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STEP UP DAY (Week 2, Day 1):

I already had a full day scheduled:

  • 10:30 am - A&B Education Subcommittee
  • 11:30 am - Democratic Caucus meeting (with lunch)
  • 1:30 pm - Special Session
  • 3:00 pm - Transportation Committee, but by the time I arrived at the Capitol, there were already hundreds of teachers crowding into elevators, hallways, and Representatives’ offices.

There was only one bill to consider in the A&B Education Subcommittee, HB2859, which authorizes the ability of a taxpayer to contribute a portion of an income tax refund to the Public School Classroom Support Revolving Fund. It was passed out of committee.

Next, Caucus Meeting: The Democratic Caucus is VERY diverse. We have teachers, engineers, lawyers, business people, urban, rural, young, old, men, women, many ethnicities - you get the idea - VERY DIFFERENT PEOPLE WITH VERY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS AND VERY DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCIES. But they have very similar characteristics also; they are all conscientious, intelligent, reasonable adults who want only what is best for their constituents. We discussed every aspect of the Step Up Bill during the hour and a half we had before Session. Did we agree? On some things, yes; on some things, no. Did we disagree? Sometimes, but never disagreeably - always with respect to the other’s viewpoint. Arguments were logical and forceful on both sides. In the end, our votes were split, but our caucus wasn’t - we were still solidly in support of what is best for Oklahoma as we saw it. The vote failed, not because of the Democratic Caucus, but because Democrats and Republicans alike (actually more Republicans than Democrats) found the Bill lacking in one or more categories.

Let me explain why I voted the way I did: I was one of the 10 Democrats who voted in favor of the Step Up Bill. That does not mean I approved of the whole bill; there were parts I liked and parts I did not like. But because I myself am a former teacher and I have been in many of today’s teachers’ shoes and because I campaigned as the Education Candidate demanding change, I thought that any other vote would have been disingenuous to my constituents.

The most disappointing aspect of the entire House vote, however, was the press conference held by Speaker McCall after the vote failed. He totally abandoned any hope of leadership in his absolute refusal to seek any form of compromise, to continue any form of arbitration, to turn his back on Oklahoma teachers and public employees and walk away to his comfortable office and lifestyle. HE is a major part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

Because of the length of the House Session, the Transportation Committee Meeting was canceled.

Paid for by Karen Gaddis for HD75 2018
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