Health care, childhood trauma, infrastructure and education were among the legislative issues tagged for high priority at the annual OneVoice agenda meeting in downtown Tulsa on Wednesday.
OneVoice is an advocacy initiative of the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce. It includes some 75 northeastern Oklahoma organizations, including chambers of commerce, local governments, school districts and higher education institutions.
Issues are discussed by subject-area task forces and recommendations formulated over the summer. Those recommendations are presented at the September summit meeting, where a final list of 15 state and 15 federal priorities is approved.
Almost 400 people participated in Wednesday’s summit, which Tulsa Chamber officials said was the most ever.
Many of the priorities, or variations of them, have been on the list for some time, but others are relatively new. These include a call for a regional water policy, including reinstatement of a state program that helped finance local water projects.
Also new to the list were adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. Highlighted in a series of Tulsa World stories this year, ACEs have emerged as an important factor in the mental, emotional and physical health of the state’s population.
Health care has been a prominent feature of OneVoice agendas in recent years, but the one adopted Wednesday endorses full Medicaid expansion for the first time. Specifically, the recommendation says Oklahoma should implement “Medicaid Expansion that serves the largest number of uninsured Oklahomans in the most cost-effective way while providing the largest finance return to the State of Oklahoma.”
Elements of the federal priorities included support for Americorps and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, renewal of the American Indian Lands Tax Credit, deregulation of natural gas, a new control tower at Tulsa International Airport, and bolstering vocational and “middle-skill” job training.
“The unique thing about this agenda is that elected leaders at the city, county and school board level, and regional leaders, get together to have discussions with business leaders,” said Tulsa Regional Chamber President Mike Neal. “It’s not written by one trade association or one group of people.”
“We had almost 400 people here today,” Neal said. “I don’t think anybody used profanity. Nobody screamed at anybody. It was an exercise in civil discourse.”
The OneVoice agenda will be formally announced early next year.
Tulsa Police Sgt. Jennifer Murphy talks about the Tulsa Police new reading program and school supply handout at the Darlington Apartments.