I’ve been out in the community a lot recently, visiting with people about the opportunities and challenges they see for the district. It’s clear that whether the people I’m talking with live in Broken Arrow or Tulsa, TPS or Union or BAPS school district, Wagoner or Tulsa county, there’s a lot of similarity in what they’d like to see the state government do (and not do).
We want state and local government to tackle key infrastructure problems, especially the two-sided coin of public education and economic growth. We simultaneously want government to stay out of our private lives; we Oklahomans love our personal liberty!
These conversations have me very excited to win this race and start working to remove barriers to economic innovation, including doing what we can to encourage STEM and workforce development initiatives throughout our public education system. Employers want certainty that Oklahoma will provide their employees and families with first class educational opportunities, and they want stability in the economic environment. Our state government has all too often hindered this in the past, focusing on the wrong things in the legislature in particular. We must align our priorities with the priorities of the people of Oklahoma, principally jobs. And to grow more highly paid jobs, we need highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs, hence the need for a first class educational system. It’s time to focus on both at the Capitol!
Other highlights to note: We recently launched this web site Day4OK.com including information on why I’m running, my beliefs and key positions, and more about my background and what I hope to accomplish if elected. I’m posting regular updates to the site’s “Updates from Bill” section, and I encourage you to follow and ask questions about anything and everything there.
We’ve also launched and I’m regularly updating our day4ok Facebook page, Twitter @day4ok, and Instagram @day4ok accounts. If you’re active on any of those services, please follow me there. The Facebook page in particular gives me a lot of options for communicating with you; an especially nice one is the Events calendar in which I’m posting upcoming events I’ll be participating in. Please join me at one, I would love to talk with you about your ideas and suggestions in person.
Finally, KTUL Channel 8’s Lauren Partain interviewed me and my family recently about my run for State Senate. You can watch the portion that aired as the top story on the 10pm news here.
We had a wide ranging discussion in which I was able to talk about the opportunity in front of the Tulsa area, and Oklahoma, to enable economic growth through innovation. I used the example of Amazon.com’s recent request for proposal (RFP) for its new second headquarter site and how metros around the nation bid on that proposal, including Tulsa.
Although Tulsa wasn’t selected to move on in the competition, if we tackle the infrastructure and other issues identified in the RFP, we will be much better prepared to grow and retain new startups here. And we will also be ready to attract other technology businesses to open up shop here. Even a 1/10th Amazon-sized enterprise would be a multi-billion dollar opportunity for Oklahoma!
One of the key elements identified by Amazon in their RFP was the need for a strong education system capable of producing thousands of professionals for them to hire. They expect to fill 50,000 new positions with an average employee salary of $100,000!
Given the constraints of television time slots, unfortunately our discussion about economic growth strategies didn’t make it to air. But the piece they broadcast does a decent job of introducing my involvement and passion for public education in Oklahoma. As I say in the interview, there’s no reason we can’t have a first class education system here. And when we do, and tackle a few other solvable problems such as public transportation shortcomings, opportunities like Amazon can be ours for the taking!
We are now moving into high gear on printing and distributing materials for the push to the Primary Election on June 26. Please continue to help however you can (donations, endorsements, assistance with door knocking or house parties or whatever else). Please register to vote by June 1 if you have not already done so. And please remember to vote either absentee, or in-person on June 26. We have to win the Primary to have a shot at the General election in November!