Sen. Eason-McIntyre under fire from Kara Gae Neal, Margaret Erling

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State Sen. Judy Eason-McIntyre (D-Tulsa) has come under attack twice in recent days by prominent Tulsans who evidently oppose educational choice and individual liberty, according to two recent stories by CapitolBeatOK.

Last Thursday, lobbyist Margaret Erling harangued the Tulsa senator on the floor of the Senate over Eason-McIntyre's support for the conference report of a bill that will change the cutoff date for school enrollment from September 1 to July 1. (Margaret Erling is the wife of former KRMG morning show host John Erling Frette.) Under HB 1465, "a child would have to be four by July 1 to enter Pre-K programs, and/or five years old by July 1 to enter kindergarten," according to the CapitolBeatOK story.

In the Monday interview, Eason-McIntyre said that at the time of the incident, she had decided to support two Republican bills in the conference, and had approached "my leader," state Sen. Andrew Rice of Oklahoma City to give him a heads up on her decisions. The upper chamber had just recessed for the day. Sen.Rice was working at his desk, according to Eason-McIntyre.

She briefly explained to Rice her support for the two measures in the conference process (signing a conference report does not bind a member to support a measure on final passage), including H.B. 1465. She said Sen. Rice told her "not to worry about it."

He had, she recounted, asked members of the minority caucus to remain unified through the redistricting process to assure protection of Democratic interests. She explained that with that issue now headed toward resolution, Rice told her he understood her positions on the two measures.

Just as the two had finished speaking, Erling approached. As Erling confronted her, Eason-McIntyre was so perplexed by Erling's attitude that she was, she confessed, briefly confused over which of the two bills had so angered her.

"She was irate, and ranting. I thought she was going to have a stroke," Eason-McIntyre told CapitolBeatOK. Erling, who has several major clients at the Capitol, including Tulsa Public Schools, claimed to Eason-McIntyre that another client, George Kaiser of Tulsa, opposes H.B. 1465.

(The story also reports that the chief of staff of State Superintendent Janet Barresi has also been lobbying against the legislation.)

Then, on Sunday, Kara Gae Neal, the superintendent of Tulsa Technology Center (formerly known as Tulsa Vo-Tech), sent a scathing email to Eason-McIntyre for signing a conference committee report for HB 1652, which would allow concealed-carry permit holders to keep their guns locked in their vehicles in parking lots on vo-tech campuses and a few other types of public venue. According to Neal's email, Eason-McIntyre had the leverage to kill the bill in committee.

(Kara Gae Neal is the wife of retired Tulsa World editorial page editor Ken Neal.)

"I cannot believe that under the cloak of no public vote, you signed out of committee the only gun bill left alive this year, HB 1652, which will bring guns to Career Tech campuses across the state.

"I cannot believe that you have said Democrats have no power this year but YOU, single handedly, could have stopped that bill in its tracks. Two others on that committee held firm, one a Democrat and one a Republican and true friend to education, Dr. [James] Halligan. It took 4 votes to secretly slip it through the committee without a recorded public vote and YOURS was the 4th vote...after giving a verbal commitment in advance to Brady McCullough from Tulsa Tech that we could count on your support to kill the bill in committee.

"I cannot believe that YOU, who represents the District with the greatest number of CHILDREN shot in this state every year, did this to them and to us. Our Tulsa Tech facility in your district not only has high school students but a CHILD CARE center on that site.

"I cannot believe that when asked why you did this you said you liked the bill's author, Sen. Russell, and that he had done a lot for you. And what would that be? Surely getting 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' as the state spiritual/blues song was not it. Maybe they will play that in your memory at the funeral of children shot in your district.

Eason-McIntyre replied:

"For the record you can tell anyone you want that I signed the conference committee report at the request of my friend Sen. Russell. For your information there was no deal made!

"I have never hidden behind any excuse for what I decide to do. I do strongly believe that if Republicans believe in guns then openly vote for their gun related bills.

"You mentioned the problem with guns in OUR community, not just my district but I have yet to hear of any effort you have provided to solve Tulsa's gun problem, particularly in my district.

"The catty remark about the State's gospel song being sung at a funeral in my district, I will ignore and assume it had no any racial overtones intended.

"As it relates to our 'friendship' I am sorry always to lose a friend, but you made that choice."

"Judy"

School choice activist Brandon Dutcher, linking to these two stories, writes:

State Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre (D-Tulsa) is a liberal pro-abortion Democrat with whom I have virtually nothing in common. But I've always admired the way she has stood up for giving underprivileged students more school options -- even when doing so has been difficult for her politically. So I must say I felt sorry for her recently when she had abuse heaped upon her in the most inappropriate of ways. ...

The good senator will live to fight another day. Here's hoping she comes back next year and helps push another school-choice bill across the finish line.

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4 Comments

Shadow6 said:

I had no idea that lobbyists were allowed on the floor of the Senate. I'm not sure I like this. Can a citizen wander the floor?

I've heard from Republicans about the knuckle-dragging tactics of the Oklahoma Education Association, but did not know that Margaret Earling and (wow) the Superintendent of Tulsa Tech would confront elected officials in such a way.

Ms. Eason-McIntyre wrote:

"You mentioned the problem with guns in OUR community, not just my district but I have yet to hear of any effort you have provided to solve Tulsa's gun problem, particularly in my district."

This is a Moment of Clarity statement that I have never seen from a liberal Democrat. Margaret Earling and Kara Gae Neal probably live in safe, possibly gated, communities. Have they ever attended a funeral for a victim of a shooting, or a drug ovedose? Have they ever heard gunfire at night in their neighborhood? Have they ever seen gang activity where they live? I'll bet Ms. Eason-McIntyre has. Maybe she is tired of all the obligatory rallies after a Northside tragedy and is looking for solutions.

How dare these privileged people talk about funerals when their children will never, ever be in the kind of danger that Northside Tulsa children face as a matter of course.

Bob said:

Let's do some connecting of the dots, shall we?

Margaret Erling Frette is a lobbyist whose husband was the dominant local Tulsa radio talk jock for about 30 years.

When John Erling ruled the local airwaves, just coincidentally Margaret was given $200K per year in taxpayer money from several local government entities, such as Tulsa Public Schools, Tulsa Vo-Tech, TMUA, and City of Tulsa, until outed by the new local weekly newpaper, the Tulsa Beacon.

Was the $200K payment a peace offering from local government officials (Susan Savage) with dominant local opinion shaper John Erling?

Kara Gae Neal is the wife of former long-time Editorial Page Editor of the local monopoly newspaper Ken Neal. I just wonder how many editorials were coordinated praising those organizations who hired Kara Gae Neal as their lobbyist, and how many editorials crucified those who did NOT hire Kare Gae Neal?

The A Team said:

Is Kara Gae Neal any relation to Ken Neal of the Tulsa Whirled?

mark said:

Michael -

Maybe it's too late, or I'm just too dense, but what is the connection between "cut-off dates" and "school choice"????

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 20, 2011 2:51 AM.

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