Richardson: Oklahoma is a Ship without a Captain

By Gary Richardson

How can you tell when your ship does not have a captain? When your boat is going around in circles.

The absolute failure of state leadership to effectively manage the affairs of Oklahoma is an embarrassment to the state and a bloody nose for the Republican Party.  The GOP controls every statewide office, has super-majorities in both houses of the legislature, and every lawmaker at the Capitol campaigned on the same promise:  Reduce spending and shrink the size of government.  That promise has been broken.

I have been a conservative all my life and a Republican since 1978**.  My politics were shaped by the ideals of Ronald Reagan, so I never thought I would see the day when the GOP is leading the charge for massive and multiple tax hikes.  Leaders (and I use that term loosely) at the State Capitol, both in the legislature and in the Governor’s office, are reconvening for a second week of special session to hammer out a budget they had four solid months to craft during the regular session. The failure to pass a budget, then and now, is disgraceful enough. But what’s even more disgraceful is that the debate between Republicans and Democrats is not about whether they should raise taxes.  The conversation is about which taxes they should raise.

How did it come to this?  All roads lead back to an absence of genuine leadership.

Republicans have lost the last three special elections in Oklahoma but that should not come as a surprise.  Notice I didn’t say Democrats won these races. Republicans lost them. Republicans have failed to live up to their core values and the voters have concluded, perhaps justifiably, anything is better than what we have now.

I believe office holders and representatives of the GOP have a moral obligation to promote the health and strength of the party.  But too many scandals, coupled with a failed legislative session, have tarnished the brand.  I am inclined to agree with the voters. If someone is drowning, you try to save them. But when they start to pull you down with them, you cut them loose.

Despite all these problems I still remain overwhelmingly optimistic about Oklahoma’s future.  All we need is the right leader determined to resist the Capitol culture and dedicate his service to the people rather than himself.  Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. They sink when the water gets inside them.  Self-serving politics work the same way.

Nothing erodes trust like a broken promise. It’s time for state government to stop floating in circles and choose a clearly-defined direction. That begins with our own dedication to elect effective leaders who put into practice the politics they preach.

The definition of “insanity” is doing the same thing over and over then expecting different results.

That’s why I am asking voters to dedicate themselves to new leadership by electing an outsider, Gary Richardson, to be the next Governor of Oklahoma.  I’m not in this race to make Oklahoma great again.  I’m in this race to make Oklahoma and the Republican Party greater than it has ever been. How?  By actually leading with the principles of conservative government.

Otherwise, if we continue doing what we’ve done, we will keep getting what we’ve gotten.

Gary Richardson is a former U.S. Attorney and current Republican Candidate for Governor of Oklahoma


**Editor’s Note: Richardson ran for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002 as an Independent.

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  1. Linda Murphy, 05 October, 2017

    I support Gary Richardson for Governor and believe he is the best candidate for the job. He has proven his courage to stand and work to achieve very difficult goals. His book “Black Robe Fever” gives a very informative picture of how he operates in his professional and personal action. It is unique and encouraging to see a candidate who has so much to offer the people of our state.


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