By REP. JAMES LOCKHART
This past week I had meetings across southeastern Oklahoma. Tuesday evening I traveled to Pete’s Place in Krebs for a meeting with the Oklahoma State School Board Association. The OSSBA meets in the spring and fall each year.
I am always interested to hear about educational issues from the perspective of a school board member. An OSSBA attorney informed us of several issues facing school boards in Oklahoma. During my speech, I pointed out how the school boards have their association, the superintendents have an association and the teachers have an association, and each one of these groups has its agenda and legislation they are for or against.
I stated there is only one thing that determines how I vote on an education issue, whether or not it is good for the kids. Too often we get involved in the processes of education reform and lose sight of the real objective, helping the children. When I decided to get in politics, it was for one reason only. What will it be like 20 years from now when our children are looking for a job? For me, that is a scary thought when I consider the path our state and nation has been on for the past few years.
Many Interim studies are being conducted at the State Capitol. The joint water committee has met several times and I was able to attend the first meeting. Water law was covered at this meeting and it was very interesting to listen to the different scopes of law that applied to water and water rights in Oklahoma.
I have been invited to attend an interim study about educational issues. I was recognized as an outstanding education legislator this past session and I serve on the National Conference of State Legislators’ education committee. Education and economic development go hand in hand, a good education is necessary to get a good job.
I also traveled to Antlers this week to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Division Headquarters for their hundred year celebration. I was pleased to see several hundred people turn out for this event. The Department of Transportation provides many services to our state. I am pleased to serve on the Transportation Committee. Improving our transportation infrastructure is an important part of improving our economy.
I would like to thank several people for their dedicated work on the Lovings Bridge and the bridge over the Blackfork River near Hodgen. The closure of these two bridges has been a great hardship for the people in those communities. Particularly, the school bus routes, fire departments and other emergency workers that have to travel extra miles each time they are called to do their jobs. I have coordinated with several people trying to expedite the process of rebuilding these bridges.
Commissioner Ceb Scott and staff have worked under tight deadlines the past couple of weeks to get the bridges approved for November letting. I want to send out a special thanks to US Senator Inhofe’s office, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, and Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley for taking the time to talk with me and for the help they have given LeFlore County. Without their help, these projects would have taken much longer.
I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your State Representative. If I can be of assistance please contact me at home 918-653-7571 or my office 405-557-7413 or by email [email protected] or find me on facebook.