Twelve Senate Republican freshmen issued a joint statement today calling on the House of Representatives to allow a vote on the all-inclusive revenue package that passed the Oklahoma Senate in an overwhelming fashion on Monday.
“Our first year in the Oklahoma Senate has been challenging, but we are all extremely proud of our chamber for the willingness of senators from both political parties to show statesmanship and work together to fix the problems directly in front of us. We are grateful for President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat and the entire Senate leadership team for their tireless work in trying to get a budget deal done. They’ve kept us informed, sought our input and helped us navigate through the regular session and special session. We also appreciate the Senate Democrats for leadership and willingness to put the interests of Oklahoma ahead of partisan politics.
“Whether or not you agree with this revenue package, the A+ budget deal is the best way to get teachers a pay raise, prevent devastating cuts to mental health services, rural hospitals and child welfare services, and address the systemic problems within our budget and avoid shortfalls in the future. It is one way to accomplish all those goals. The bill deserves a vote on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives as quickly as possible so we can deal with all these issues and finally resolve the special session.
“There are real lives at stake. There are unacceptable consequences if the Legislature fails to act. Whether as candidates or elected officials, we’ve all heard one common refrain from our constituents: fix this mess. We were sent here to cast votes, not to cast blame.
“With that in mind, we would like it noted that our caucus is proud to serve in an Oklahoma Senate that offered a bipartisan solution to the budget crisis. We are also encouraged that the House is moving forward on our suggestions. We are confident that the House will join us in taking the opportunity to take action and solve these problems.” – Senate Freshmen Republican Caucus: Micheal Bergstrom, Adair; Dewayne Pemberton, Muskogee; James Leewright, Bristow; Greg McCortney, Ada; Roland Pederson, Burlington; Tom Dugger, Stillwater; Lonnie Paxton, Tuttle; Julie Daniels, Bartlesville; Chris Kidd, Addington; Dave Rader, Tulsa; Adam Pugh, Edmond; and Paul Scott, Duncan.