Capitol Report Q&A: Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Sunday, April 22, 2012
4/22/12 at 4:23 AM
Occupation: Chief operating officer, Better Business Bureau of Eastern Oklahoma
Education: Bachelor's degree from Langston University and master's degree from Oral Roberts University
Leadership position: Vice chairman Senate Finance Committee and majority whip
Tenure: First elected 2010
Your first career was as a pastor. How does your training as a pastor and a consumer advocate translate into being a legislator?
"Actually, being the president of the Better Business Bureau and having been a pastor - both skills - have really been useful here in trying to resolve problems, find solutions and get people on the same page to get something done."
Do you think of yourself as a liberal, a moderate or a conservative?
"Definitely a conservative. I registered as a Republican when I was 18 years old, coming from a Democratic family. It's been part of who I am since I was a kid."
What are your most important issues as senator?
"The ultimate issue for me is making sure that the citizens are able to operate their lives with less government. I think that's exemplified by the issues you see me working on, like the pseudoephedrine bills, which seek to make sure law-abiding citizens can get the medications they need without government controlling them as prescriptions. I think you can (also) see it in the possible reduction of the state income tax - so people can keep more of their hard-earned income."
There's a lot of versions of income tax reform out there. What's your preferred model?
"For me it's the revenue-neutral model - to make sure we are responsible in the way in which we eliminate the state income tax to make sure we have our ducks in a row and understand what we are doing without hurting people in the process. The revenue-neutral model is really aimed at eliminating ineffective and outdated tax credits to be able to help substantiate that reduction without people seeing a reduction in services or funding to education."
You're only in your second year in the Legislature, but you've been on the front row of two controversial issues - pseudoephedrine and the income tax debate. Do you feel like you jumped into the fire of state Capitol politics?
"I feel very fortunate that I've had the opportunity I've had in a short period of time. ... There are certain issues we have to address. It might be easier to sit on the sidelines and watch, but I've been fortunate to be included in leadership positions on both of these issues ... ."
Original Print Headline: Q&A: Sen. Rick Brinkley