By Conrad Dudderar
Oklahoma’s attorney general boasted about suing the Biden Administration 15 times during a recent talk to a Yukon civic group.
John M. O’Connor was the guest speaker during the Yukon Rotary Club’s May 17th meeting at Grace Church-Yukon, 720 S Yukon Parkway.
“I’ve been a Rotarian since 1983,” O’Connor told Yukon Rotary members. “I’m a huge Rotary fan.”
O’Connor was awarded a Rotary International fellowship to study law at the University of Bonn in Germany. He previously served as president of the Rotary Club of Tulsa.
During a 45-minute speech in Yukon, Oklahoma’s attorney general emphasized the Rotary motto “Service Above Self”.
“To me, it’s a mission – it’s not a position,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done.
“Oklahoma can be a model for the nation that conservative values and conservative economic principles can work.”
Since taking office 10 months ago, the Republican AG has filed or joined many lawsuits against the federal government, including challenges to vaccine and mask mandates.
O’Connor has sought to overturn Supreme Court decisions on abortion rights and prosecution of major crimes on Native American land.
Saying he’s an attorney not a politician, O’Connor became Oklahoma’s 19th attorney general on July 23, 2021. He was appointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt to succeed Michael J. Hunter, who resigned the office.
“I’m a huge believer in the American dream – if you work hard, you can improve your economic condition and achieve a life that you can enjoy,” O’Connor told Yukon Rotarians.
The AG also is a strong believer in the original American vision – that the rights belong to the people.
“They were reacting to dictators and kings,” he said of the early settlers. “They came over here and said, ‘In order to form a more perfect union, we the people create a government’.
“The rights belong in this room. Then we gave some to the states and then the states gave fewer to the federal government. It feels like the federal government is constantly trying to expand that and to move the center of gravity of our rights from in this room to Washington.”
Since becoming Oklahoma’s attorney general, O’Connor has:
- Joined an amicus brief by Republican attorneys general asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. O’Connor is a man of faith who believes life begins at conception. He says it’s time to return the question of abortion to the states – where it belongs. “Sixty million Americans have not seen the light of day because of the Roe v. Wade decision,” he noted.
- Sued the federal government over COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employees. “I don’t think some guy sitting in Washington should make your healthcare decisions for you,” said O’Connor, emphasizing the doctor-patient relationship. “When you have a threat of losing your paycheck and your job, I don’t know how that’s voluntary.”
- Asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse its July 2020 decision in the landmark case McGirt v. Oklahoma. Justices ruled that the prosecution of major crimes involving Native Americans in much of eastern Oklahoma falls under the jurisdiction of the tribal courts and federal judiciary – rather than state courts. “The feds admit that there’s not enough of them to prosecute the crimes against Native Americans in eastern Oklahoma,” O’Connor said.
- Visited the southern border. The U.S. has 1,254 miles of border with Mexico and 28 legal crossings – but illegals continue to flood in between sections of unfinished border wall. This is not just a Texas problem – it’s an Oklahoma and national problem, O’Connor noted. “The cartels in Mexico are extremely efficient businesses,” he said. “They make $100 million a week, according to the border patrol, selling human beings into America.” And Oklahoma City and Tulsa have become “big distribution outlets” for cheap meth coming in from Mexico.
- Emphasized the need to stop the black-market cannabis industry in Oklahoma, where cannabis may be used for medical purposes. The legalization of medical marijuana said has brought Columbian, Mexican, Russian, and Chinese crime syndicates into the state, according to the AG. About 65% of Oklahoma marijuana has been illegally exported, he noted.
- Voiced his intent to resume executions in Oklahoma, asking the state Court of Criminal Appeals to set execution dates for some of the state’s 45 death-row inmates.
WHAT ABOUT SWADLEY’S?
Meanwhile, O’Connor is taking a wait-and-see approach on a state investigation and audit into Swadley’s Bar-B-Q. The Oklahoma company contracted with the Oklahoma Department of Tourism to renovate and operate restaurants at six state parks.
“If there’s a crime, we’ll prosecute it,” he said. “If there’s a breach of contract, we’ll get our money back for the State of Oklahoma.”
People are innocent under proven guilty – and that’s what America is about.
“One of the reasons I didn’t get into politics is that I’m more about substance than shouting accusations for momentary self-promotion,” O’Connor stressed.
“I love the AG’s job because I can actually control that. I don’t grab a torch. I wait for the results.”
Before become Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2021, O’Connor was a private practice attorney for about 40 years.
The Tulsa native earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Tulsa College of Law, where he was elected president of the student bar association.
Before attending law school, O’Connor earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Oklahoma State University. In college, he was student body president.
AG O’Connor faces a challenge in the June 28th Republican primary from Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond.
The primary winner will appear on the Nov. 8th general election ballot with Libertarian candidate Lynda Steele to determine who will earn the next four-year term.
O’Connor believes he’s the right person to be Oklahoma’s attorney general in these challenging times.
“Personally, I don’t like where America is going,” he said. “I feel it’s moving like a lazy river toward a waterfall. That waterfall is not a country I want to hand off to my kids and grandkids – including $30 trillion worth of debt.
“Rotary – which is about free enterprise and the marketplace – has to be very vigilant about what is happening. Used to be, trillion was a word in a cartoon. Now we roll out trillions and auto deposit it in people’s accounts, to the point they make more money staying at home than working. Then we have a supply chain problem, and we have inflation.”