News Briefs: Walters speaks, Steele elected, ‘Money’ likes us

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Former Oklahoma Gov. David Walters will be guest speaker at the UN Day luncheon of the Greater Oklahoma City Chapter of the United Nations Association. The luncheon event is this Saturday at the OU Faculty House, 601 NE 14th Street. Tickets are $20; reservation information is available online at:

On Monday, House Speaker Pro Tempore Kris Steele was elected Speaker-designate for the 53rd Legislature. The House Republican caucus met to decide who will occupy the chamber’s top post, assuming the GOP holds its majority after the November 2010 elections.

Chris Benge of Tulsa, the current speakr, is term-limited, praised the Shawnee Republican likely to replace him: “He is a hard worker with a servant’s heart and I know he will serve the House to the best of his abilities.”

Among America’s large metropolitan areas, Money magazine has ranked Oklahoma City the nation’s best place to launch a new business.

The journal commented: “Stable and affordable, Oklahoma City is a haven for entrepreneurial risk takers. It boasts the second lowest foreclosure rate among large U.S. metro areas, along with the second lowest median rent. Through the Great Recession this former Dust Bowl capital has been spared many hardships, with a diverse local economy spread across medical research, energy, education and government.

“Oklahoma City also benefits from a high concentration of deep-pocketed local investors, many of them veterans of the oil and gas industry, who are willing to take a gamble on companies that might spend 10 years bringing a new product to fruition. And the city itself has been a powerful friend to life-science startups, funding the 1996 construction of the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park. The complex — 700,000 square feet of space in seven buildings on a 27-acre site — has attracted an influx of innovative biomedical firms.” 

Trailing Oklahoma City in the top 10 were Pittsburgh, PA, Raleigh, NC, Houston, TX, Hartford, CT, Washington, DC, Charlotte, NC, Austin, TX, New York City, NY, and Baltimore, MD. The analysis can be found online at:

Late Monday came word that the group Sister Cities International of Oklahoma City will honor Mayor Mick Cornett at its Global Vision Award Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the Petroleum Club. Cornett, honorary chairman of the group, will be recognized as the 2009 Citizen Diplomat, according to a release sent to The City Sentinel by Melissa Graffigna, President, SCI-OKC.