March 30, 2010

Manufacturers Say Decreasing Costs of Business Key for next governor

The second day of our “Working Across Oklahoma” tour started off bright and early as we drove to Tulsa. The work definitely would be hands as I was going to work as an aerospace technician at Nordam and as a machinist at Webco in Sand Springs.

The aerospace industry has been important to me for a long time. As lieutenant governor, I organized our state’s first aerospace summit, which has grown into one of the premier industry events across the country. At Nordam, we met with the company executives and then headed to the factory to get to work! My job for the day was helping make windows for Boeing 747s. We used, for lack of a better word, a huge sander along with water and a cleaning agent to achieve a perfectly clear airplane window. I even got to take home one of the windows I worked on.

The technical skill of the fabricators was amazing! It just goes to show that as a state we must ensure we have a skilled and educated workforce so that companies like Nordam have the workers they need to succeed and so that other companies will want to relocate here to hire our citizens. A better educated workforce will get us better jobs, and that’s exactly what we’ll get when I’m governor.

In Sand Springs, I went to work with the machinists. Webco manufactures specialty tubing and other metal products, some of which are used in offshore oil drilling. On the factory floor, we used the heavy-duty machines to straighten some metal piping.

I got a chance to speak with Webco’s vice chairman, Dana Weber, and she told me workers’ compensation costs are very expensive for their company. Obviously, companies like Webco want to take care of their workers should they get injured on the job, but I don’t think they should be taken to the cleaners with excessive costs.

Making Oklahoma a more pro-business environment will be my main focus as governor. And a key component of that will be to ensure we reduce the costs from predatory lawsuits and reform our outdated workers’ compensation system.

Finally, I gave an official campaign kick-off speech at the Tulsa Press Club. Make sure to watch the Tulsa news tonight to see our stories!

The jobs I did today were tough and the people I worked with equally diligent and up to the task. I’ve always said the strength of our state lies within our people and today shows just how true that is. With a governor like me focused on removing the impediments standing in the way of our businesses and the hard work and determination of our people, Oklahoma can move forward to a more prosperous future!