Town Hall Update
Oklahoma Academy News March 2018
We're in the final stretch of Winter. Soon warmer temperatures, rain and Daffodils will be springing onto the scene. The Oklahoma Academy has a similar burst of energy stirring as we move into the season of community building. In just a few weeks, we'll begin hosting both Gubernatorial Issues Forums and our regular community outreach meetings in every corner of the state. These regional community events plant and nourish the seeds of civil discourse, collaborative and creative problem solving and important policy change-making to improve health, education, justice, business and many other facets of life in Oklahoma.
Read on below to learn more about our upcoming community events (the first Gubernatorial Forum is March 8 in Durant!) and read a brief review of two February events: the first ever Oklahoma Academy Advocacy Day and our annual Legislators’ Welcome Reception. We also have new board members and new officers for 2018 (listed here) who we would like to welcome aboard!
As you know, 2018 is a gubernatorial election year! During these years, the Oklahoma Academy has historically held Gubernatorial Issues Forums in each of our membership regions. This year is no different. Our first forum will be held March 8, in the Montgomery Hall Auditorium on the Southeast Oklahoma State University campus in Durant. Three more forums are currently scheduled - Tahlequah on April 3, Duncan on April 19, and Stillwater on April 26. All forums are from 5:30pm - 7:30pm, and are free and open to the public.
The first of our series of seven forums was to have been held February 21st in Enid for the Academy’s NW Membership Region. Unfortunately, weather did not cooperate with us and we had to cancel. This forum will be re-scheduled, and we will announce the new date soon. After the June primary elections, we will hold the remaining two Gubernatorial Forums in the Metro Tulsa Region and the Metro OKC Region.
The gubernatorial forums are designed to encourage candidates to research the issues and provide thoughtful answers, as opposed to stock sound-bite responses. Prior to the forums, candidates are given a set of questions about pressing issues and policies to review and develop researched responses. At the forums, a moderator will give each candidate an opportunity to share her/his answer and then the next question will be asked. After addressing all the Academy questions, there is time for questions from the audience. The forums conclude with a closing remark from each candidate.
In addition to the Gubernatorial Forums, we will be holding outreach meetings in our membership regions to share and discuss the priority recommendations form the 2017 Voter Engagement Town Hall. During the legislative session, we will keep our attention to the legislature and how they are addressing legislation that is carrying some of our 2017 Town Hall recommendations on voting, as well as our strategic recommendations addressing the state budget and priorities on health, criminal justice, education, economic development and municipalities. We will keep you abreast of legislative developments via our Action Alert, a digital news piece that will begin going out soon.
We had a fabulous February! We started early in February with the Academy’s first Awareness & Advocacy Afternoon at the Capitol which began with a press conference to officially release the October 2017 Town Hall Consensus Recommendations & Findings to improve the election process, voter access, and informed voter engagement. For a “first” event, the Awareness & Advocacy Afternoon brought many Academy members to the Capitol. The majority were experienced Capitol visitors, but we had a good number who were making their first Capitol visit. Much appreciation to the 2017 Town Hall Co-Chairs Dan Boren and John Harper, 2018 Chairman David Stewart, and to Richard Wansley who is leading our Awareness & Advocacy Task Force.
The Legislators’ Welcome Reception followed the afternoon at the Capitol. We held it at the Oklahoma History Museum, which was another first! We’d held it for the past several years at the Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club. Our change to the Oklahoma History Museum was positive, and the event was a great success. We had a large group of legislators attending, and an equally large group of our members and friends there. Sincere “thanks” to the LWR Co-Chairs, Clayton Taylor and Dan Boren, and their committee for a great evening sharing the Academy’s 2018 focus with members of the legislature.
Finally, we have closed the official membership renewal period to be included in the printed Membership Directory. If you did not get your renewal in for the 2018 year, please contact Jamie Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Academy office at 405.307.0986 and Jamie or I will be happy to assist you with renewing. Or if your contact information has changed, please let us know so we can update our databases. We will send out an addendum for the directory.