Video: Governor Kevin Stitt yesterday delivered the 2021 State of the State address in the State House chamber, focusing on response to the historic COVID-19 pandemic, support for Oklahoma schools and teachers, economic growth and a continued focus on improving transparency, accountability and efficiency in state government.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said, “I appreciate the optimism of Governor Stitt’s 2021 State of the State speech. Senate Republicans are ready to work with the governor and our House colleagues to help Oklahoma rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, grow and diversify our economy, help state government deliver services more efficiently to taxpayers, and invest in the people of Oklahoma. I appreciate the governor’s acknowledgement of the constitutional authority of each branch of government and look forward to working with him as the session progresses.”
Senate Democratic Leader Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, on behalf of the Senate Democratic Caucus said, “Today’s State of the State Address makes clear what the Senate Democrats have long been advocating: fighting the COVID-19 remains our state’s most urgent priority. This is critical to the health and safety of all Oklahomans and to jump start our state’s economy.
“The governor and the Legislature must ensure our state agencies have all necessary resources to defeat the pandemic. We need to continue funding personal protective equipment (PPE), testing, and vaccine distribution. Oklahomans are doing their part, but there is still much work to be done to get our positive test rate under control and to reduce the number of hospitalizations.
“Oklahoma faces many challenges which must be addressed this session. Senate Democrats look forward to working with our colleagues in the majority and the governor on behalf of the people of Oklahoma,” Floyd concluded.
House Republicans also reacted favorably with positive policy in mind.
“Governor Stitt’s leadership has Oklahoma positioned for big success this session. The governor will find strong support in the House for keeping the economy open, resuming in-person school, empowering parents and improving school finances. On those and all other issues, we appreciate and will reciprocate the governor’s pledge to work together and have a productive session for all Oklahomans.” – House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka
On vaccination progress: “I’m grateful Governor Stitt is actively encouraging Oklahomans to do their research and consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. Herd immunity would allow Oklahomans to return to our schools, help our businesses thrive and return to our normal lives. I’m pleased our state is making significant strides in rolling out the vaccine.” – Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay
On public school funding formula reform: “Every year our schools receive less money per student because our formula sends out money for ghost students, students that do not actually exist. We must end this practice of watering down school finances by funding schools based on the number of students they actually have in their classrooms.” – Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow
On open transfer: “Our parents and children deserve to choose the education model that works best for their student, and I’m glad the governor is encouraging schools to offer multiple learning options. Our parents and students need the flexibility offered by open transfer, and a one-size-fits-all approach to education does not serve anybody’s best interest.” – Rep. Brad Boles, R-Marlow
On civil service reform: “It is very encouraging to hear Governor Stitt prioritize the type of civil service reform that can positively transform state government for employees, managers and – most importantly – the taxpaying citizens. Having worked on this issue for years, I am pleased Governor Stitt is at the table with all stakeholders this session to help get this to the finish line.” – Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond