Outgoing State House Speaker Says Lottery, Expansion Of Gaming His Biggest Disappointment

Thursday, October 5th 2006, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Outgoing Oklahoma House Speaker Todd Hiett says creation of a statewide lottery and expansion of casino gambling in the state are the biggest disappointments of his 12-year career in the state Legislature.

Hiett, the first Republican House speaker in more than 80 years, says approval of the gaming measures was, quote, "the wrong direction" for the state. Both measures passed overwhelmingly in statewide referendums in November 2004 after the Legislature decided to put them to a vote of the people.

He says the cost to the state in bankruptcies, broken families and lost revenue through sales and other taxes and will outweigh revenue the lottery and gaming activity raises for education.

The 39-year-old Hiett is term-limited and is the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in the November 7th general election. Other candidates are Democrat Representative Jari Askins of Duncan, who is the House minority leader, and independent EZ Million of Norman.