One of my favorite eras of history to study is the period of World War II. With what Great Britain experienced as a nation, I have become a fan of Winston Churchill.  I am fascinated with the role of his leadership during that time and by some of his inspirational quotes. Many of them apply to what we see today in Oklahoma.
 
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. It’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
 
Our state legislators have two options: take the opportunity to present ideas which could move our state forward, or choose to let Oklahoma continue down the path of dismal rankings.  We have had many Oklahomans speak up with suggestions for fixing our problems.  I hope lawmakers will take time to listen to these and other suggestions and move Oklahoma forward with solutions to improve our state.
 
“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
 
The fact that many of our elected officials have admitted some measures passed into law have not worked speaks volumes to the need to pass new initiatives which will correct and undo these mistakes. Finger-pointing and partisan bickering must stop if we are to experience better opportunities. Elected officials have an obligation by their oath of office to find responsible solutions and restore public trust, but it is also our responsibility as voters to hold them accountable.
 
“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”
 
These answers will take time and will not be popular with many.  It will not be an immediate process, but it must take enough of these men and women to decide to take that first step. While it might be an election year and some of these acts might not win over some voters or donors, the moral obligation to fix the many wrongs with our state should take a priority. Long term thinking must also come into play to avoid short-term ideas that sound good, but could cause long-term harm.
 
“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”
 
We need everyday citizens as advocates who are willing to step up and speak out on behalf of those who do not have a voice.  OICA has stepped up to fill a void for providing two ways for citizens to engage through two upcoming avenues.

Our first initiative will provide information to educators through our “Chalk the Vote” network.  We are seeking someone working in each school building across the state to serve as a “block captain” to receive information and share with colleagues.  Educators should sign up at http://oica.org/events/chalk-up-the-vote/ to receive updates.

OICA also is partnering with several organizations to provide an advocacy training.  This will occur on Monday, February 5th, at a cost of $20. We will teach tips on how to effectively contact and interact with lawmakers.  We also will watch a broadcast of Gov. Fallin’s final State of the State address, followed by a panel discussion regarding what to expect from it.  Sign up at http://oica.org/events/women-and-children-first-advocacy-training/ to reserve your spot!
Just like Churchill, we will persevere.  I leave you with this final quote.
 
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

By OICA CEO Joe Dorman