Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: May 18, 2011
Sen. Andrew Rice
Rice: lack of action undermines American Indian Cultural Center
Senate Minority Leader Andrew
Rice on Wednesday challenged Senate Republican leaders to allow
a floor vote on a proposed $40 million state bond issue to complete
construction of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.
Rice said, "all 16 members of the Democratic caucus are ready
to pass this important measure, and I challenge the Republicans
to do the right thing and allow this measure to be heard on the
floor of the state Senate."
The bond issue is a critical financing component for completion
of the $170 million cultural center and museum, Rice said. In 1994,
the Legislature and Gov. Frank Keating established the Native American
Cultural and Educational Authority (NACEA), a state agency authorized
to develop the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. Now,
for the second year in a row, Republican leaders have reneged on
their legislative duty by saying the proposal would not be heard
by the Senate.
“This is a short-sighted decision that directly undermines
the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum,” said Rice,
D-Oklahoma City. “If the state fails to uphold its responsibility
to this facility, it casts doubt upon the legitimacy of the project,
damaging private fundraising and commercial development efforts.
I’m extremely disappointed Republican leaders have decided
to abandon this project despite the good efforts of others involved
like the City of Oklahoma City, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
of Commerce, and our sovereign tribal nations.”
Rice noted that Republican legislative leaders have been made aware
that delaying completion of the project will dramatically increase
final costs for completing the facility.
“It is fiscally irresponsible for the state to abdicate its
responsibility to this project in the final stage of its completion,”
Rice said. “This project is poised to make Oklahoma an international
destination, producing significant tax revenues. If this proposal
doesn’t come to a vote in the Senate, it will be a tremendous
embarrassment to the Legislature and the state.”
For more information, contact:
Sen. Rice: (405) 521-5610