SMPS Political Panel: Today and Tomorrow with Drew Edmondson
Monday, January 8, 2018
DREW EDMONDSON: A lifetime of putting Oklahoma first.
From growing up in Muskogee to serving in the Navy and then as Oklahoma’s Attorney General for 16 years, Drew has spent his entire life fighting for the people of Oklahoma. He stood up to Wall Street, Big Tobacco, and the special interests who tried to take advantage of our families, farmers, and small businesses. As Governor, he’ll put Oklahomans first and take on the outside interests and partisan politicians who, every day, are trying to hurt our way of life.
Questions for Panelists:
- It seems our state, and even our nation, is perpetually plagued with revenue shortfalls and budgeting issues. How can you help put the state on a track to break this funding crisis cycle?
- Restore Gross Production Tax (GPT) to 7%
- Increase cigarette tax (this is the only real tax increase he supports)
- Create a segregated capital improvement fund to pay for one time expenditures such as roads and bridges etc.
- Create a second rainy day fund that supports and promotes economic development in the state
- What do you see as the biggest (top three) challenges our state will face in your first term as Governor? And, how will you address them?
- Budget – change state question 640 to lower the majority requirement to 60% from 75%
- Education – restore funding for education and reverse funding cuts to education
- Corrections and Mental Health – reform Corrections Department to treat mental health instead of using incarceration as a solution. Spend $3,000 on treatment as opposed to $30,000/year for incarceration
- Are you in favor of tax hikes to close budget gaps? How would you ensure that the revenue adjustments promote long-term stability?
- Specifically speaking , would you support an increased tax on tobacco and low-point beer? Yes. An increased tax on oil Gross Production Tax? Yes – don’t call it an increase rather just restoring it to what it used to be.
- Wine and beer sales in grocery stores and supercenters? Yes.
- Do you support the following ballot measures?
- State Question 788 Medical Marijuana – YES
- State Question 794 Constitutional amendment to add specific rights for crime victims – Unsure if that is the best solution for the problem. It could put Oklahoma in a bad decision
- What is your vision for Oklahoma? Does this vision address in a meaningful way the demographic and political changes occurring in the state?
- Vision for the state is a long term, consistent and steady growth. Avoiding peaks and valleys that distract from state economic growth.
- Eliminate partisanship to bring all parties to collaborate to provide Oklahoma solutions that are in the best interest of the state.
- Increase accountability as you increase appropriations for state agencies but first you must root out misspending and corruption that is prevalent with state agencies.
- Improve the quality of life for all Oklahoman’s, starting with education and followed by health.
- What role do you envision for state government? Will the size, scope, services and meaning of state government be maintained or change? How?
- A government that is properly funded, more efficient and free of fraud that will do what it is supposed to do.
- Would you encourage and provide state subsidies for the development of wind and solar energy?
- Yes, as a start-up. Once a facility is started they don’t need subsidies.
- What would you do to protect Oklahoma’s water?
- DEQ needs to be funded and empowered to protect water.
- How would you balance environmental protections and economic growth?
- Most of regulation on the environment come from federal government. Our DEQ has authority to enforce them. He will charge them to be reasonable with individual situations and have an administrative vs a criminal approach to enforcement of the laws.
- Urban revitalization: is it an issue for state government?
- It is happening organically and is working well. Need to focus efforts to ensure rural communities don’t dry up.
- Rural education needs to consider voluntary consolidation of school districts based on local desires.
- How do you envision the role of the state government in economic development; Should we incentivize economic development for companies?
- In favor to create good, high paying jobs for state of Oklahoma. The jobs should improve quality of life in the state.
- What is your view of the impact of immigration on Oklahoma? Positive or negative?
- Oklahoma reputation should remain positive through growth of the immigrant community in our state.
- Should minimum wage laws be changed?
- Keep pace with the federal minimum wage.
- How would you develop a good working relationship with the legislature and legislative leaders?
- Interpersonal communication with legislators to increase personal contact. Would invite legislators to the governors house to discuss issues that are important to the state and identify solutions. Will seek consensus whenever possible and take issues to the people for a vote if consensus cannot be reached. A good example would be GPT issue. If legislators cannot come to an agreement, then people should make decision to restore GPT level to 7%.
- What economic attributes set Oklahoma apart and how would you leverage them to promote economic growth in the state?
- Logistics that we enjoy in Oklahoma with our interstate system, rail and water can be leveraged to create more work because of the willing workforce that can fill jobs. Should leverage career tech system to support incoming industries, natural resources and water.
- Should market the state by showing we are prepared to invest in our state and invite other companies to do the same.
- Are there existing Oklahoma industries that could benefit from government incentives to further develop jobs and economic growth?
- We have organizations that are actively working with those industries that are creating jobs through organizations like I2E, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and solar, wind and geothermal energy entrepreneurs and spur career tech groups to create business incubators.