The good ole’ boy network is alive and well in Oklahoma!
On Tuesday, Kevin Stitt continued his pledge to run Oklahoma like a business by appointing an affluent white man from the ruling establishment – former Oklahoman publisher Gary Pierson – to the OU Board of Regents.
Here are the details via NewsOK.com:
Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Tuesday that businessman Gary Pierson is his choice for the remaining open spot on the University of Oklahoma board of regents.
“Gary is an accomplished Oklahoma attorney and businessman and a proud OU alum who will bring his professional expertise to the table to support the university’s goals of academic excellence and student success,” Stitt said.
Pierson, 60, is president of The Oklahoma Publishing Company, which owned The Oklahoman newspaper until October when the newspaper was sold to Gatehouse Media. The Oklahoma Publishing Company is no longer affiliated with the newspaper.
Normally, I’d complain about something like this, but as the publisher of a small media outlet that routinely outperforms The Oklahoman in a wide variety of metrics, I’m all for it. Who knows? Maybe it means I’ll be named to The Oklahoma City Community College Board of Regents some day!
You would think an older conservative white man with a firm handshake from the Oklahoma ruling class would be a lock for this appointment, but apparently members of the senate are holding onto a grudge.
Gov. Kevin Stitt’s latest appointment to the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents may face a tough confirmation process with some lawmakers skeptical there is enough support within the Senate.
Stitt on Tuesday nominated Oklahoma businessman Gary Pierson to fill a vacant seat on the board, which requires Senate approval.
“I did tell the governor’s office that it wouldn’t be a cakewalk, but that’s just a gut reaction,” Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat told The Oklahoman on Wednesday.
Wow. That’s weird. Kevin Stitt and Oklahoma lawmakers have been working very hard to smile, shake hands and make everyone think everything is Kumbaya and marshmallows at the Capitol. What would cause conservative Senators to cross their Governor? Are they punishing Pierson for overseeing the deep demise of the Oklahoman, and it’s sale to out-of-state interests?
Treat said his skepticism stems from Pierson’s involvement with Step Up Oklahoma, a coalition of businesses that attempted last year to push through a series of tax increases and government reform measures…
“There have been some concerns, but it hasn’t been a flurry, it’s been a trickle and I’m not really sure how to quantify that,” Treat said.
Multiple lawmakers who spoke with The Oklahoman but did not want to speak on the record said there was lingering resentment about the Step Up coalition, with some characterizing the group as trying to strong-arm lawmakers on budget decisions.
The Legislature did not approve the coalition’s proposal.
As a very loud and vocal critic of Step Up Oklahoma, I think that’s awesome. It’s nice to see it come back to haunt some of the people involved.