State Senator George Young, D-Oklahoma City, released the following statement after the passage of House Bill 4455, also known as the LEAD Act of 2022.
“I asked questions on House Bill 4455 today, which called on the Oklahoma Senate to approve a plan to incentivize some unknown corporation and entice them to build a facility in the Tulsa County area. We need economic development in Oklahoma, and we must diversify our economy, as we’ve allowed oil and gas to dominate our economic well-being for far too long.
“This project and the accompanying legislation have the potential to positively impact our state’s growth and development, but my concern and question remain – how do we make sure the thousands of new jobs are filled with diversity in mind?
“My district is not geographically located close to this proposed project, but I do represent a large minority population. My concern is, will there be an effort to create a diverse workforce by advertising these positions and focusing on providing a diverse applicant pool?
“It seems we always get the response, ‘yes, it will be diverse.’ Yet, there seems to be a gap between diversity and who is found to fill these jobs. I propose we must have a system to monitor the level of diversity in new hires. I’m not afraid of words or terms like ‘quotas’ or ‘affirmative action,’ and if we need to create standards to make sure this happens, we must do it now – before the cement is set on the foundation for this great project.”