Labor commissioner visits

Bruce Benbrook (left) and Jeff Hickman (right) visit with Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor Leslie Osborn after the monthly Woodward Chamber of Commerce luncheon in the conference center on Monday. (Photo by Johnny McMahan)

The monthly Woodward Chamber of Commerce Luncheon featured a last minute announcement Monday as Clint White took the stage to announce his upcoming campaign for Woodward County Commissioner of District 2.

Filing for the seat does not open until April and the election will be in June. Randy Johnson is the current commissioner for District 2.

White will be running with the slogan “A brighter future for Woodward County” and intends to focus on smart, efficient government, diversify and expand economic development, roads and infrastructure, and school and community safety should he be elected.

“I have a vision that will bring a brighter future for all of us,” White said. “It starts with a smart, efficient county government that puts you the citizens of this great county first. As commissioner, I have a plan for economic development in our county that will expand our current economy while also bringing new industries to the area.

"This will not only increase our industrial tax base, but will foster better paying jobs for our citizens. With regards to our roads and infrastructure, I want to maximize the funds available and look for alternative funding such as grants to improve our roads and infrastructure. Finally, I want to work with our local law enforcement agencies to improve school safety and support our local fire departments to make sure they have the funding and training needed to protect our community.”

The luncheon saw a significant turnout and featured a few FFA student guests to help promote the upcoming Woodward District Livestock Show. The 86th District Livestock Show is scheduled to kick off on Feb. 23.

Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor Leslie Osborn gave a breakdown of what the Department of Labor does for businesses in Oklahoma and the current state of Oklahoma, before making an impassioned plea to bring civility back.

“The last thing I want to talk about that I think is the worst problem in America and Oklahoma right now, and that’s our lack of civility,” Osborn said. “We are at an ugly place. We are as divided as we’ve been since the Vietnam War.”

She urged her audience to abandon national news that instigates a divisive agenda.

“We are taught on our news channels to hate the other side,” Osborn said. “Every Republican news channel is telling you that every liberal wants full, partial birth abortions 24/7 on demand like a drive-thru. And every far left news show is telling you that every Republican wants to arm their baby with an AR-15… Both of those are rather misguided and exaggerated.”

The everyday voter is looking for peace in their lives, not party lines.

“Because in the middle are about 80 percent of Americans that don’t care if you have a D or an R on your lapel,” Osborn explained. “About 80 percent of Americans - who really just want a good place to raise their kids, who really just want a safe place to live, a good place to start a business. We’ve got to get away from the vitriol.”

Osborn, who was raised in a small town, wants to bring back family traditions that promote kindness.

“That little Hereford ranch that I grew up on, we had a tradition,” Osborn said. “My dad came in after feeding, and we had dinner at the family dinner table together every night, and when we finished, we had to do something that my brother and sister and I thought was really square… We had to watch Walter Cronkite together, and then we had to talk about what was going on in our town, in our county, in our state, and world. I am so appreciative that my parents taught me that my world was bigger than Posey County, Indiana.”

Using what her parents instilled in her, Osborn emphasized the importance of listening.

“Sometimes we have to be willing to listen to the other side and really listen, and find good answers in the middle that work for everyone and not believe that everybody on the other side is the bad guy,” Osborn said. “It’s not working for us. It’s tearing the fabric of our society apart.”

Osborn believes the legislature needs more everyday, real-world people from all 77 counties to make things work.

“That’s who we need to be electing that will make those tough decisions, that will come together to build the place that we want to stay,” Osborn said. “And I think we can do that, but it starts with us.”

The commissioner went on to condemn the misinformation that spreads across Facebook everyday, attacking people and politicians for their looks.

“Where is the kinder, gentler Oklahoma, America that we deserve?” Osborn asked. “I have two children and I promise on a bible, that I would rather they grow up kind than Rhodes Scholars. So please join me today and consider doing something I did two years ago, I turned off the national news… Turn off the news, get back to the dinner table, and teach your kids to be kind.”

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