Let’s do something different.
Four-day school weeks, overcrowded prisons, a chronic teacher shortage, failing hospitals ... the list goes on and on.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative headlines and think things may never change. But as Linda and I have been traveling this great state, we see momentum building and a push for a different way of thinking.
We see a desire to throw off the partisan political shackles that have held us back. We see it all across Oklahoma, and we see it in Democrats, Republicans and independents.
We see an Oklahoma that wants to be something different. So do I.
Let’s do something different by fully funding public education. As I’ve spoken with educators, parents and administrators across the state, they’ve told me about tattered textbooks, broken computers and no money for replacements.
Instead of starving public schools, let’s do something different and invest in our children by investing in their education.
Let’s do something different by treating our teachers with respect. I’ve heard time and again that teachers feel a lack of respect from their elected leaders. I’m a former teacher, so I know how difficult that job can be. That’s why I walked with teachers, students and parents day after day as they protested at the state Capitol last spring and why I supported the teacher pay raise.
But if you think the teacher walkout was only about a pay raise, you weren’t listening to the teachers. Respect is long overdue, not just in words but in deed. Let’s do something different and listen to their concerns.
Let’s do something different to save our hospitals. Let’s accept our share of the federal Medicaid funding so we can keep our hospitals and clinics open and available to our friends and neighbors.
Access to quality health care is important, especially in rural Oklahoma, where hospitals are closing, most recently in Wilburton.
I just visited the hospital in Pauls Valley, where officials have resorted to a GoFundMe campaign to keep the doors open. Refusing to bring Oklahoma tax dollars back to our state based solely on politics is not leadership — it’s a dereliction of duty. It’s our money after all, and it’s being spent in other states.
Let’s do something different and bring our tax dollars home.
Let’s do something different with an open and transparent government. Good government dies in the dark, and that’s why I’ll create an Office of Open Government to ensure agencies and employees are responsive to the people they serve — not beholden to the special interests.
I’ll also call on our state Legislature to stop hiding behind closed doors and make the legislative branch subject to our open meetings and open records laws.
Let’s do something different by electing a governor with real solutions, not just catchy slogans. I’ve talked with folks from one corner of the state to the other, in our largest cities and our smallest towns.
They tell me they are tired of the chaos and partisanship at the state Capitol. They want a governor who will take our state in a new, more prosperous direction. They want a governor who will fix education, increase access to health care and let the sun shine on the actions of their government. They want plans, not platitudes. They want something different.
There is a clear choice on Nov. 6. A choice between the same failed policies that have driven Oklahoma to the bottom in so many areas or the chance to do something different.
I say let’s do something different, and I humbly ask for your vote.
Drew Edmondson is the Democratic Party nominee for governor.