The superintendent/CEO of Tulsa Tech, the Oklahoma CareerTech system campus in Oklahoma’s second largest city, bitterly criticized an old friend in an email that has gained wide circulation in recent days.
Kara Gae Neal wrote the email on Sunday, May 15 to state Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, a Tulsa Democrat. Neal was angry with the legislator for signing a conference committee report on House Bill 1652, a measure sponsored by state Sen. Steve Russell, an Oklahoma City Republican.
A copy of the email exchange was provided to CapitolBeatOK by a friend of Sen. Eason McIntyre’s, who gave her consent to post the exchange as part of a news story. Eason McIntyre discussed the email in an interview about a searing confrontation she had with Margaret Erling, a powerful Tulsa lobbyist, on the Senate floor last week. CapitolBeatOK reported that indicent earlier this week.
On Sunday, May 15, at 4:02 p.m., Kara Gae Neal sent the following email to Judy Eason McIntyre. It bore the subject line, “Disappointed beyond words.”
“I cannot believe that under the cloak of no public vote, you signed out of committee the only gun bill left alive this year, HB 1652, which will bring guns to Career Tech campuses across the state.
“I cannot believe that you have said Democrats have no power this year but YOU, single handedly, could have stopped that bill in its tracks. Two others on that committee held firm, one a Democrat and one a Republican and true friend to education, Dr. [James] Halligan. It took 4 votes to secretly slip it through the committee without a recorded public vote and YOURS was the 4th vote…after giving a verbal commitment in advance to Brady McCullough from Tulsa Tech that we could count on your support to kill the bill in committee.
“I cannot believe that YOU, who represents the District with the greatest number of CHILDREN shot in this state every year, did this to them and to us. Our Tulsa Tech facility in your district not only has high school students but a CHILD CARE center on that site.
“I cannot believe that when asked why you did this you said you liked the bill’s author, Sen. Russell, and that he had done a lot for you. And what would that be? Surely getting ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ as the state spiritual/blues song was not it. Maybe they will play that in your memory at the funeral of children shot in your district.
“And you also told others as an excuse that you wanted the Republicans to stand up and be counted as to who was really for the gun bill. What a weak camouflage for your own actions! YOU gave them just what they wanted…they are ALL for it. That’s what gets them re-elected. You had nothing to lose by standing firm, except a life-long reputation as a friend of education and a defender of children.
“I hope Sen. Russell’s deal, whatever it is you made with him, was worth it. You have lost my always-ready support for you and a friendship that has been between us for decades.
“I hope you will try everything you can to see that the billl never comes to the floor. But I am afraid, because of YOU, exclusively YOU, it is too late. I’m sure you will vote ‘no’ in the publically recorded count on the Senate floor so it will look like you are who you pretend to be.
“I cannot believe YOU, of all people, did this to us. But please believe me, if this bill passes, I will make your action widely known. You will not be able to hide from this travesty. For now I am sharing it only with our Tulsa Tech Board and my leadership team. None of us can believe that it was you who betrayed us.
“Kara Gae Neal”
On Sunday, May 15, at 11:15 p.m., Judy Eason McIntyre sent this reply to Kara Gae Neal:
“For the record you can tell anyone you want that I signed the conference committee report at the request of my friend Sen. Russell. For your information there was no deal made!
“I have never hidden behind any excuse for what I decide to do. I do strongly believe that if Republicans believe in guns then openly vote for their gun related bills.
“You mentioned the problem with guns in OUR community, not just my district but I have yet to hear of any effort you have provided to solve Tulsa’s gun problem, particularly in my district.
“The catty remark about the State’s gospel song being sung at a funeral in my district, I will ignore and assume it had no any racial overtones intended.
“As it relates to our ‘friendship’ I am sorry always to lose a friend, but you made that choice.”