Steele Defends 'Oklahoma's traditional values'
By House Speaker-elect Kris Steele ~ In November, the voters of Oklahoma gave Republicans historic control of state government, granting us an unprecedented opportunity to enact meaningful conservative reforms.
With that increased power comes even greater responsibility. The decisions we make could impact citizens for decades, so we must focus on enacting policies that will provide the greatest benefit to Oklahomans in the most effective manner.
I believe our agenda must take a balanced approach that focuses on conservative solutions to fiscal and social policy.
Because the national recession has left many jobless and created a $600 million state shortfall, it is clear we must enact sensible reforms that allow Oklahomans to reach their economic potential and grow our state economy.
My hope is to establish an environment in Oklahoma that is conducive to job growth, job creation and job enhancement. That focus must include lawsuit reform, workers' compensation reform, restructuring of the tax code and similar polices. We must also put the state's financial house in order by streamlining government to eliminate waste and duplication — and, yes, that does mean combining some state agencies. Other important fiscal reforms include stabilizing state pension systems and addressing correction issues in a way that saves money and promotes public safety. In addition, we must reform education so Oklahoma children from all corners of the state can excel in college and thrive in the work force after they graduate.
To achieve these goals would be meaningful and significant, but I also recall the admonition, “What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?”
Oklahoma's challenges are not merely economic, but social as well.
House Republicans must remain a strong voice for Oklahoma's traditional values.
Throughout my career I have been a staunch supporter for the sanctity of life and protecting the unborn. I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record, and I will not apologize for my beliefs or back down from that stance. Whenever possible, we must continue to enact sensible policies that protect unborn children, aid women facing crisis pregnancies, reverse the trend of family fragmentation, and make adoption a viable, successful and thriving option. We must defend our constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms, defend against federal government overreach, and guard against those who intentionally break the law and pose a threat to public safety.
My commitment as a social conservative has not changed or wavered. To achieve these goals, I intend to be inclusive in using the gifts and talents of all members.
The way public servants conduct themselves is as meaningful as the goals they seek. Although some may not realize it, being polite and civil is not the same thing as being weak. We can be considerate of others' views even as we strongly fight for the things we believe in.
Together we can achieve great things for this state, and I look forward to the work ahead.