The Governor's Podium: State of the State 2001

Monday, February 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

By Frank Keating, Governor of Oklahoma

e-mail Frank Keating or visit the Governor's website.

The 2001 legislative session is underway, and on Monday I delivered my sixth State of the State address to the members of the House and Senate.

Here's what I said: Our biggest challenge is simple -- to make Oklahoma the kind of state that can grow and reclaim our lost congressional seat and add a seventh seat by 2011. There are four vital ways to do that.

First, we have to make Oklahoma smarter through further education reforms. I asked lawmakers to stress more core academics and to assure a full six-hour learning day for all students. I also proposed challenge and reward grants to schools seeking to succeed, instead of the old system of simply hurling more dollars at a giant education pot.

Second, we must make our state richer. The path to prosperity includes real workers' comp reform, cuts in income and estate taxes and letting you vote on Right-to-Work.

Third, a growing Oklahoma must be a safe Oklahoma. In addition to the criminal justice reforms that have resulted in three straight years of declining crime rates, we need to raise correctional officer pay and lower the DUI limit to .08. I will also push for sending more first-time non-violent drug offenders to treatment through community sentencing.

Fourth, we must continue working to make Oklahoma healthier. We have come far in cleaning up the scandal-plagued State Health Department. I have proposed a number of efforts to keep pursuing our campaign to reduce divorce, substance abuse, child abuse and other social ills.

I also made it clear to legislators that reapportionment of our congressional and legislative districts must respect the basic fairness principles of one-citizen, one-vote and community boundaries. I will veto any gerrymandered redistricting plan.

Oklahoma was the only state west of the Mississippi to lose a congressional seat this year. We have to regain that seat and pursue the kind of growth that will add a seventh seat in 2011. The time to begin is now!