April 9, 2010

Working Across Oklahoma Tour Update

Looking at the trip odometer this morning, I noticed we’ve traveled 3,600 miles since the Working Across Oklahoma tour started. The days have been long and we’ve spent lots of time on the road, but it’s all been worth it.

Today, we started in Oklahoma City where I dropped by the Arts Council to sit in on a meeting about the annual Arts Festival held in downtown Oklahoma City. It looks like the council has another year of great food, music and art on tap. Our non-profit organizations, like the Arts Council, do a great job of enhancing our communities with events like the annual festival.

After that, I went to the national Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, where I spoke at the dedication of a memorial to Eric Petty and other Oklahoma soldiers who have been killed in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Eric’s parents, Ronnie and Janet Petty, are dear friends and Janet has handled military affairs for my staff going back to my tenure as lieutenant governor. We must never forget the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform in the name of keeping us free. We also must never forget the burden shouldered by families like the Pettys who sacrifices we can never repay but will always remember.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the UPS facility in south Oklahoma City where I delivered packages and rode a truck along a UPS delivery route. I got a few strange looks from people who expected to see their normal delivery person when I knocked on doors.

Finally, I ended the day in Edmond where I helped fill out a tax return at Hale & Co. CPAs. The Hale CPAs use sophisticated software, but our tax code remains very complicated. It’s easy to see why so many Oklahomans are frustrated when it comes to filling out your taxes. We need to look at simplifying our tax code. Additionally, it’s important we keep our tax burden low in Oklahoma so that our families can keep more of their hard-earned money.

The Working Across Oklahoma tour continues to be a huge success and I sure have appreciated the knowledge and insight I’ve gained. It’s important our next governor be connected with the people and understands what issues concern them most. And that’s exactly why I’m out here on the road and exactly what I’m learning while working alongside Oklahomans in their offices, out in the fields and on the factory floor.

Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting Newcastle for a meet and greet at a local gun shop as well as working at the Reavis drug store in Pauls Valley.