Barresi bashing, benefits boost, farm friends, friendly gift

 Snapshots in the news from the Oklahoma state Capitol include an upcoming demonstration aimed at education spending decisions, the state Insurance Department’s consumer arm getting money for Oklahomans, Todd Lamb’s close encounter with Irish agriculture, and generosity from one of the Sooner State’s’s long-standing friends.

Today Thursday morning, July 7 a group dubbed Educators for Facts, Openness, Responsibility and Truth (EFFORT) plans to hold a demonstration against Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi and recent spending decisions at the state Department of Education.

The event is slotted, organizers say, for the Cox Convention Center.

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 Commissioner of Insurance John Doak touted, in a Friday (July 1) release a total of $2.6 million in benefits recovered for Oklahomans by the Insurance Department’s Consumer Assistance Division

John says his staff gets 2,600 calls a month with various complaints about benefits allocation and other issues. The $2.6 million represented resources recovered after the agency worked on insurers in behalf of consumers who felt they weren’t getting adequate coverage.

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Last week, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb renewed his acquaintance with John Dardis, First Secretary of Agriculture for Ireland. The men met when Lamb visited the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. last spring. On June 22, Lamb took Dardis around when the latter visited the Oklahoma City Stockyards, the Braums Family Farm, and Express Ranch in the Oklahoma City area, then went to Stillwater to greet President Burns Hargis and faculty at Oklahoma State University.

The visit focused on agricultural research relationships Oklahoma already has with the Emerald Isle, and what Lamb called “potential international economic development opportunities with Ireland.”

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 Two weeks ago, Governor Mary Fallin, joined by Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood, received a $20,000 check to assist with tornado recovery from two representatives of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Houston.

Director General Joseph Chen presented the contribution from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan. Political Director Edward Chen was also in attendance.

Oklahoma and Taiwan have shared warm ties for several decades, a link that was renewed during formal ceremonies at the state Capitol last year.