilities, I have been in contact with Union Pacific and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. I have confirmed there will be a community meeting sometime next month with Union Pacific to discuss issues regarding delays and hope that some solution will happen from this town hall. I will keep you posted as dates for solidified.
I am looking forward to a busy upcoming week! On Tuesday, I will be speaking to the Leadership Duncan on the upcoming session in 2014, and then will visit the Rush Springs Lions Club, followed by attending the Sterling FFA Labor Auction. Then on Wednesday, I will attend the a meeting with Caddo County school superintendents, then address the Chickasha Lion’s club, followed by serving on a panel about the legislative process at the State Capitol. On Thursday, I will participate in interim studies at the Capitol that morning, and then visit with high school students in Stillwater about the YMCA Youth in Government program. Friday also has meetings, followed by a chance to read to students at the Elgin Public Library on Saturday! As you can see, this part-time job I have keeps me on the go, and I cannot thank you enough for allowing me the chance to serve you in District 65!
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me to discuss one of these or another issue, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is www.joedorman.com on the Internet. Thank you for taking the time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.