GOP officials turn out to oppose recall


I drove through the snow to be at Tulsa County Republican Headquarters at noon today for a press conference announcing the opposition of 14 Republican elected officials to the effort to recall Tulsa City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock from office. The parking lot was full, and the room was packed with the public officials as well as the entire Republican Central Committee and many leading Republican activists.

In the room to speak against the recall were Mayor Bill LaFortune, State Senators Randy Brogdon, Brian Crain, and Jim Williamson, State Representatives Rex Duncan, Fred Perry, and Dan Sullivan, and City Councilor Sam Roop. Unable to attend, but indicating their opposition were State Senators Mike Mazzei, Scott Pruitt, and Nancy Riley, and State Representatives Dennis Adkins, Pam Peterson, and John Smaligo. Councilors Medlock and Mautino were also present.

(UPDATE: Chris Medlock's website additionally lists State Representatives Sue Tibbs, John Trebilcock, and John Wright as opponents of the recall. Altogether, that's the entire Republican legislative delegation from Tulsa County, with the exception of Mark Liotta, Ron Peters, Ron Peterson, and Chris Hastings. I'm inclined to think Liotta's name was inadvertently omitted.)

I took sketchy notes. Everyone made the point that no matter whether you agree with the councilors on every issue, the accusations against them aren't worthy of negating the vote of the people. Here are some highlights:

Sen. Brogdon said the backers of the recall should stop it immediately, calling the effort "selfish" and "destructive." His opposition to recall is especially noteworthy, since he was mayor of Owasso, a suburb that has been at the center of the criticism of the Council majority over annexation, extension of water lines, and suburban water rates.

Sen. Crain said of Councilors Medlock and Mautino that they are "voting in good conscience, voting their morals and ethics and values."

Freshman Rep. Dan Sullivan (no relation to non-Councilor Randy or Congressman John) said what we have at City Hall right now is healthy debate. "We need people who are willing to ask questions, not people afraid they'll be recalled if they ask questions."

Rep. Duncan, also a freshman, and representing the western suburbs of Tulsa, called the recall "nonsense -- the kind of nonsense that keeps people from seeking public office."

Councilor Roop called the recall "very un-American and very anti-community."

Republican Vice Chairman Brigitte Harper concluded by painting a vivid image of the "people who have been in charge for a very long time." Now that they have lost control of the City Council, they "want to take their toys and go home."

It was an impressive show of unity, although Republican Councilors Bill Christiansen and Susan Neal, and Republican non-Councilor Randy Sullivan were conspicuous by their absence.

During Q&A, KRMG's Marshall Stewart asked whether the recall issue was really partisan. The Mayor allowed GOP chairman Don Burdick to field the question. Burdick said that the Democratic Party isn't involved in supporting the recall, but that the likely outcome, if the two Republican councilors are removed by a recall vote, is that they would be replaced by the two Democrat former councilors they defeated last March, because a majority of the remaining councilors would appoint someone to fill the vacancies, overthrowing the result of the previous election.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 28, 2005 11:21 PM.

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