Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dank Says 'We Won, Now We Have To Deliver'

By Rep. David  Dank In The Oklahoman ~ Many have taken the Nov. 2 election results, which featured a Republican sweep of all state offices and dramatic gains in the Legislature, as a mandate from the people.

It is, but it is also a challenge. It is now up to those of us in elected office to deliver that which we promised to the people of Oklahoma.

Exit polling confirmed what those of us who were campaigning had long detected. Oklahomans were worried and scared, largely because of the overreaching actions of the Obama administration and the ongoing recession. They turned to Republicans to set the Oklahoma ship of state on the correct path.

As U.S. Rep. Tom Cole told the election night victory party, if we fail to deliver we should be fired in 2012.

Fortunately, the GOP agenda of more freedom, restrained taxation and reform of state government is closely attuned to the will of the people.

To deliver what we promised, we must take at least five clear actions. First, our conduct must be above reproach. Oklahoma has experienced too many sordid scandals throughout its history. Voters are right to demand good character from their elected officials, and anyone who violates that trust should be shunned.

Second, our state tax code needs a bottom-up overhaul to ensure that we collect the necessary funds to provide public services in ways that treat all fairly and do the least damage to a recovering economy. The best place to start is with our burdensome property tax system by lowering the cap and freezing the tax rate for hard-pressed seniors.

Third, something must be done to shift the excessive amount of available school dollars from administrative overhead to the classroom. The thumping rejection of State Question 744 was only a first step. Deploying the dollars we have for education in better ways should be a priority.

Fourth, our antiquated state government needs to be completely restructured. Gov.-elect Mary Fallin was absolutely right to question the wild proliferation of state agencies, boards and commissions and to propose streamlining. This is especially vital in tight budget times like these.

Finally, the new Republican super majority must be worthy custodians of the public's money. It's theirs, not ours, and we must be held accountable for how we spend it.

Our model should be Oklahoma's outstanding Sen. Tom Coburn, and that should start with a careful examination of tax credits to assure that only those that actually create jobs are enacted or retained.

I was honored to receive a strong vote of support from my constituents in District 85 on Election Day. But I am also old enough to know that today's approval can become tomorrow's rejection for those who fail to keep their promises. Republicans have a unique opportunity to remake our state — but only if we honor that public trust we were handed last week.

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