Thursday, December 2, 2010

Paul Wesselhoft Defends Kris Steele, Says 'Social issue bills' Will Have Equal Priority In 2011

Rep. Paul Wesselhoft of Oklahoma City defends House Speaker-elect Kris Steele with this post on his Facebook profile page:

Rep. Paul Wesselhoft
Along with numerous conservative lawmakers, I was deeply disturbed by the Thanksgiving headline in the Oklahoma relating to the Speaker-elect’s “focused” Republican agenda.

I actually had a visceral reaction which curtailed my appetite for turkey. Obviously,

Speaker-elect Steele has never been the Speaker of the House or held a leadership position of this magnitude. He has and will make mistakes. The Speakership is a challenging role one matures into. However, citizens display little patience in allowing latitude for growth; they expect virtual perfection from day one.

One of the most important responsibilities of any Speaker is clearly to communicate to the citizenry and to the caucus which elects him. The future Speaker did not communicate the republican agenda accurately. It was not just the fault of Steele, however; there were others involved in this process. Others were interviewed; a reporter and a reporter’s editorial supervisor were involved to some extent. Do not be naive; each of these agents has a particular predisposition reflected in the piece.

Rep. Steele was asked to enumerate his legislative priorities. He did so emphasizing the state’s economy, job enhancement, education, prison issues, etc. He did not communicate or intend to communicate that other important conservative social or constitutional issues would be jettisoned or not receive valid attention, only that economic issues were of highest priority in his mind. This is hard to argue with concerning Oklahoma’s economy.

He certainly never intended for the interview to display disrespect for second Amendment Rights, immigration reform, pro-life measures or any other conservative social or Constitutional issue. He too, feels that these issues are of high importance which is reflected in his voting record.

A leader of any important organization learns that when he or she speaks to the press, they do so as the embodiment of their institute. The lesson learned here is when one’s communications are without clarity, distorted or taken out of context; one must quickly and strongly set the record straight!

Unfortunately, this did not occur concerning timeliness and strength of argument.

I am very confident that at the Republican caucus of December 6 and 7th this Speaker-elect will unequivocally insure us that both economic and conservative social and constitutional issue bills will have equal priority as put forth in the Republican agenda and that certain fair rules will be adopted to accomplish this end. I hope we can all take a deep breath.

I have told various groups and individuals and I tell you now not to give up on this future Speaker or judge him prematurely. He is well equipped to make a significant contribution. His entire life has prepared him for this moment. He, along with the 53rd Legislature and the new governor, are actually posed to write Oklahoma history!

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