Senate Republicans continue commitment to rural Oklahoma

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Members of the Senate Republican Rural Caucus unveiled their 2010 legislative policy agenda at a news conference this week. Caucus members pledged to continue efforts protecting resources and assets vital to the well being of Oklahoma’s economic development and job growth.

Despite budget circumstances, Senator Ron Justice of Chickasha, Caucus Chairman, said the group stands ready to work on behalf of rural Oklahoma. “Oklahoma citizens have seen their fair share of difficult times,” said Justice. “Even now, families across our state and throughout rural Oklahoma are forced to make tough decisions in order to deal with the struggling economy.”

Sen. Justice continued, “Rural Oklahoma has so much to offer our state and nation and we as a caucus feel it is important now more than ever to defend this fundamental element of our lives. Our vision for rural Oklahoma continues to be one of strength and growth, and we believe the reforms we discuss today provide achievable goals that will continue us in a positive direction.”

The Republican Rural Caucus 2010 Agenda unveiled Wednesday includes:

*   Protect agriculture tax exemptions.

*    Continue efforts to direct more motor vehicle taxes and fees to 
the improvement of county roads and bridges.

*    Oppose any legislation that requires forced consolidation of 
public schools.

*    Ensure protection of property rights.

*    Improve access to rural health care professionals and facilities.

*    Enhance access to ambulance and fire services in rural Oklahoma.

*     Address first responder training issues in rural Oklahoma.

*     Continue to support rural conservation issues.

The Republican Rural Caucus is made up of 13 members from rural Oklahoma and those with rural roots: Senators Ron Justice of Chickasha, District 23; Patrick Anderson of Enid, District 19; Don Barrington of Lawton, District 31; Jim Halligan of Stillwater, District 21; Harry Coates of Seminole, District 28; John Ford of Bartlesville, District 29; Mike Johnson of Kingfisher, District 22; Brian Bingman of Sapulpa, District 12; Todd Lamb of Edmond, District 47; Bryce Marlatt of Woodward, District 27; David Myers of Ponca City, District 20; Mike Schulz of Altus, District 38; Anthony Sykes of Newcastle, District 24. In the statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Caucus members said their purpose “is to provide a voice for the citizens of rural, small town Oklahoma and promote their issues at the State Capitol.”