Monday, July 19, 2010

Costello Responds To Reese Criticism

Republican labor commissioner candidate Mark Costello this afternoon responded to criticism by his primary opponent, Jason Reese.

Said Costello's news release: In a recent statement issued by my worthy opponent, Mr. Jason Reese, he states that a candidate comparison direct mail piece I put out “grossly misrepresents” his record.

Several legislative measures were used to elevate contrasting positions on important immigration issues in the direct mail piece. Each measure was properly referenced with a footnote identifying the source of the information.

The issue Mr. Reese hopes to evade, by his campaign rhetoric and incessant name-calling, is that inconvenient facts lay bare his pre-candidate position on important immigration issues that are out-of-step with mainstream Oklahoma thinking.

For example, one media referenced source, The Oklahoma Constitution newspaper, describes Mr. Reese opposition to HB1804, Oklahoma’s immigration law, as “a moderate Republican who has roundly criticized state legislation to restrict the flood of illegal immigration, was the first to join the race for the GOP nomination [for Labor Commissioner].”

Oklahoma immigration law, HB1804 was approved by 91% vote of House members and by 87% vote of Senate members. The mainstream public policy position on immigration reform overwhelmingly favored HB1804; yet, Mr. Reese stood against the measure in 2006; one might suggest his position was on the fringe of public opinion.

In 2010, the Labor Commission candidacy of Mr. Reese is inconvenienced by this fact.

The second immigration issue mentioned in the direct mail piece centers on HB3119, that would have required verification of citizenship to receive taxpayer funded benefits. Mr. Reese in his own words in a column he penned in 2006 in the Oklahoma Gazette newspaper, malign advocates of the measure by calling them “vulgar populists” and “nativists.” In the same Reese article, as reviewed by Isabel Lyman an immigration reform advocate, she writes “Reese also favors ‘some kind of earned legislation,’ code words for amnesty.”

Again, in our free society open differences of opinion are very appropriate; however, as a candidate for Labor Commissioner it’s an inconvenient fact for Mr. Reese in 2010.

Mr. Reese’ visceral response to facts and his own words is reminiscent of a quotation of President Harry Truman, “I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they think it's hell.” Or, put another way, Mr. Reese has an established public record on immigration issues that clearly falls outside mainstream Oklahoma thinking and he can’t take the heat.

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