By Carol Mowdy Bond
Oklahoma’s Gov. Kevin Stitt made a surprise visit to the Yukon Chamber’s weekly Friday Community Coffee on March 13th. Hosted by Fairfield Inn and Suites, the event was held at 10 W. Main Events, 10 W. Main St. Ben Martin, owner of R&B Tree&Turf, provided a Sanitation Station, so attendees could clean their hands prior to entering the venue.
Still began by saying, “I love gettin’ out on Fridays. I love going to different parts of the state.” He introduced local elected officials who were present, including Dist. 41 Rep. Denise Crosswhite-Hader R-Yukon, Dist. 60 Rep. Rhonda Baker R-Yukon, and Dist. 43 Rep. Jay Steagall R-Yukon. Then he gave an update on current situations, and allowed a long Q&A time.
Still explained that last year Oklahoma had a revenue surplus, and saved $200 million, adding, “We have the largest savings in the history of our state with a billion dollars right now.”
This year the legislature and Stitt’s administration are focused on numerous issues, including regulatory reform and agency accountability. Stitt praised Pres. Donald Trump for doing a great job of reducing federal regulations.
Stitt’s administration created a web site where business owners may go and “let us know if something is regulating your industry that doesn’t make sense. We want to know.”
Oklahoma has twice as many regulations as the State of Kansas, and 20% more regulations than Missouri and New Mexico. “We want a level playing field,” Stitt said.
Stitt said the legislature and his administration are concentrating on numerous things, including growing Oklahoma’s economy and dealing with the COVID 19 Virus.
At that point, Stitt opened up for a Q&A time. A question was posed about the status of the Native American gaming compact situation. A member of Cherokee Nation, Stitt said when he took office, he and his staff went back into the files of his predecessor, Gov. Mary Fallin. She had received letters from tribes, dated 2016 and 2017. In those letters, the tribes acknowledged that the gaming compacts expire Jan. 1, 2020. As well, they stated that the compacts are not suitable for the future of their industry, and it’s time to renegotiate the compacts.
Stitt explained, “I visited all the tribes. But they changed their tunes,” saying the compacts don’t expire Jan. 2020. He said we are involved in an ongoing mediation process, and thus, he can’t give details. But he added that if the situation cannot be remedied through mediation, then the federal government will resolve the situation.
Audience members asked questions about many topics such as the oil industry, the healthcare situation, and helping those who are aging out of the foster care system.
To see Stitt’s presentation, go to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce Faceook page (with the current red and black Yukon Chamber logo), and click on Posts.