Houchen Says Ellis Has Done A Flip-Flop

Republican Howard Houchen

Senate District 5 challenger Howard Houchen says incumbent Jerry Ellis has done a flip-flop.

Said Houchen: “Senator Ellis says he wants to strengthen local control but in advocating for passage of SB1237, he is doing exactly the opposite.

“Ellis is particularly pleased with the alteration to SB1327 that would require the members of these new Regional Councils be elected rather than appointed and to Ellis’ credit, if we are going to add yet another authority to manage our water resources, then indeed, some representation is better than none.  But this does not mean, as Senator Ellis says, “the interests and needs of local communities would have representation in the decision making process.”  Source: The McCarville Report, May 2, 2012

“Oklahomans should know that SB1327 stipulates that the role of the Regional Council is advisory only.  They have no regulatory authority or any other authority.  This means that the Regional Councils do not have the power necessary to represent the people in any real sense.

“I believe Ellis’ intentions are good,” says Houchen,  “but he is totally missing the fact that regional management of our water resources will inevitably make the decision making process less local, not more.

“The powerless Regional Councils do have a mandate to fulfill, however. This bill, supported by Ellis, requires the Regional Councils adhere to the ever evolving Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan as a guide for their recommendations on the water management of the nine regions, as has been predetermined by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

“This is a terrible trade…(my)…campaign is invested in carefully examining the water issues that face Oklahoma.  Right now our cities and counties have quite a bit of power when it comes to the water policy decision making process.  I am worried that by establishing these Regional Councils our local governments will end up being mere administrators of the OWRB’s plans and that is not representative government.

“The entire reason for the creation of these Regional Councils comes directly from the 2012 Update to the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan which recommended that the Legislature authorize the creation of regional planning groups.   No matter how the Council members are chosen, elected or otherwise, the constraints remain the same.  The Regional Councils will follow the dictates of the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan, a plan that has been soundly criticized by many including Senator Ellis himself.

Democrat Jerry Ellis

“Senator Ellis is to be applauded for his concern for adequate representation of the citizen however, dividing the state into nine new political voting regions is not the answer. Do we really need to be so hasty to enact such a drastic alteration of our traditional government structure?

“If Senator Ellis has so little faith in the statewide plan why would he support a measure that will create a mandate that effectively binds water management throughout the state to the plan?  This does not provide the constituents of SD5 or any Oklahomans with the representation that they need and deserve.

“It is clear that If we continue on the path that Senator Ellis is endorsing, Oklahomans can expect to have less control over their natural resources, not more.”

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  1. Houchen says Sen. Ellis Presents SB1327 as Something It Is NOT « Howard Houchen's Blog, 08 May, 2012

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