Like many Oklahomans, we were looking forward to the results of the 100 Ideas initiative put forth by former House Speaker Lance Cargill during the 2007 Centennial year. The 61 "idea raisers" generated more than 3,500 ideas from 130 communities.
But the speaker's quick exit from the House leadership came just days before the book was released. It took some luster from the book but in hindsight, it's still worth a look.
Here are a few of the ideas that we find noteworthy. Contributors are listed but no one was singled out with individual ideas.
Oklahoma needs a scholarship program for teachers much like the OHLAP one put forth for students. Teachers who sign up and agree to work in the state for a certain number of years could get help going to college.
Bring parents back into schools through inservice education. Teachers have such days, why not also encourage parents to learn how to interpret test scores and recognize benchmarks for age-appropriate learning levels. This would help parents hold schools accountable and let the community better understand the school "report cards" that are published each year.
Establish a tax-free savings account for first-time home buyers. Set it up like a 529 college plan so buyers could put money away for a larger down payment and a smaller mortgage. Home ownership would be a powerful economic boost for the state, particularly in the rural areas.
Build energy efficient, environmentally friendly public buildings. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification will cost more but save taxpayers in the long run. It also sets a good example for private sector construction.
Change the county commissioner form of government and allow counties to hire a professional manager and allow multi-county officials. Judges and district attorneys have been doing it for years. We've never understood why it took a meeting and board vote to decide what kind of toilet paper to buy for the jail. Commissioners could meet to make policy decisions and ratify the professional manager's work much like a city council does with the city manager. The savings statewide would be in the millions of dollars.
Boost physical education in schools. Most students receive less than 60 minutes a week of structured physical education. Health experts say it takes at least 150 minutes a week. (Please, no dodgeball).
Just as the roof was being lowered on his term as speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Lance Cargill was about to raise the curtain on one of his key action programs. Despite resigning as speaker Monday, Cargill, R-Harrah, soldiered on Tuesday in rolling out his 100 Ideas initiative, the result of a 13-month effort to get suggestions for Oklahoma's future from the people.
Cargill's fall from glory is a personal tragedy resulting from poor decisions, but that shouldn't detract from the worth of his quest to seek citizen input. We applaud him for the effort along with thanking former state Rep. Thad Balkman for handling details of a project geared toward better positioning the state in its second century.
Private money financed the project. About 3,500 suggestions were considered, more than 60 meetings were held and a book is now available extolling the "best” ideas. Details are available at the project Web site, www.100ideasok.org.
This could be just another effort to produce a document that gathers dust. Or it could be a starting point for a discussion — one that Oklahoma badly needs — on how to make the state much better by the time it celebrates its 150th birthday. We hope the latter is the case.
Cargill no longer wields the speaker's gavel, but he's still a House member. We wish him well and hope some of those light bulbs that went off in the heads of Oklahomans become ideas that make a difference.
The idea of a grassroots idea-generator for improving government is a good one. Florida started it a couple of years ago and Oklahoma, thanks to former House Speaker Lance Cargill, has come up with its own “100 Idea Initiative” book gleaned from the thoughts and concerns of local participants at 61 meetings across the state or submitted to a Web site.
The 100 ideas are divided into eight categories ranging from education and conservation to transportation and government efficiency. To be included in the final cut from the nearly 3,500 suggestions received, ideas had to deal with Oklahoma’s future and have relevance to people’s daily lives without expanding government.
“We didn’t start out with any ideas,” former state Rep. Thad Balkman, executive director of the initiative, told the Associated Press. “We started out with an empty slate.”
Among the ideas collected were recommendations for convening a state constitutional convention, constructing an interstate between Oklahoma City and Denver and eliminating the state sales tax on groceries. No doubt some addressed solutions to the quandaries of prison overpopulation, road and bridge deterioration and tax reforms.
Some of the ideas contained in the initiative book may get action. Others won’t. But all of them should be given serious consideration by legislators. Indeed, several could provide launching pads for other innovative approaches to making government more efficient or improving the quality of education or the environment.
Cargill, who stepped down as speaker under controversy, should be commended for his effort to compile the best ideas and concerns of Oklahomans into a summary for everyone to read and contemplate. Almost everyone can identify the pressing problems being faced. It is the finding of solutions that is difficult.
The first idea chosen in the 100 Ideas Initiative was announced Thursday. University of Oklahoma pre-physical therapy junior Maggie Cochrane was given a $12,500 scholarship for her idea to improve education and help the environment at the same time.
OU President David Boren and Speaker Lance Cargill presented the award to Cochrane in the Oklahoma Memorial Union on the OU campus.
Cargill helped form the 100 Ideas Initiative based on a similar project in Florida. The initiative was meant to get Oklahomans to dream big for their state, submitting long-term goals and ideas to the initiative, Cargill said. The top 100 ideas (out of more than 3,400 generated) will be included in a book. The book will be unveiled Jan. 29, and copies will be given to each state legislator and every public library. It also will be available online in .pdf form, Cargill said.
Cochrane was chosen to receive the scholarship for her essay, "Greener Schools, Greater Schools, Grander State." She was chosen from 130 essay contest entries.
Cochrane attended an "idea-raisers" hosted by OU last year.
"It was something fun to have people sitting around these tables and coming up with ideas for the future of Oklahoma," she said.
Cochrane didn't have any ideas of her own yet, though.
"One night it just came to me," she said of her idea. "And I was so excited I called my mom, and it was like, 1 in the morning."
Cochrane's idea combines the issues of caring for the environment with improving education in the state. She proposed that making small changes to conserve energy and resources would lead to great financial rewards that could then be invested in education.
So turning out lights and setting thermostats higher would save money, so schools could afford to make greater investments in energy efficiency. Then the money saved should be credited to the school to spend on better resources and instructors, Cochrane said.
This plan wouldn't require huge amounts of money, which Oklahoma doesn't have, she said.
"But we do have the will and the drive to make changes," she said. "That was the story of the first century of Oklahoma."
Cochrane came to Oklahoma to attend OU as a National Merit scholar. She is originally from Massachusetts, but said she has been pleasantly surprised at how much hospitality and love she has been shown here.
There are no definite plans in place to implement Cochrane's specific idea, Cargill said, but several legislators will introduce related bills this year.
Cochrane said she wants to see her plan implemented.
"I really hope that they will act on it, and I look forward to what they will do with my plan."
An OU student recieved a scholarship Thursday for her essay devoted to making Oklahoma educational institutions more environmentally friendly.
State Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, and OU President David L. Boren awarded the $12,500 scholarship to Maggie Cochrane, physical therapy senior, for her winning essay entitled, "Greener Schools, Greater Schools, Grander State."
Cochrane wrote the essay as part of Cargill's 100 Ideas Initiative, which was designed to allow the state's citizens to let their voices be heard about how to make Oklahoma a better place to live, Cargill said.
"We want to listen to the people of the state, about what their ideas, their hopes, their aspiration are for our second century," he said.
The essay encourages Oklahoma schools to implement environmentally- friendly practices, which costs little, but saves a lot of money overtime. One idea Cochrane had was to put motion detectors on lights, she said.
"So from the little things: construction changes, like solar panels, filtration systems and energy efficient equipment, and that will save even more money."
The increase in school standards would end up attracting teachers to Oklahoma and end up reversing the brain drain, she said. The brain drain is the phenomenon, which involves losing the best and brightest people to a different area of the country.
Cochrane said she was introduced to the 100 Ideas Initiative through an honor colloquium she took in the fall. One of the projects for the class was a brain-storming session for the project.
"It was a lot of fun to have everyone sitting around the table and brain storming the ideas and having citizens come up with the next steps for all of Oklahoma," she said.
She said she did not come with any ideas then, but the idea just came to her one night.
"I was so excited," she said. "And I didn't know if anyone else would think it was a good idea, but it was exciting for me because all of a sudden it was just this flash," she said.
Cochrane says she hopes to use the scholarship money to further her education and to receive her doctorate in physical therapy.
Cochrane's essay was one of about 130 essays submitted for the competition, said Jamie Fichte, the program's public relations worker. A collection of the 100 best essays will be published in a book to be released Jan. 29, she said.
Once published, the book will be given to the entire legislature, all public libraries and will be posted online in PDF form, Cargill said.
Several of the ideas proposed in the book are already being put forward as legislation, he said.
One idea Cargill said he is handling himself would require all new government buildings meet Leadership at Energy and Environmental Design certification, which would make them more environmentally friendly.
Scrapping public education and imposing stiff penalties for officials caught lying - those are among the thousands of ideas posted with the 100 Ideas Initiative launched by House Speaker Lance Cargill.
Last Friday, Statehood Day, was the deadline for posting ideas to be included in a book that would outline a vision for the state's second century.
By Monday, more than 3,400 ideas for improving Oklahoma had been logged onto the Web site of the nonprofit group that has been soliciting citizen recommendations since January.
Now the group's advisory board will finish sifting through the recommendations to pare the list of ideas to 100.
Cargill, R-Harrah, traveled across the state, attending several of 31 "IdeaRaisers," forums where citizens presented their policy suggestions.
"This initiative has brought together a bipartisan group, from teachers, lawyers and farmers to businessmen and citizens from every walk of life throughout this great state," said Thad Balkman, ex-House member from Norman who is executive director of the project.
One of the ideas posted on the day of the deadline called for requiring political candidates and businesses to pay a tax to erect a sign. Anyone putting up a sign without a tax stamp attached would face a hefty fine.
Another late proposal by Jimmie Martin of Newcastle would do away with public education, in favor of private voucher schools.
Other proposals called for making divorce illegal, setting up light rail systems, installing wind turbines to power the Capitol and other government buildings and requiring large trucks to pay a mileage tax of 10 cents per mile to travel through Oklahoma.
A law against public officials lying was proposed. Anyone caught would "lose their job, their retirement and can never hold any political office again."
Ed Hart of Blanchard also proposed a fine for anyone who does not vote. After three years of nonvoting, people would lose their citizenship. "They don't have to leave the country, but must apply for a green card each year," Hart suggested.
Another proposal would bar officials from accepting "any kind of gratuity" from a lobbyist. Anyone who did would face a felony, impeachment and a prison sentence.
Brooks Rountree of Owasso said too much emphasis is being placed on a college education and proposed doing away with the state's college scholarship program, calling it "pure socialism."
"I would be a half million dollars ahead if I had taken welding in high school and skipped college," Rountree wrote.
Cargill was chairman of the group. Listed as honorary co-chairmen were three former governors - George Nigh, Frank Keating and David Boren, now University of Oklahoma president.
"We plan to have the Oklahoma's 100 Ideas book completed by the beginning of the next legislative session to serve as a blueprint for the Legislature and Oklahoma's future," Balkman said.
Among the latest contributions to the effort, he said, were Corrections Corporation of America, $5,000; T-Mobile, $5,000; OG&E, $5,000; Hillcrest HealthCare/Ardent Health Services, $5,000; Wal-Mart, $4,000; and Oklahomans for Safe Roads and Bridges, $2,354.28.
Other previously announced corporate and community sponsors include AT&T, Chesapeake Energy, Chickasaw Enterprises, Cox Communications, Lamar Outdoor, The Tulsa World and Thomson West.
Balkman said the organization has spent approximately $300,000 for paid advertising, public relations and advertising services, administrative and staff services, and Web site and video production services.
Tonight is the night to share your ideas to improve Oklahoma.
Leadership Shawnee Alumni is sponsoring an "IdeaRaiser," similar to other forums that have been conducted across Oklahoma in recent months. The 100 Ideas Initiative is a non-partisan project with the goal of identifying the best ideas for the next century. The concept was devised by House Speaker Lance Cargill, who will be in Shawnee for the IdeaRaiser from 6-7:30 p.m., at Gordon Cooper Technology Center.
The initiative hopes to get a broad base of citizens involved in Oklahoma's future, said Cargill. So far, more than 2,000 ideas have been submitted from individuals across the state. While the idea range has been varied, several themes are reoccurring, education, economic development, transportation and community safety.
The 100 Idea initiative is being assisted by the Oklahoma Community Institute in its efforts to collect the ideas, said Thad Balkman, executive director of 100 Ideas. Dana Shadid executive director of the community institute will lead the discussions at the Shawnee event, which will be conducted in the Sky Lab Room at Gordon Cooper.
In Shawnee, the IdeaRaiser is being coordinated by Leadership Shawnee Alumni members, who hope to use the event to rally the alumni into forming an alumni organization, said Jim Kirby, a member of Leadership Shawnee Committee. Although the alumni association is encouraging Leadership alumni to attend, the forum is open to all area residents.
The 100 Ideas Initiative has established a web site at www.100ideasok.org where all the ideas submitted can be viewed. The Web site also has a list of frequently asked questions regarding the project.
Two years before Oklahoma was to become a state, renowned philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Oklahomans will certainly remember the past in the coming months, but state Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, said he is focusing on our future, as well.
In January, Cargill began the “100 Ideas Initiative,” a way for “citizen input to create a stronger grassroots approach to governing while also soliciting the excellence of Oklahoma’s citizenry.”
Ideas can be called in, mailed, e-mailed, posted on the Web site, text-messaged or given at an “IdeaRaiser.”
Thad Balkman, executive director of the 100 Ideas Innovation, said an IdeaRaiser is just like a fundraiser, except participants bring ideas instead of money.
“We’ve received about 2,400 ideas to date,” Balkman said. “The IdeaRaisers are a way for us to have one-on-one time with people all over the state and see what’s on their mind.
“So far there have been about 42 IdeaRaisers, but there should be 50 when it’s all said and done.”
The OSU Alumni Association and the Cowboys for Higher Education will host a Cowboy IdeaRaiser on Tuesday at the ConocoPhillips Alumni Center.
Open to the public, the event will begin at 5:30 p.m. and include light refreshments.
“I’m thankful to my alma mater for hosting this event,” Cargill said. “We need good ideas from all Oklahomans to move our state forward.
“Our second century is full of promise, and the 100 Ideas Initiative is about getting input from ordinary citizens so we can fulfill that promise.”
Participants will be broken into groups to discuss their ideas with a group leader. The best ideas will be presented to the audience and Cargill.
A 15-member advisory board has been set up to determine a list of the “best of the best” from every idea received, Balkman said. The board is made up of six Democrats, seven Republicans and one independent.
“We tried to have a very diverse group on our board,” Balkman said. “The members are from rural and city areas. Former Mayor Kirk Humphreys is a board member, as well as Tom Cooper, who works with St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.”
Balkman said members with an OSU background include former Board of Regents Chairman Bruce Benbrook and Policy Analyst for the OSU/A&M Board of Regents Jason Ramsey.
The board also has three co-chairmen — former Govs. George Nigh and Frank Keating and OU President David Boren.
After the board narrows the list, Cargill will have final say on the 100 ideas that go into a book that will be submitted to the state Legislature in early February. The book will contain the names of the contributors, thanking them for their efforts.
“No idea is overlooked,” Balkman said. “We take every idea into consideration. Some ideas don’t have a lot of substance, like ‘lower taxes,’ so they are hard to consider, but some are genuine and very thought out.”
The idea for 100 Ideas came from the state of Florida, Balkman said.
“Speaker Cargill met with the Florida House of Representatives Speaker Marco Rubio to see how their program worked and thought it was a great program,” Balkman said. “They were able to pass 40 of 100 ideas in their first session of legislation.
“We hope our program works out that well, if not better.”
In the coming days, the 100 Ideas Innovation is expected to announce a contest that will reward two Oklahoma students for their ideas.
The advisory board will reward two high school seniors or college students with the most creative ideas and a short essay explaining why their idea should be implemented with a $1,250 scholarship, Balkman said.
Jillian Holzbauer, an English senior, said reformation of the 2007 Farm Bill would be especially beneficial for Oklahomans.
“The current Farm Bill gives out vast government subsidies to large, corporate farms, but most rural farmers never get any benefit from these commodity subsidies,” Holzbauer said.
“Because of this, the business of the small, family farm suffers. Pressing the Senate to reform the 2007 Farm Bill would greatly benefit local farmers and help the Oklahoma economy.
The committee will stop considering ideas for the book by the first of October so publication can begin, but ideas can still be submitted to the Web site.
“We’ll keep the Web site going to give us a sort of accountability to the Legislature and as a way for more ideas to be submitted,” Balkman said.
The 100ideasok.org Web site lists things to consider when submitting ideas: First, the ideas should be relevant to day-to-day life.
Second, ideas should be about the future. They should not just make Oklahoma a better place to live and work today but also a better place to live and work well into the future.
Third, no idea should unnecessarily expand the role of government. Although government services provide vital needs in many cases, government alone is not the answer for the challenges and opportunities Oklahoma faces, according to the site.
Tulsa's Young Professionals and the Junior League of Tulsa are collaborating to bring you an idea raiser event, giving you the chance to share your thoughts for a better Oklahoma.
The 100 Ideas initiative was launched by Oklahoma Speaker of the House Lance Cargill earlier this year to make politics proactive, to harness the wisdom of everyday Oklahomans and to connect politics to people’s everyday lives.
Speaker Cargill recognizes the unique opportunity we have as we celebrate our state’s centennial to stop and listen to the concerns, hopes and ideas of our citizens and then put their answers in writing by publishing a book containing the best 100 ideas. “100 Ideas Innovation for Oklahoma’s Second Century” will contain ideas gathered during this event as well as at similar IdeaRaisers throughout Oklahoma; this book will be given to our lawmakers and then used to hold them accountable for the results.
This event, called an IdeaRaiser, is only successful insofar as you, the invitee comes prepared to share your ideas for Oklahoma’s second century. So please take time to think about what you want Speaker Cargill and our legislators to do to improve and/or transform our state. Remember to focus on specific suggestions instead of complaints or general concepts. Then bring your idea or ideas to the IdeaRaiser and be prepared to share them with other participants.
A gathering of Grove residents added local perspective Thursday to the “100 Ideas for Oklahoma’s Second Century” initiative, in hopes of having some of their ideas included in a book being prepared for the state legislature.
The Grove Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the “Idea Raiser” at the Cowskin Prarie Restaurant.
Lisa Friden, Chamber Executive Director, said she saw a need to bring the workshop to Grove after attending a similar meeting in Tulsa. Friden stressed that if the ideas currently being gathered are going to be a guide for the future of Oklahoma, then northeast Oklahoma should be represented.
“What better place to start the process than in Grove?” she said.
In welcoming the group, Doug Cox M.D., state representative, District 5, stated that the ideas garnered would be “the road map to the future of Oklahoma.”
Speaker of the House Lance Cargill echoed the same sentiment. He said, “That’s what this process is all about- what are your aspirations for the future?”
Dana Shadid, Executive Director, Oklahoma Community Institute, facilitated the process. Shadid instructed those in attendance to work in small groups to not just formulate ideas or complaints, but work to find methods of bringing the ideas to fruition. Each group was asked to come up with three to five ideas that would be shared with the group at large.
The ideas conveyed by the groups covered subjects from educational issues, health care, upgrades to wireless services in remote areas of the state, teacher salaries, and improved public transportation.
Additional ideas included eliminating the sales tax and going to a flat state tax instead of having the income tax. It was suggested that there should be an advertising campaign focused on changing the image of Oklahoma by promoting the livability features of the state. Further suggestions indicated the need of developing alternative fuel resources, such as coal and alcohol.
It was also suggested that an area in northeast Oklahoma be designated to compete for tourism and recreational dollars with areas such as Branson, Kansas City, and the Rogers-Fayetteville area of Arkansas.
Thad Balkman, Executive Director, wrapped the meeting up, explaining the ideas received will go on their website at 100ideasOK.org. with some 2,200 other ideas that have been submitted around the state at similar meetings.
From the best ideas collected, a book titled, “100 Innovative Ideas for Oklahoma’s Future” will be published in late 2007.
The book will be distributed to the state legislators when they convene in February to serve as a legislative agenda for the House of Representatives. Balkman stated that the hope is that many of the ideas from the book will be enacted into law that will set the tone for Oklahoma’s next 100 years, and it is exciting to think the ideas will come from the citizens of Oklahoma.
While many cities and communities across the state are celebrating Oklahoma's first 100 years, House Speaker Lance Cargill has been working to raise ideas for Oklahoma's next 100.
Speaker Cargill was in town Thursday at REI's headquarters to encourage members of the community to submit ideas for the 100 Ideas Initiative.
So far, more than 2,000 ideas have been submitted from individuals across the state. According to Cargill, there is a committee in place to sort out and evaluate the ideas, and subcommittees flesh them out and talk to experts in related fields to determine the viability of the suggestions.
“We have a lot of volunteers working on this. It couldn't be done without them,” he said.
Cargill explained that the 100 Ideas Initiative was to get everyone involved in Oklahoma's future. The ideas can relate to government, but the focus should not be to unnecessarily expand the role of government.
Partisan fights occur at the Capitol, with one party not supporting a bill based on the fact that the opposing party submitted it. Cargill said most people don't care about which political party is submitting bills, they just like to see something accomplished.
“We want to know what is important to you. What are the things that you are talking about? When you take your kids to school, what are you thinking about? When you are at the water cooler at work, what are you talking about? This is about reform for Oklahoma, not just about expanding government for government's sake. It's not about party, but about ideas.”
Once the top 100 ideas are chosen, a book will be published and distributed to all the libraries across the state, and Cargill hopes they will be distributed to many of the schools.
The book will encompass the great innovators of Oklahoma and will list the 100 ideas for Oklahoma's future.
Cargill hopes that when the book is published, the members of the legislature will see what is important to Oklahomans and will focus on those issues.
While the idea range has been varied, several themes are reoccurring, he said. Across the state, Oklahomans are interested in education, economic development, transportation and community safety.
The 100 Ideas Initiative Web site, 100ideasOK.org, is not only a place to submit ideas, but those who visit the Web site can view other ideas and make suggestions or comments on them. Cargill said all feedback is good, as it does show what is on the minds of individuals.
To submit an idea or view ideas already submitted, visit the 100 Ideas' Web site at www.100ideasok.org, or text “100 ideas” at 72648.
An Idabel Chamber of Com-merce event, called an IdeaRaiser, surprisingly drew scores of people including some top leaders in two counties – though only about 20 people have been expected.
Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill launched the statewide 100 Ideas Initiative in January to help find usable ideas from citizens to help the state as it enters its second 100 years.
Cargill (R-Harrah), who attended Monday’s session in Idabel along with state Rep. Jerry Ellis, said he has local ties to McCurtain County.
He actually married a Broken Bow girl, Amber Smith, in the As-sembly of God Church in Broken Bow.
Cargill told the crowd that he was having lunch Monday with his mother-in-law and his wife’s two grandmothers here.
Joining Cargill was Jodi Lewis, director of development and plan-ning for the Oklahoma Community Institute.
She asked for three ideas from each table, and emphasized that if costs were involved for implement-ing the idea, they should include ways to pay for implementing the idea.
Among those presented:
•Term limits on all statewide elected officials.
•From state Rep. Ellis’ table: As-sault on a police officer being a violent felony for which those con-victed must serve at least 85 per-cent of their sentences. Also, refus-ing to sell water to Texas in order to make the state bring jobs to Ok-lahoma.
•From sheriff Johnny Tadlock’s table: Cleaning up outdated laws, with two being repealed for every one passed. Also, the required for at least 85 percent of a sentence being served at the local level for every repeat criminal offense committed by the same person.
•Parental pre-natal education, with lowered hospital birth costs for those successfully completing the classes.
•Tax breaks to promote more in-dustrial jobs.
•Assistance with gambling addic-tion.
•Converting Oklahoma from ab-stracts on property to a title insur-ance system.
•Expansion of state inmate work programs.
•Expansion of code enforcement efforts to battle littering.
•More emphasis on recycling and improvement of air quality.
•Expansion of federally qualified health care facilities.
•Expansion of local library facili-ties.
•Allowing gross production taxes to be assessed on natural resources other than oil and gas to help im-prove county roads.
•Eliminating the economic incen-tives that now exist for large com-panies to protest ad valorem taxes.
•Making a more equitable distri-bution of agricultural extension agents and other resources.
On Jan. 2. the new speaker of the Oklahoma House presented the state legislators with a new challenge and even some homework.
“Oklahoma’s second century is full of promise, and it should be about creating an Oklahoma that is innovative and forward thinking,” said newly elected Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, R-Harrah. “The 100 Ideas initiative will help transform Oklahoma’s mind-set — to look ahead not just to the next few years, but to the long-term future of our state.”
Pretty interesting concept coming from an elected official. The question is, and will continue to be, of the “100 Ideas” selected how many will be implemented and how much time will elapse. I commend Cargill on his efforts and wish him the best in his long-term plan for the State of Oklahoma.
But like most good ideas, they fall by the wayside or while running the political approval gauntlet, few improvements are witnessed. Take a look at our national leadership and some of the great ideas presented to them from the common folks — no movement — SNAFU!
I was in attendance at a luncheon in Edmond and participated in this initiative — pretty interesting what topics were of interest and submitted. Here are a few of the many ideas submitted on that day:
Consolidating Oklahoma school district for greater efficiency.
Free in-state tuition for students who stay in state after graduation.
Create an Oklahoma School for the Arts, similar to the Oklahoma School of Math and Science.
Create transportation improvement districts.
Creation of a statewide public school foundation.
If you go to the Web site, you can read the list of more than 1,600 already received. Try these on for size:
• End corporate welfare submitted by A.E. of Edmond.
• “Stop giving huge tax breaks to companies and spend that money on improving the quality of life in Oklahoma. Study after study shows that businesses put quality-of-life issues ahead of taxation when considering where to relocate. They know happy, productive, educated employees yield a greater return than a tax rebate.”
• “Make Oklahoma a mecca for retirees. They are silver and gold to states. Eliminate the income caps that keep many well-to-do private-sector retirees from getting the $10,000 exemption. So, they move out of state where all retirees are treated the same. This would be a great economic move for 2007 and years to come.” Submitted by M.S. of Oklahoma City.
• “Fishing and hunting licenses should be issued on an annual basis, not a calendar year.” Submitted by C.F. of Sapulpa.
• “Pass a law that makes it illegal for anyone in the executive, legislative or judicial branch of Oklahoma’s government that accepts any form of gratuity from a lobbyist shall be convicted as a felon, impeached from office and sent to prison.” Submitted by H.B. of Tulsa.
• “Prohibit the use of cell phones while operating a motor vehicle for the safety.” Submitted by W.L.S. of Verdigris.
• “While I was serving in the OK State Senate in the early 1970s, a measure was passed granting tenure to Oklahoma teachers. I originally and still do oppose this legislation. It has become a cloak behind which incompetent teachers are able to renew their contracts year after year. I think the measure needs to be addressed and serious consideration given to repealing. This legislation has tied the hands of the local school boards and is a contributing factor to the knowledge that we are losing scores of qualified teachers to neighboring states each year.” Submitted by B.M. of Tahlequah.
This list of suggestions goes on and on — see for yourself at www.100ideasok.org. We, citizens of this state, have the opportunity to input our suggestions via the Web site. Take the challenge House Speaker Cargill put before the Legislature — voice your wish list. Together lets build a better state and let’s see which of our elected officials listen and act accordingly.
The 100 Ideas Initiative held its second IdeaRaiser in Woodward Monday at the Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon.
Representatives of 100 Ideas also visited Woodward earlier this year during the Oklahoma Conference of Mayors that was hosted in the city.
But while the first IdeaRaiser just gave Oklahoma’s mayors an opportunity to share their ideas for the future, this time around Woodward’s citizens were given their chance to be heard.
The purpose behind the IdeaRaisers and the initiative is to develop 100 ideas to improve Oklahoma, so that the next 100 years are even better than the first, organizers said.
During the luncheon chamber members were divided up into small groups and were given 15 minutes to develop three to five ideas per group. And even though they were not given much time, the local business people came up with a number of ideas.
Several of the ideas revolved around improving education through such methods as providing vouchers for private schools, locking in tuition for college students, making foreign language courses mandatory and ensuring that arts, physical education and recess remain a part of elementary education.
Other ideas focused on providing tax incentives and tax breaks to encourage the growth of job opportunities in the state. These incentives would also entice more people to move to and stay in Oklahoma.
However, one of the most interesting ideas to encourage more people to make Oklahoma their home had nothing to do with taxes.
One group suggested, “sell(ing) Oklahoma as a cool place to live by having another land run.”
Thad Balkman, executive director of the 100 Ideas Initiative, said these and all the other ideas generated at the chamber meeting will be posted on the 100 ideas website. If you would like to learn more about what other ideas were discussed or would like to submit your own ideas, you can visit the website at www.100ideasok.org.
Balkman said so far over 1,000 ideas have been suggested with more to come.
Eventually though an advisory board made up of 15 people, including Woodward’s Bruce Benbrook, will determine what the 100 best ideas are and they will be published in a book. Balkman said the book is due to be published by the state’s next legislative session in 2008.
“I look forward to seeing some of your ideas in our book,” he said.
Balkman said Florida went through the same process in 2006 after celebrating its centennial and of the 100 ideas printed in its book, 40 have already been signed into law by the Florida Legislature.
He expressed his confidence that the Oklahoma Legislature will be encouraged to act in the same way the Florida Legislature was.
“I’m confident these ideas will be acted upon,” he said.
Ideas flowed from 50 plus minds at a function hosted Wednesday by the Panhandle Lions Club.
Speaker Pro-Tempore of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Gus Blackwell (R-Goodwell) sat in for Speaker of the House Lance Cargill to oversee the IdeaRaiser session, designed to brainstorm and select 100 ideas to make the second century of Oklahoma better.
On the top of local minds – roads, education and wind power.
“Today went very well, you had a very good turnout for the size of your community,” Jodi Lewis, director of Development and Planning for Oklahoma Community Institute said. “Very good ideas that were generated today.”
Thad Balkman, executive director of 100 Ideas who served as a House Representative from 2000 to 2006 agreed, saying the turnout was fantastic for Guymon’s size.
Balkman discussed the ideas locals shared to improve Oklahoma, such as roads.
“I think it’s generally agreed upon that in the rural parts of Oklahoma that you’ve got to have good access and, while the Legislature’s made good strides in funding roads in the last two years, there’s still along way to go and certainly if you’re going to look at a long-term plan for Oklahoma you’ve got to make sure commerce can move back and forth,” Balkman said.
Another topic was developing wind power.
“You guys are on to something with the wind power, certainly you’ve got to harness what your natural resources are,” Balkman said. “Expanding wind power won’t help just Guymon, it will help all of Oklahoma.”
Balkman shared what the top concerns of Oklahomans have been throughout the state IdeaRaisers.
“No matter where you go, Oklahomans are interested in improving the public education system,” Balkman said. “They’re concerned about classroom teaching and standards, that’s certainly a very common thread. Water is also something we hear over and over again, whether it be ‘don’t sell it to Texas,’ or ‘conserve it’ or ‘build a pipeline and pump it up to Northwest Oklahoma,’” Balkman said.
At the beginning of the meeting, Balkman addressed the crowd saying the IdeaRaisers are a bipartisan effort.
“We believe that good ideas come from Republicans and Democrats and people who don’t have a party,” Balkman said. “We’re truly interested in all ideas.”
“We have to this day collected around 1,600 ideas, you can look at them or comment on them at our website 100ideasok.org,” Balkman said. “Those ideas will be reviewed by our 15-member Advisory Board and we will be selecting the top 100 ideas and publish them in a book called 100 Innovative Ideas for Oklahoma’s Second Century.”
Balkman added that he appreciated everyone’s participation and encouraged them to continue to talk with family and friends to come up with ideas to improve Oklahoma and submit them to the website or by mail.
NASCAR, trailer houses, mass transit and higher education were topics of discussion Tuesday for Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce members as they met for their June membership luncheon.
The meeting was part of the 100 Ideas Initiative, a non-partisan project designed to come up with Oklahomans’ best ideas for the next century.
The concept was devised by Speaker of the House Lance Cargill, who is traveling across Oklahoma to interact with residents and collect their suggestions. Cargill was unable to attend Tuesday’s event, but Thad Balkman, executive director for the initiative, addressed the Edmond group.
“The idea is to try and get all Oklahomans involved in the political process,” he said.
A committee will review the suggestions from across the state and compile them in a book to be presented to all Oklahoma legislators later this year.
Proposals made by Tuesday’s small groups ranged from tongue-in-cheek ideas to complex strategies.
One group proposed outlawing mobile homes; another suggested a NASCAR track in western Oklahoma.
On a more serious note, Beth Waddelow, director of career services at the University of Central Oklahoma, said she would like to see changes in the Board of Regents system to help UCO become a comprehensive university like the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.
Other proposals included an extended transit system, online continuing drivers’ education certification and state-to-state turnpike passes.
Rep. Ken Miller said he appreciated the suggestions from his constituents.
“Many are new ideas — you look and a light bulb comes on,” he said.
“A lot of these will take time, but none of these would even happen without the ideas that come forward (in these meetings).”
It may have started out as a political ploy by a new speaker of the Oklahoma House, but its an idea that is catching on across the state.
The idea? Listen to the ideas of others about how the state of Oklahoma needs to move forward in the next century.
House Speaker Lance Cargill initiated the Oklahoma 100 Ideas project, which basically is a traveling show across the state listening to innovative thinking and ideas of regular people across the state.
Enid will be host to one of our own idea sessions on Tuesday. The idea-raiser will be held at NWOSU-Enid beginning at 1:30 p.m. People are encouraged to come and share ideas about improvements that need to be made in the state.
Once all communities that wish to have held their idea-raisers, a group will study to come up with 100 of the “best” ideas submitted in these meetings.
This event is a good time for people to get more involved at a state level. Legislators will be at the meeting to hear what people have to say.
“It’s Oklahoma’s centennial year, and it’s an appropriate time not just to look at our past but at our future,” Cargill said. “We’ve come a long way and we’ve had our ups and downs with the oil bust, the Depression of the 30s, etc. We’ve come so far and so quickly, I think it’s important as a state have a discussion about where as a state we want to be for our next 100 years."
He’s right. Several communities have hosted their idea-raisers. More than 1,000 ideas have been logged onto the 100 Ideas Web site. People definitely are interested in this process, and that’s what makes the idea such a successful one.
The hardest part of this whole process, in our opinion, will be to cull all these ideas for the best 100. That will be a huge task. Hopefully, and quite possibly, at least one of those 100 best ideas will come from right here in Enid.
Enid area residents will have a chance to participate in the future of Oklahoma Tuesday by attending the 100 Ideas Initiative at Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid beginning at 1:30 p.m. Lunch will be served at noon.
The discussion is part of House Speaker Lance Cargill’s program to improve the state by inviting residents to submit any ideas they have for improving Oklahoma. The program looks at the future and how to improve the state’s economic growth.
State Rep. Mike Jackson, R-Enid, will be present at the meeting and State Rep. John Enns, R-Enid, said he also plans to attend.
“Speaker Cargill is trying to get the entire state involved in the process of state government, get ideas from everybody on different aspects of how to approach bringing new jobs, transportation and infrastructure,” Jackson said.
Those ideas will be examples with the ultimate goal to publish a book which hopefully will be a guide for state, and possibly county and local government, or non-governmental aspects, as well, Jackson said. Any idea that will strengthen the state and take it into the future will be examined.
“The book will be done and if an idea makes it into the hundred ideas, there is no guarantee it will be implemented as part of state law, but it will serve as a guide for what Oklahomans want our state to look like a hundred years from now,” Jackson said.
Enns thinks interested people should attend the discussion because it is a “perfect opportunity” to voice concerns and give ideas to their representatives.
“It’s the perfect time to give ideas that we can then work with. That’s what being a representative is all about,” he said.
Incoming chairwoman of the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, April Danahy, said earlier there are great ideas in the Enid area that should be included in the initiative.
“You’re only limited by your interest and your imagination,” she said.
Mandatory physical education classes in schools and an additional one-cent gas tax to be used for funding technology to reduce petroleum dependency were just a couple of ideas that came up during a luncheon at the Ardmore Convention Center on Tuesday.
Around 40-50 individuals attended the IdeaRaiser sponsored the Ardmore Young Professionals Organization, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma Community Institute.
"It's Oklahoma's centennial year," said Lance Cargill, Speaker of the House. "It's an appropriate time not just to look at our past but at our future ... We've come a long way and we've had our ups and downs with the oil bust, the depression of the 30s, etc. We've come so far and so quickly, I think it's important as a state have a discussion about where as a state we want to be for our next 100 years."
Cargill, with Henry, his 3-year-old son in his arms, explained the 100 ideas initiative is about going directly to the people of the state and hearing their ideas for the future, and said they want to hear from people who work in beauty shops, barber shops, butchers and bakers, pastors and teachers.
"What do they want to see for their kids and their grandkids?" Cargill asked. "There are over 1,000 ideas that have already been submitted on our Web site at 100ideasOK.org. Some of them we've already started working on at the state capital."
The best 100 ideas will be placed in a book that will be published around the first of the year in time to get it around to every legislator before the 2008 session begins in February. Ideas will be collected on the Web site through the end of September or beginning of October.
Guidelines for ideas are to keep them relevant to everyday life, something that will make a difference in the future, and without expanding the role of government. "What we're saying is where someone proposes a new program that is going to expand government, it's going to be paid for so that we're not having to take away vital resources from something else," Thad Balkman, executive director of 100ideasOK.org said.
All those in attendance were asked to discuss ideas with people sitting at their table, and present the best three after about 30 minutes.
Deborah Tipps suggested the state could use more satellite schools for OSU or OU in Duncan, Lawton or Tahlequah. "You do away with a lot of your overhead and political pull from one to the other," Tipps said. "Arizona State University and New Mexico does it. In Farmington, N.M., there is a branch of New Mexico State University. You can go there and get your NMSU degree. In New York, there is like one university and satellite schools."
A group at another table suggested enacting a one-cent state tax for gasoline to be invested in technologies to reduce petroleum dependence. Judy Cavnar said schools should be kept open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. with remedial education and parenting seminars for adults. Other groups suggested cabinet-level posts to deal with water issues and senior citizen concerns.
Other ideas produced by the audience included:
* Business incentives to pay higher wages such as tax cuts and credits to help with the labor shortage;
* Improving the overall health in Oklahoma starting in grades K-12 with wellness education, mandatory physical education, healthy meals and using more of each $1 to fund these programs in the classroom.
"Based on my own experience some of the best pieces of legislation that I ever ran came from constituents who had good ideas," Balkman said. He was a legislator representing Norman for a half-dozen years. "They wrote me or called me or came up and visited me. For some reason, the average Oklahoman doesn't call their legislator because they don't know, they may be intimidated, or they simply don't have time. What we are trying to do with these idea raisers and this initiative is reach out to those Oklahomans."
Information is available and ideas are being accepted now at 100ideasOK.org.
Ardmore city leaders, officials and residents gathered at the convention center Tuesday to play their part in shaping the next 100 years of Oklahoma's future. KTEN's Andrea Kurys met with Speaker of the House Lance Cargill.
Cargill is the legislator behind an initiative called "100 Ideas." Since January, he and a group of officials have traveled across the state to meet with Oklahomans and gather ideas.
Already, more than 1 thousand ideas have been submitted. Cargill says he wants everyone to have a voice in government, and a hand in making the second century in Oklahoma more prosperous.
"I'm a big believer that 23rd and Lincoln, the state capitol building there in Oklahoma City, is not the sole repository of good ideas for the future of our state. We want to hear not just from politicians, but from the people of the state," said Cargill.
Executive Director of 100 Ideas, Thad Balkman said, "Too often politicians are so busy talking they don't actually stop and listen. I think that's what people are so excited about, is this is an opportunity for them to be heard for our legislators to actually listen."
Some of the ideas Ardmoreites came up with today?
Tax breaks for land owners to get rid of red cedar trees draining water from our area.
Another group brought up creating a cabinet level government position for seniors and aging issues.
Here's one Cargill hadn't heard before...one group proposed consolidating the state's higher education system. It would make OU and OSU the main flagship universities and all other universities and colleges would become satellite campuses.
At the end of the year, Cargill plans to take the top 100 ideas and publish them in a book for legislators. For more information, you can visit www.100ideasok.org.
Did you ever have an idea you think might help the community or the state?
At noon June 12, you can discuss that idea during 100 Ideas Initiative, hosted by Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid, 2929 E. Randolph.
The discussion is part of state House Speaker Lance Cargill’s program to improve the state, said April Danahy, incoming chairwoman of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.
Danahy said the idea first came up during Enid’s day at the state Capitol, when a local group met with Cargill. Cargill wants to gather 100 ideas from across the state, and Enid officials offered to be a host city.
“We have great ideas in our area, and we want to be sure and include them in the ideas the speaker will put together for the state Legislature. You’re only limited by your interest and imagination,” she said.
Although a number of people have been contacted by the chamber, anyone may speak, she said. The event, called an idea-raiser is only successful if people come to share their ideas for the state’s next century, she said. She asked to focus on specific suggestions, rather than complaints or concepts.
Lunch will be served at noon, and the meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. Those planning to attend should contact the chamber at 237-2494 by Friday.
Danahy said just about any idea will be heard, and while it can be town specific it ideally should benefit the entire state.
Nearly half has come from in-kind donations, according to the organi- zation.
The 100 Ideas Initiative, a plan to get Oklahoma's top ideas for the state's future, has raised nearly half a million dollars, according to a statement released by the organization Friday.
Nearly half of the $487,000 raised so far has come from in-kind donations, according to the statement.
The 100 Ideas Initiative was launched in January by House Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah. Former Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman, is the initiative's executive director.
The initiative includes a series of "IdeaRaisers," or forums, at which Oklahomans can share their ideas for the state's future. It also includes an interactive Web site, www.100ideasok.org , where people can submit their ideas online.
Major contributors to the organization are Chesapeake Energy and Chickasaw Enterprises, both of which provided $100,000, according to the statement.
AT&T provided $50,000.
Major in-kind donors included Cox Communications, $100,000 in television advertising; Lamar Outdoor, $61,200 in billboard advertising; and the Tulsa World, $60,000 in newspaper advertising.
The organization has so far spent $198,596, according to the statement.
Balkman said in a prepared statement: "Oklahomans are truly stepping up as pioneers for the next century, and they're offering fabulous and innovative ideas. This project has brought together a bipartisan group, from teachers, lawyers and farmers to businessmen and the biotechnology brain trusts at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation."
An advisory committee will choose the top 100 ideas later this year.
Those ideas will be printed in a book and distributed to lawmakers at the beginning of the next legislative session.
The initiative is being funded by private donations and is not required to release the names of its contributors.
But the group has said it will release a quarterly financial report listing donors unless those contributors have asked to remain anonymous.
Almost half a year after House Speaker Lance Cargill introduced his 100 Ideas Initiative to get more Oklahomans involved in the political process, the group has released who is funding the project.
Thirteen donors have given to the initiative, seven of which are Oklahoma voters; companies like Wal-Mart and AT&T comprise the other six. The group raised $252,755 in its first quarter, which ran from Jan. 1 to April 30. Chesapeake Energy and the Chickasaw tribe each gave $100,000, while AT&T pitched in $50,000. The initiative released the information Friday.
"This project has brought together a bi-partisan group, from teachers, lawyers and farmers to businessmen,” 100 Ideas director Thad Balkman said.
The initiative also has received $234,897 in in-kind donations, including $3,000 for food, $100,000 in TV advertising from Cox Communications and $61,200 from Lamar Outdoors to place 100 Ideas billboards in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The report also listed $198,596 in expenditures, including $41,500 for staff and $30,000 for public relations and advertising consulting.
Donations from Chesapeake Energy and the Chickasaw Nation have been a big part of nearly a half million dollars in funds raised by House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 Ideas Initiative.
Chesapeake and the Choctaw tribe each donated $100,000 to the think tank launched by Cargill in January. It's modeled after a Florida program that gives average citizens a voice in developing public policy.
AT&T and Wal-Mart Stores are among the other donors who've contributed a total of $487,000.
The initiative also benefited from donations of advertising from Cox Communications, Lamar billboards and the Tulsa World newspaper.
An advisory committee will choose the public's top 100 ideas later this year and print them in a book that will be distributed to lawmakers at the beginning of the next legislative session.
The Legislature's task force on uninsured Oklahomans is borrowing a play from state House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 ideas policymaking playbook: Instead of deciding for themselves, ask the people what they want.
Insurance officials on Monday kicked off "Cover the Insured Week" by announcing a series of 32 public meetings where Oklahomans can put in their two cents on what they expect in a basic, low-cost health insurance plan. The task force wants to know what Oklahomans want and what they are willing to pay for in such a health plan.
An estimated 700,000 Oklahomans -- including 140,000 children -- lack health insurance. That's more than 18 percent of our population, putting us 43rd on the list of states with uninsured citizens.
Such a plan has got to be affordable and have easy access to medical providers. We know that many of those uninsured are choosing not to purchase health insurance through employers due to cost. It's a choice some make due to spending priorities.
A state health official told the Associated Press that 70 percent of the employees of businesses with 50 or fewer workers do not have health insurance.
Lawmakers in previous sessions have secured federal funds that help smaller employers by subsidizing some health insurance payments but few have taken advantage of the program.
About 2,000 workers have signed up for the plan. About $70 million sits in a special fund to pay for the program. It asks employers to pay 25 percent of the premium, the worker to pay 15 percent and the federal government to pick up the rest. It covers workers who earn up to $18,888 per year and the governor wants to raise that cap to $20,400.
For more information, to submit an idea or view ideas already submitted, visit the 100 Ideas’ website at www.100ideasok.org
Pontotoc County residents gathered Thursday afternoon to produce ideas for Oklahoma’s future through Speaker of the House Lance Cargill’s 100 ideas initiative.
“It’s an exciting time for us, as we’re hosting our centennial year,” Cargill said. “There’s no better than for us as Oklahomans to consider where we’re going as a state in our centennial year.”
According to the official 100 ideas website, the 100 Ideas initiative seeks citizen input to create stronger grassroots approach to governing, while also soliciting the excellence of Oklahoma’s ctizenry.
The initiative began February 2007, with Cargill traveling across the state to meet with residents who have ideas for Oklahoma’s future.
“The bottom line is, we’re looking for good ideas for the future of the state,” Cargill said. “This is not about republican or democrat ideas as much it is about good ideas.”
Some ideas that were considered were allowing a tax credit for Oklahoma college graduates staying in the state to work for a period of time, using e-mail instead of regular mail to distribute information from a statewide point and to eliminate the use of paper and save on postage, and to produce more educated individuals for the Oklahoma workforce.
Cargill encouraged participants to log onto www.100ideasok.org to peruse ideas that have come from previous meetings across the state and to make comments. Ideas that generate the most attention will be published in a book at the end of the year, and the book will go on to serve as an agenda for Cargill.
“It’s not enough for us to say ‘I wish we could do this better or that better’ or ‘We have this problem or shortcoming,’ but what are our ideas to fix those things, both large and small.”
For more information regarding the 100 ideas plan for Oklahoma, or to submit an idea, visit www.100ideasok.org.
The next IdeaRaiser for Oklahoma’s 100 Ideas Initiative will be held in Ada at Pontotoc Technology Center today at 4:30 p.m. The Technology Center is located at 601 W. 33rd Street. Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill will be on hand to welcome participants.
Cargill, who started the 100 Ideas Initiative, said the project is a way for Oklahomans to come together as citizens of the state-not just politicians but business leaders, pastors and teachers. “We’re not interested in Republican ideas or Democratic ideas. We’re interested in good ideas,” he said.
The 100 Ideas Initiative is a non-partisan project designed to solicit the best ideas for Oklahoma’s second century. IdeaRaisers are public meetings designed to encourage input and discussion about those ideas and suggestions. To date, 10 IdeaRaisers have been held at locations throughout the state, and more are scheduled in the coming months.
The public is invited to attend Thursday’s IdeaRaiser.
100 Ideas Executive Director Thad Balkman said Thursday’s event in Ada has great potential for some fantastic ideas.
“One of the great things about this program is getting ideas from citizens from throughout the state,” said Balkman. “We look forward to hosting this event in Ada.”
For more information, visit the 100 Ideas’ website at www.100ideasok.org.
Educators from Mustang, Midwest City, Mid-Del and Edmond school districts had their turn to give Oklahoma lawmakers opinions on how to have better education as part of The 100 Ideas Initiative, a statewide project seeking the best ideas for Oklahoma’s second century.
Thad Balkman, executive director of 100 Ideas, and Dana Shadid with the Oklahoma Community Institute facilitated Thursday’s meeting at Edmond’s West Field Elementary.
The 20 educators were divided into small groups of five and were tasked with coming up with two issues facing education and finding creative answers to solve the problems.
“We’re looking for ideas that are new and creative,” Shadid said.
Edmond Associate Superintendent Linda DeSpain said she would like to see more flexibility in the scheduling to help non-traditional learners.
Martha Wissler, Edmond Memorial teacher, agreed.
“It’s time for teachers to be the architects of learning,” Wissler said.
Several in the group agreed teachers need more time in the day for collaboration and planning.
The first IdeaRaiser, sponsored Jan. 30 in Oklahoma City, attracted more than 100 participants offering ideas on improving bioscience research and technology in Oklahoma.
Balkman said he hopes to have 40 IdeaRaisers by October on a variety of other subjects.
“We’re going to gather all of these ideas and then sit down and find the best ideas,” he said.
The top 100 ideas will be featured in a book that will be given as a blueprint to lawmakers prior to the 2008 session.
For more information about 100 Ideas, visit the 100 Ideas Web site online at www.100ideasok.org.
Now that Oklahoma is 100 years old, state leaders are looking ahead to the next 100 years of statehood.
House Speaker Lance Cargill (R-Harrah) has introduced 100 Ideas Oklahoma, a not-for-profit initiative which runs on private donations, and is based on a similar program in Florida.
The program seeks out ideas for making Oklahoma’s next 100 years even better than the last.
However, the ideas will not come from government leaders, but from everyday citizens.
“This is where we come together as citizens of the state-not just politicians but business leaders, pastors, teachers. People who work in the beauty shops and the barber shops,” Cargill said. “We’re not interested in Republican ideas or Democratic ideas. We’re interested in good ideas.”
Hundreds of ideas have already been submitted, covering topics from education and teaching students how to handle everyday jobs like balancing their checkbooks, to eliminating Oklahoma’s toll roads and writing a new state Constitution.
At the end of the year, Cargill will publish a book with the first 100 ideas from Idea Raisers across Oklahoma.
He will use the book as an “agenda for action.”
“It will be a roadmap or guidebook for legislators,” he said. “It’s not my expectation that all of these ideas will require government participation.”
In conjunction with the 100 Ideas Oklahoma initiative, the City of Chickasha, along with Senator Ron Justice (R-Chickasha), and State Representatives Susan Winchester (R-Chickasha), Joe Dorman (D-Rush Springs) and Phil Richardson (R-Minco), will host an Idea Raiser to help find the best 100 ideas for Oklahoma’s second century.
Similar events have already taken place in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Tahlequah.
The Idea Raiser is much like a fund raiser, except there are no monetary donations involved-only ideas will be exchanged.
“Even if we don’t get any good ideas, the very process of going out to a populace that sometimes is very cynical about government, making the effort to say we do care about your opinions, your ideas do matter to us-that is a positive for our state and our society,” said Cargill. “We don’t need politicians who are always ensconced inside the four walls of the Capitol. We need to be listening to the people.”
The event will take place at noon on Friday, April 6 at the Canadian Valley Technology Center.
To RSVP, call 1-888-465-2007, or go online to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All over the state of Oklahoma, communities are holding “idea raisers” as part of House Speaker Lance Cargill’s 100 Ideas initiative.
The speaker has determined he would like communities across the state to host town meetings or forums in which people come to express ideas about how to move the state of Oklahoma forward for the next 100 years. The idea is at the end of the year, a task force will sort through all of the ideas and select 100 of the best ideas to be published in a booklet.
We think northwest Oklahoma, and Enid in particular, needs to be active in this process. Apparently, a community has to ask to participate in these kinds of forums. It’s time Enid steps up and hosts a 100 ideas forum in our own community.
Enid is the largest city in northwest and north central Oklahoma. We are an important regional asset to the state of Oklahoma. We are one of the best cultural spots in the state, and we also have some very talented, knowledgeable people living here who certainly could contribute some thoughts about how to make the state of Oklahoma a better place to live, work and play.
We need to have our ideas expressed and be a part of this process. The Greater Enid Chamber of Commece, the city or county, or even a civic group like Rotary or AMBUCS could step up to host an Enid 100 Ideas forum. Perhaps all it takes is a phone call to the state Capitol.
Also, our local legislators would certainly want to be involved in organizing this process in our area.
We hope to see an announcement soon a 100 ideas forum will be hosted in Enid in the very near future. And, when it is, we encourage residents to make it a point to participate in some way.
Before the first day of this year’s legislative session had even begun, members of the House of Representatives had already held weeks of meetings with agencies, boards and commissions. During this time, committee members examined the work that was being performed by each respective group, questioned the level of efficiency, and scrutinized their budgets for any potential savings.
These pre-session meetings are part of an effort to fundamentally change the way government operates, holding it more accountable to the citizens to which it serves and identifying clear goals and measures for success. There was a time when citizens were engaged in the process of government, and government was better for it.
Through my 100 Ideas Initiative, which seeks public input on how to improve Oklahoma, and through changes at the Capitol to make the House more open and accessible, I hope to reconnect citizens with their government.
I am proud to have authored House Bill 2100, which would create an independent panel to review state agencies every eight years. The Commission on the Accountability and Review of State Agencies would examine opportunities for consolidation and streamlining of duplicative state agencies. The first of the recommendations from the commission would be presented to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2008, and lawmakers would be required to either vote for or against the panel’s proposals without the ability to amend them.
HB 2100 was approved by the House General Government and Transportation Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support, and will soon go before the entire membership of the House for a vote.
This is an important plank in reforming how business at the Capitol is conducted and in making government more accountable and responsive to the needs of the people and the state.
House leadership has proposed a legislative agenda to promote a more prosperous economy, provide Oklahomans with a better quality of life and create strong and safe communities. We will continue to make critical investments in our state’s infrastructure, including improving our roads and bridges, and address the growing demands for health care. We will remain dedicated to enriching Oklahoma’s educational programs and keeping higher education within reach for more families.
This is the “year of ideas” for Oklahoma and an opportunity for us to take our state in a new direction and build on the momentum of our first century.
Two weeks into the session, productive conversations are already taking place. House committee members are sorting through more than 1,200 measures and continuing their work on the state budget.
Over the course of the next few months we will debate and discuss ideas on how to improve our great state.
As leader of the House of Representatives, I am committed to moving Oklahoma forward and will work to advance legislation that expands opportunity, optimism and security in Oklahoma.
There must have been some sort of unifying, synergy-producing energy field permeating the room at the “IdeaRaiser” held Friday afternoon at NSU, because – amazingly – a lot of the people there seemed to be coming up with the very same ideas.
The event was part of Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill’s “100 Ideas Initiative,” an effort to seek input from the state’s citizens in determining the direction Oklahoma should be headed in it’s second century.
“This is the first of our IdeaRaisers outside of a metropolitan area,” said Cargill, R-Harrah, adding that the focus of Tahlequah’s IdeaRaiser was the state’s health issues.
“As proud as I am about our state’s accomplishments, I’m even more excited about our future. I’m hoping the ideas generated at this IdeaRaiser are pertinent, not just one, two, or three years from now, but 20, 30, 50 years in the future.”
Cargill said he actually got the “100 Ideas” idea from Florida’s Republican House Speaker, Marco Rubio, who also spoke at the Tahlequah event.
“What we found in Florida was that people felt what the government was dealing with was not what people were dealing with in their daily lives,” said Rubio.
“As you engage people at every level, I think you’ll find that there are ideas that no one is taking about or writing about, but are still important.”
One stipulation of the IdeaRaisers is that the public must be invited. At Friday’s event, held in the NSU University Center Cedar Room, the public consisted of about 40 people, most from various public agencies and institutions in the community. Since the topic was health care, Tahlequah City Hospital and NSU – including the College of Optometry – had significant representation.
Once Cargill and Rubio had spoken and a short video had been shown, facilitator Dana Shadid laid down a few ground rules for the idea-generating session, which involved about eight tables of small groups identifying issues pertinent to health care in the state and proposing ideas to deal with those issues.
Those ground rules were:
• Everyone is equal in the session.
• Creativity is expected.
• Concentrate on the topic.
• Respect the other person’s view.
• All ideas are valued.
More general guidelines, printed on the event program, suggested that the ideas should be relevant to day-to-day life, that they should be about the future, and that they should not unnecessarily expand the role of government.
Shadid stressed the importance of originality in the proposed ideas, although many of the ideas suggested for each table’s discussion dealt with issues that have already been addressed – or are currently being addressed – by the state legislature. For example, guaranteed health care for all of the state’s children and incentives for medical school graduates to work in rural areas – both suggestions offered at one table – are included in bills before the legislature this session. Tort reform specifically addressing medical malpractice suits – yet another idea offered up – has already been addressed in the legislature.
But once the issues had been identified, and ideas had been generated and narrowed down, each table wrote their ideas on a sheet of paper with a Magic Marker. A speaker from each table read the ideas to the room, while Shadid placed the written ideas on a board, a la “Wheel of Fortune” gameshow hostess Vanna White.
Those ideas, along with the others gathered at other IdeaRaisers and on the Web site, www.100ideasok.org, will be sifted through until the 100 best are found, and according to Cargill, a book will be published to debut those ideas to the entire state.
All of the ideas suggested Friday may not have been valuable nuggets of original thought, but they are, as Rubio pointed out, ideas coming from folks who do something besides write legislation for a living. These ideas, he said, will come up from the citizens, not down from multiple levels of government.
“We’re hoping you’ll come up with ideas the political process hasn’t picked up on,” he said.
“The legislative process should be a place where Republicans and Democrats are in a competition to see who is best at implementing ideas. I don’t look at Washington for answers, because Washington is broken – it’s about winning, it’s not about solving.”
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Keith Perry of Skiatook would like to do away with Oklahoma's toll roads.
Kevin Wells of Ardmore would like to see a task force set up to track and catch Internet child predators.
And John Howk of Bartlesville would like to see a new state Constitution drawn up.
Those are a few of the ideas Oklahomans have contributed to House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 Ideas initiative, a public think tank that seeks citizen input to address problems Oklahoma faces in its centennial year and solutions to help ease the state into its second century.
Patterned after a program in Florida, the initiative was launched in January by the nonprofit 100 Ideas Oklahoma, which operates on private donations. Cargill, R-Harrah, said the project gives average Oklahomans a voice in developing public policy and allows lawmakers to consider ideas from outside the state Capitol's dome.
"This is where we come together as citizens of the state _ not just politicians but business leaders, pastors, teachers. People who work in the beauty shops and the barber shops," Cargill said.
The Florida initiative was paid for by that state's Republican Party and was criticized by Democrats, who said the organization paid no attention to their ideas.
Cargill said he is taking a more bipartisan approach.
"We're not interested in Republican ideas or Democratic ideas. We're interested in good ideas," he said.
So far, at least 250 ideas have been submitted to the project's web site and at Idearaisers _ public brainstorming sessions in homes, churches and public buildings across the state where Oklahomans suggest and assemble ideas for the state's future.
They run the gamut from proposals dealing with education, social services, tourism and economic development.
Bruce Willingham of Idabel suggested conserving water by allowing the reuse of treated wastewater on golf course, parks and school grounds.
David Knox of Oklahoma City's idea is to create a "Life Application" class in public schools that would teach the next generation of adults how to balance a checkbook, create personal budgets and other facts about personal finances.
Several Oklahomans, including Bob Olley of Tulsa, submitted ideas about expanding rail service between Oklahoma City and Tulsa and other destinations in the state.
Thad Balkman, a former state lawmaker and executive director of Oklahoma's 100 Ideas initiative, said an idea developed at an Idearaiser meeting called for a new education czar for the state who would oversee all levels of public education, from kindergarten to graduate school.
Currently, elementary and secondary schools and higher education institutions are under separate leadership.
"That's something that's out of the box," Balkman said. "Innovation _ that's what we're all about."
Cargill said it will not be possible to act on all of the ideas but that some good ones should emerge.
In Florida, nine ideas submitted as part of that state's initiative _ all dealing with property and casualty insurance issues _ passed with bipartisan support at a recent special legislative session, Balkman said.
"Even if we didn't get any good ideas," Cargill said, "the very process of going out to a populace that sometimes is very cynical about government, making the effort to say we do care about your opinions, your ideas do matter to us _ that is a positive for our state and our society.
"We don't need politicians who are always ensconced inside the four walls of the Capitol. We need to be listening to the people."
At the end of the year, the 100 Ideas initiative will publish a book filled with the first 100 ideas from Idearaisers across the state. Cargill said he plans to use the book as an agenda for action.
"It will be a road map or guidebook for legislators," he said. "It's not my expectation that all of these ideas will require government participation."
Just one month into the process, Cargill has been accused of using it as a tool to advance his political goals and build momentum to run for a higher office.
Cargill has traveled across the state to attend each of the three Idearaisers conducted so far, in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and one Friday in Tahlequah that focused on rural health care. He said his focus on the initiative is not a political ploy.
"This is anything but politics as usual," he said. The speaker said the project is a way to bring Oklahomans together in a nonpartisan way to discuss ideas about the future.
House Democratic Leader Danny Morgan of Prague said only time will tell whether the 100 Ideas initiative is political grandstanding or a sincere attempt to ramp up for Oklahoma's next century.
"We can travel all over the state but only if we seriously consider the issues that the citizens put forth," Morgan said.
Morgan said he is disappointed that the Rural Economic Development Initiative spearheaded by Cargill's predecessor, former House Speaker Todd Hiett, did not bring more results.
Hiett toured the state for two months in late 2005 to gather ideas for helping rural economies. The tour began shortly before the Republican speaker announced he was running for lieutenant governor, his first statewide race.
Hiett, of Kellyville, was defeated for the post in November by former House Democratic Leader Jari Askins of Duncan following the most expensive campaign for lieutenant governor in state history.
The group has also been criticized for not disclosing the private donors who are financing the effort as well as its expenses.
"That is a concern that all of us should have," Morgan said. "I think the citizens of Oklahoma have a right to know who it is that's funding this project."
Balkman, who declined to reveal his salary, has said Ethics Commission rules did not require the group to name its donors and their contributions.
He announced last week it will name donors and the group's expenses _ including his salary _ on a quarterly basis, beginning at the end of April, unless donors request otherwise.
On the Net:
100 Ideas initiative at http://100ideasok.org
House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 Ideas Initiative announced its advisory board Friday, which will be responsible for gleaning the list of ideas down to the best over the next year.
The project is meant to serve as a springboard for Oklahomans to become more involved in government and have input into future legislation.
The Initiative also announced Friday a partnership with Oklahoma Community Institute, an organization in Edmond focused on improving community planning.
Thad Balkman, a former House member and executive director of the initiative, said the institute will help promote and run some of the idea-raisers in cities and towns across Oklahoma.
The institute will not be providing funding, Balkman said. Funding for the project is still unknown, as private donations made to the initiative have not been made public.
The advisory board includes:
•Carols Bermudez, Newalla, owner of Sonshine Services.
•Kirk Humphreys, former Oklahoma City mayor and real estate developer.
•Jonathan Small, Edmond, certified public accountant.
•Daniel W. Pullin, associate vice president and executive director for the University of Oklahoma's Center of Economic Wealth.
•Xavier Neira, vice president of special projects at Rooney Holdings, Inc.
•Christopher B. Howard, associate vice president of the University of Oklahoma's Honors College; veteran of the War on Terror; Rhodes Scholar and founder of the Impact Young Lives Foundation.
•Stuart Ericson, Muskogee, former lawmaker and now an attorney.
•Jason Ramsey, policy analyst for the OSU/A&M Board of Regents.
•Melissa McLawhorn-Houston, Norman, licensed attorney and chief of staff for the Office of Homeland Security.
•Tom Langdon, Edmond, vice president of Stephens Inc., an investment banking firm.
•Devon Shannon, Lawton, stay-at-home mother and wife of state Rep. T.W. Shannon.
•Tom Cooper, Tulsa, chairman and chief executive of the Warren Professional Building Corporation.
Along with Cargill, former Oklahoma governors George Nigh, David Boren and Frank Keating are serving as co-chairmen of the 100 Ideas Initiative.
For more information about 100 Ideas, visit www.100ideasok.org.
By law, all school districts in Oklahoma are required to have 175 days devoted to instruction. Students should receive 15 more days, someone suggested Tuesday at a town hall summit. The idea was one of many suggested Tuesday night at the first IdeaRaiser of the 100 Ideas Initiative in the Presbyterian Health Foundation Executive Conference Center.
State Rep. Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, unveiled his 100 Ideas Initiative earlier this month as one of his first orders of business after becoming the youngest legislative House speaker in the United States. Cargill, 35, said he plans to use the initiative as a blueprint for Oklahoma's future.
Cargill said he has no firm proposals in mind but will determine "100 Ideas” after visiting Oklahomans this year through a series of town hall meetings — called IdeaRaisers — and other events.
"We're not interested in Republican ideas. We're not interested in Democrat ideas. We're interested in good ideas,” Cargill said before the meeting. How does it work?
The 100 Ideas initiative was launched Jan. 10. Eight days later, the first 100 ideas had been logged. Submitted ideas range from eliminating the state sales tax on groceries to creating incentives for biofuels and biofuel research,” said former Rep. Thad Balkman, executive director of the initiative.
At Tuesday's event, about 120 people were separated into groups of eight in which they generated ideas.
Increasing the number of instructional days Oklahoma students must attend. Consolidating the state's approximately 540 school districts. Using supercomputers to connect health centers so individualized patient care could be easier to offer.
What's next? "We look forward to receiving the next 100 ideas and the next 1,000. People from Elmore City to Henryetta to Tulsa submitted ideas,” Balkman said, At the end of 2007, a book will be printed with the best 100 ideas gathered from IdeaRaisers and the initiative's Web site. The book will serve as an agenda for Cargill.
OKLAHOMA CITY — House Speaker Lance Cargill used a medical research facility Tuesday as the setting for outlining a Republican legislative program to create more economic opportunities as Oklahoma enters its second century.
"It is time to create an economic environment that rewards hardworking families and entrepreneurs, not punish them with a burdensome bureaucracy and an unfair tax burden," said Cargill, 35, who is in his first year as speaker.
Cargill and other House leaders held a news conference after a tour of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, a focal point of a growing bioscience industry in the state.
The "Entrepreneurial Society" platform of the GOP caucus called for higher education standards, increased government efficiency and accountability, civil justice system changes and creation of business courts and a "one-stop shopping" location for people wanting to start a business.
"It's time to promote a wise fiscal policy and require more accountability from government," Cargill said. "It's time to foster a first-class educational system to create a talented and capable workforce.
"And we must create a fair and balanced legal system — one that ensures access to our courts for those with legitimate claims, but does not subject our citizens to unfair shakedown lawsuits, forced settlements to avoid bankruptcy and lengthy and costly jackpot justice lawsuits.
On taxes, House leaders called for preserving last year's program to cut the income tax to 5.25 percent and offering a childcare tax credit to support stay-at-home moms.
Rep. Ken Miller, R-Edmond, hinted the GOP caucus could get behind more tax cuts once legislators get a better grasp of the state's revenue picture.
The state Equalization Board has certified $277 million in new revenue to be spent by the Legislature, which convenes on Feb. 5, but a large part of that money has been committed to such things as pay raises for teachers and state workers and easing prison overcrowding.
"We are committed to maintaining the level of tax relief that was part of last year's bipartisan agreement and we will stop any efforts to roll it back," Miller said.
Asked if he knew of any groups trying to roll back the tax cuts, Cargill said: "We don't know of one, but if there is, we're certainly going to stand against it."
The Legislature last year cut taxes by more than $600 million at a special session called by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry after lawmakers were unable to agree on taxes and budget issues during the regular session.
We'd heard very little about House Speaker Lance Cargill's 100 ideas for a new Oklahoma and assumed it was another program of pet projects that lawmakers would look at during the coming session.
Little did we know Mr. Cargill wants the ideas to come from the citizenry, not him or the state's elected leadership. What a refreshing challenge: Ask the voters and taxpayers what needs to be done to make Oklahoma a shining star in its centennial year.
Mr. Cargill, the youngest speaker in the history of the state House of Representatives, says he got the idea after reading the New York Times Magazine's annual 100 best ideas or inventions.
The initiative, directed by former local legislator Thad Balkman, plans to hold town meetings around the state in the coming year, most likely after the legislative session ends in May. From those ideas, Mr. Cargill's Norman-heavy steering committee will meet and review those ideas in hopes of using them to guide the state's policymaking machinery.
Those wishing to submit ideas and be a part of the initiative are invited to an "IdeaRaiser." It's similar to a fundraiser but no checks are passed, only some bold ideas for Oklahoma's future. The best 100 will be published in a book, establishing a blueprint for the second century of the state.
We hope the book is a bestseller. In the meantime, the Web site, www.100ideasok.org is up and running. The ideas submitted so far make for interesting reading. They range from wage garnishment to junk cars to biofuels, water sales and county consolidation.
When Democrats took control of the U.S. House last week, new Speaker Nancy Pelosi was ready — armed with her outline of what she intended to accomplish in the first 100 hours. The list included raising the federal minimum wage, ethics and lobbying reform, reducing student loan interest rates and repealing tax cuts for large oil companies.
Oklahoma's new House speaker, Lance Cargill, is taking a more long-term approach. Cargill, R-Harrah, began his first day on the job by handing out notebooks to his colleagues in the House, the members of the Senate, the governor, lieutenant governor and other state officials. Cargill's request: Use the notebooks to jot down ideas that will move the state forward in the years to come.
And he wants to hear from you, too, if you have a suggestion.
Cargill calls it his 100 Ideas Initiative, something he hopes will develop into a "comprehensive vision for our state's future.” The plan is not simply to govern from 23rd and Lincoln outward, but to provide Oklahomans a different way to make their voices heard.
"Oklahomans are tired of the same old, same old,” he said. "They're tired of a process inside this building that doesn't involve and engage them.”
Cargill plans to announce more details of his initiative this week, and will unveil a Web site that will let folks send their ideas online. Town hall meetings are in the works. The goal is to publish a book at year's end that includes the best 100 ideas.
He's vowing to make it a nonpartisan, inclusive effort. "I want every person, from every corner of the state, to tell the state House how we can make Oklahoma better,” he said.
There's the invitation. Grab a pen and start writing.
Government seems a lot like the weather sometimes - everybody complains about it, but nobody does anything about it.
Now, thanks to a bold initiative by new House Speaker Lance Cargill, Oklahomans have a chance to do something, or at least let their voices be heard. In honor of the state's centennial, Cargill recently announced a "100 Ideas Initiative."
"The first 100 years of Oklahoma's story are ending, and a new chapter is beginning," said Cargill. "My goal is to find the best ideas from the best minds in Oklahoma, and I'm asking the state's leaders to join with me in seeking citizen input across Oklahoma."
Cargill gave notebooks full of blank paper to the members of the state house, senate, the governor, lieutenant governor, and other office holders in the state. Another part of his program is the creation of a web site, www.100ideasok.org, where ordinary citizens can leave their thoughts and ideas for a better Oklahoma. Already, some Sandites and others from around the area have logged on to share their opinions.
The ideas range from how to collect taxes on car tags, to restrictions on new drivers.
Much has been made about Time Magazine's Person of the Year (You, in case you missed it - congratulations) and how the interactive web will change the world. There might be something to that, where a simple web site allows Oklahomans to speak their minds and share how to make the state better.
It remains to be seen what the state's legislators and politicians do with the ideas, but if nothing else, the free flow of ideas represents the best of what's great about America.
We applaud Cargill and all other state lawmakers who will take part in this program, and encourage Sandites to share their views.
Oklahoma is not an innovative state. Practically the last new thing to come out of Oklahoma was Bud Wilkerson’s wishbone offense. And when it comes to government, business or technology, we usually copycat what other states do, long after they’ve done it. So we commend Cargill, R-Harrah, who was elected speaker Jan. 2. In his acceptance speech, Cargill challenged his fellow lawmakers to begin jotting down innovative and forward-thinking ideas that will make Oklahoma a leader, not a follower, in the future. “Oklahomans are tired of the same old, same old. They’re tired of a process inside this building that doesn’t involve and engage them,” Cargill said in proposing his plan and a Web site for state residents to add to the innovative ideas put forth by lawmakers. Of course, coming up with new ideas isn’t all there is to being a leader. The other half of the process is getting people to want to change and try new ideas, which has been just as big a problem in Oklahoma as not having ideas. But Cargill is on the right track, and we hope his youth — at 35 he’s the youngest state speaker in the nation
OKLAHOMA CITY — State representatives made it official Tuesday, electing Rep. Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, to be Oklahoma’s speaker of the House.
At 35 years old, Cargill is the youngest speaker in the nation and the first Speaker from Oklahoma County in 40 years. Cargill represents House District 96, which includes the eastern half of Edmond. He is the first Edmond representative to attain the speaker of the House position.
“The first 100 years of Oklahoma’s story are ending, and a new chapter is beginning,” Cargill said Tuesday. “My goal is to find the best ideas from the best minds in Oklahoma, and I’m asking the state’s leaders to join with me in seeking citizen input across Oklahoma.”
In his remarks before a noon meeting of lawmakers, Cargill announced an initiative to find the best 100 ideas for Oklahoma’s new millennium.
“I want 2007 to be the ‘Year of Ideas’ for Oklahoma,” he said.
“Oklahomans are tired of the same old, same old. They’re tired of a process inside this building that doesn’t involve and engage them.”
Cargill said he would launch the 100 Ideas Initiative next week. He said he wants to solicit ideas from business leaders, pastors and teachers and the state’s residents to use as a policy guide for the coming years.
“Part of my vision for Oklahoma’s future includes improving how the state conducts its business and working to engage citizens in the process,” he said. “I will strive to make Oklahoma’s government more accountable, more efficient and more inclusive.”
Cargill said a series of town hall meetings and interaction with residents will begin the process of shaping the state’s future. He also announced a Web site - 100ideasok.org will allow Oklahomans to log on and share their ideas and input.
The speaker also distributed blank notebooks to all elected officials to collect their best ideas.
“At the end of this year, we will publish a book filled with the best 100 ideas from the 100 Ideas Initiative,” he said.
Edmond Mayor Saundra Naifeh said Cargill’s speech is something that will speak to the people of Oklahoma.
“It has a lot of hope and promises,” she said. “I’m so happy they (lawmakers) will be talking to everyone.”
Newly elected House District 83 Rep. Randy McDaniel, R-Oklahoma City, agreed that Cargill’s speech was inspirational.
“It was one of the great speeches I think will help move our state forward,” said McDaniel, whose district includes southern Edmond.
District 81 Rep. Ken Miller, R-Edmond, nominated Cargill during the hour-and-a half meeting. Cargill defeated District 32 Rep. Danny Morgan, D-Prague, by a vote of 54-43 with four representatives absent.
District 61 Rep. Gus Blackwell, R-Goodwell, defeated District 57 Rep. James Covey, D-Custer City, 55-42 to become speaker pro tem of the House.
Republicans seized control of the House two years ago and kept their 13-member majority in the November election.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma lawmakers from both sides of the aisle encouraged fellow legislators to put down their boxing gloves this session.
“The people will have the opportunity, as they look back in history, (to view) what you did these two years,” said Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, before fellow senators on Tuesday. “Did you set aside your partisan interest? Did you set aside your personal goals, to make Oklahoma better? Or did we, like our founding fathers, resort to bickering and fighting.”
Oklahoma legislators met at the Capitol Tuesday to elect the House and Senate leadership positions as part of the Constitutional organization day.
The leaders met on the same day that President George W. Bush and Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry declared a National Day of Mourning honoring the life of President Gerald Ford, who died Dec. 26.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater, took the opportunity to reflect on Ford’s legacy and the legacy of the new and returning legislators.
Ford “was, in fact, a common man that was called upon to do extraordinary things,” Morgan said. “By all accounts, he was exactly the right person to lead our country through a critical time in its history.”
Ford assumed the presidential role after the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974.
The Legislative session marks the first time Oklahoma Republicans and Democrats in the Senate will share power. The Nov. 7 election resulted in 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats elected to office in the Senate, which was always dominated by Democrats.
Morgan and Coffee formally were elected to share the Senate presidency Tuesday.
Each party will share all remaining leadership and committee chair positions.
House leadership discussed another historic marker this year: the state’s 100th anniversary of statehood.
House Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, took the opportunity during the organizational day to launch an initiative for legislators and community members to submit their ideas on the direction the state is heading over the next 100 years.
“Too often, as politicians, we listen to our own thoughts,” said Cargill, 35, the youngest state speaker in the nation.
The 100 Ideas Initiative is set to launch with an interactive Web site and advisory board next week. The board will include a bi-partisan group of people with varied backgrounds that will sort through incoming ideas.
He hopes to hear from people throughout the state on issues such as education, economic development, the environment and arts and culture.
Cargill devised the concept after the “Year in Ideas” edition of the New York Times Magazine.
Representatives and senators were given notebooks with empty pages to fill with policy ideas. He said there will be several town hall meetings and a book with the ideas will be published at the end of the year.
Cargill said it is his hope that the ideas are enacted into law.
“I challenge us as a legislative body to develop and support proposals that are forward thinking, that lay the groundwork for the next generation and help propel Oklahoma into its next 100 years,” Cargill said.
Morgan also wants legislators to think ahead.
“What will be our legacy when this Legislature adjourns sine die on May 30, 2008?” Morgan said. “Each of us have traveled our own path to this place … We each share, however, the reality that the people of Oklahoma sent us here with a trust to do an important job for each of them … The eyes of Oklahoma will be upon each and every one of us.”
The 51st Legislature will convene at 12 noon on Feb. 5 in both the House and the Senate.
Jaclyn Houghton is CNHI News Service Oklahoma reporter.
OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 2, 2007) — The new speaker of the Oklahoma House gave fellow legislators some homework and even some notebooks to put it in as one of his first orders of business on Tuesday.
Rep. Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, challenged fellow lawmakers to jot down their thoughts in the notebooks as part of his "100 Ideas Initiative," which he said he plans to use as a blueprint for the state's future.
"Oklahoma's second century is full of promise, and it should be about creating an Oklahoma that is innovative and forward-thinking," Cargill said after House members elected him during a one-day organizational session. "The 100 Ideas Initiative will help transform Oklahoma's mind-set — to look ahead not just to the next few years, but to the long-term future of our state."
Cargill, 35, who became the youngest legislative House speaker in the country, said he has no firm proposals in mind but will determine "100 Ideas" after visiting Oklahomans through a series of town-hall meetings and other events.
"The process inside the Capitol does not always reward long-term outlooks. It rewards sound bites that read well in the newspaper," Cargill said. "We want to solicit input from ordinary citizens from people outside this building to compile the best 100 ideas."
Since legislators are elected to make decisions on behalf of people they represent, Cargill was asked if his plan was similar to taking a poll and doing what is popular with the voters instead of exercising judgment.
"It's not that at all," Cargill said Tuesday afternoon. "Obviously legislators bring with them to the Capitol a set of values and principles which guide them on tough votes. This is about finding strategic ideas and proposals to do things better.
"Within the four walls of the state Capitol is not the sole repository of good, innovative ideas for the future and the `100 Ideas' is just a recognition of that."
Officials announced today the deadline has been extended to Oct. 31 for the 100 Ideas Initiative essay contest. The college scholarship will be awarded Nov. 8 to an Oklahoma high school or college student who submits a bold, innovative idea to reform Oklahoma.
The winner of the essay contest will receive a $12,500 college scholarship, plus the student’s idea will be published in the 100 Ideas Initiative book along with a profile on the student. The scholarship money is available through the generous contribution of an anonymous donor.
The contest is open to all Oklahoma high school and college students. Applicants must submit a one page essay to accompany their idea, as well as a brief outline about the idea. Applications should be mailed to 100 Ideas Initiative, P.O. Box 57641, Oklahoma City, OK 73157.
The top submission will be chosen by 100 Ideas Co-Chairs and former Oklahoma governors David Boren, George Nigh, Frank Keating, and Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill. The scholarship can be used for tuition at any college or university.
Since the 100 Ideas initiative was launched in January, there have been more than 3,000 ideas submitted from citizens throughout the state.
The 100 Ideas Initiative is based in part on the highly-successful "100 Ideas" project in Florida. It’s a commitment to listen to the state's citizens, to be guided by their ideas and to work to create a state government that boosts opportunity for Oklahoma’s families.
“We have already received many innovative ideas from the young people in our state and are excited to be able to reward our future generation of leaders with this significant scholarship,” said Cargill. “By extending the deadline, we look forward to continuing to receive these original ideas from some of Oklahoma’s brightest students.”
For complete details on the essay contest and the scholarship award, visit the organization’s Web site at www.100ideasOK.org.