The Woodward News

Local News

June 11, 2013

Lawmakers say rural Oklahoma was big winner

Woodward, Okla. — \Area legislators used baseball metaphors to describe the recent legislative session as they spoke to Woodward Chamber of Commerce members during their monthly Chamber luncheon Monday.

"As I look back at the session I would say rural Oklahoma hit a grand slam," State Rep. Gus Blackwell, R-Laverne, said.

Blackwell said big part of that was the success of Senate Bill 965, co-written by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward.

Blackwell and Marlatt explained that SB 965 gave rural Oklahoma more representation on the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) by changing the composition of the water board membership.  Instead of members being appointed based on population areas, the members now represent different geographic areas, so that every area of the state is represented.

"The Panhandle now has its own representative and Northwest Oklahoma has its own," Blackwell said.  "Southeast Oklahoma and Southwest Oklahoma have their own as well."

Previously he said Tulsa alone had 2 representatives and another 3 OWRB members lived within 30 minutes of the Oklahoma City metro area, because those are the highest population areas.  But this didn't leave much room on the board for rural representation.

For instance, State Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, said that Southeast Oklahoma previously didn't have any representation on the board even though that is where the majority of Oklahoma's water is located.  And the panhandle didn't have a representative even though those 3 counties use more water than other regions in the state, largely due to the high agricultural production in those counties, Marlatt said.

However, those in the urban areas tried to make it a population issue, Blackwell said, noting they argued against giving "8 percent of the population, 20 percent of the vote."

But "water is a regional issue," Sanders said.

This is because water is used differently in different areas of the state, from agriculture in the Panhandle to watering lawns in the urban areas.  That's why the area legislators felt, as Blackwell put it, that SB 965 was a "huge victory for rural Oklahoma," because it allows those in the different regions have a say in what's best for their region rather than Tulsa and Oklahoma City representatives controlling everything.

"In the past Oklahoma City and Tulsa were driving the train and rural Oklahoma was just along for the ride trying to get whatever crumbs we could from the table," Blackwell said.

But thanks to leadership from rural legislators, including Marlatt, "this time rural Oklahoma drove the train."

Text Only
Local News
  • County OKs road use agreement

    Woodward County Commissioners on Monday approved a final version of a road use agreement between a energy company planning a wind turbine construction project near southeast Woodward County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Camp to show art is everywhere

    The Woodward Arts Theatre will become a recycling plant next week.

    July 22, 2014

  • Fairview Wrangler Rodeo turns 50 this year

    Western fun continues in Northwest Oklahoma as the Fairview Wrangler’s hosting their 50th annual rodeo.

    July 22, 2014

  • Common Core repeal has educators worried

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — With the Legislature's repeal of tough, new English and math standards known as Common Core, education leaders said they're concerned Oklahoma students will fall further behind their counterparts in more than 40 state which have implemented the standards.

    July 22, 2014

  • web1.jpg Travelers win Connie Mack state championship

    Down 2-0 and down to their final three outs, the Traveler Majors delivered a championship rally in the seventh inning Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 9 Photos

  • Hearing set on rezoning

    City commissioners will tackle rezoning items and a licensing agreement amendment Monday evening at the regularly scheduled meeting of the City of Woodward and Woodward Municipal Authority.

    July 20, 2014

  • Red Cross seeking additional volunteers

    The Red Cross is currently looking for volunteers in Woodward and the surrounding areas.

    July 20, 2014

  • Changes in military surplus program still causing some problems

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Cities, counties and school districts remain frozen out of a federal program that has sent millions of dollars worth of trenchers, trailers, semis, bulldozers, boats and forklifts and other equipment over the years.

    July 20, 2014

  • Love for Dr. Waddell easy to see

    Doctor Donald Waddell is known by many names by many people.

    July 20, 2014 1 Video

  • AAA offers some tips on fuel mileage

    With gas prices still high, drivers need every bit of help they can get on saving money and saving the gas itself.

    July 18, 2014