It looks like Kevin Stitt’s honeymoon at the Capitol is nearing its end.
After months of just about everyone trying to play nice and get along, State Senator Carri Hicks – TLO’s original house mom – decided to go against the advice of the local ruling establishment and not support some of Kevin Stitt’s nominations to the state Board of Education.
Here are the details via NewsOK.com:
A Democratic state senator and former teacher has refused to carry through the Senate confirmation process for two of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s appointments to the state Board of Education.
Sen. Carri Hicks, D-Oklahoma City, declined to carry the nominations of Estela Hernandez and Jennifer Monies because of philosophical differences on the best direction for public education in Oklahoma.
Hicks said her vision for the state’s public education system does not include the Board of Education stepping on school districts’ toes.
“Both pretty well indicated that they would use the power the state Legislature has entrusted into them to override those local school board decisions,” said Hicks, without offering specific details. “That’s just a disagreement that I can’t support.”
Hicks also said their support of expanding school voucher programs runs counter to her vision of investing in the state’s public schools. The nominees indicated they would be favorable to expanding vouchers, she said.
That’s cool. It’s nice to see someone at least trying to play the role of obstructionist at the Capitol. Unfortunately, Hicks refusal to carry Stitt’s questionable nominations doesn’t accomplish much outside of giving us a fun headline to use.
Gubernatorial appointments requiring Senate approval are shepherded through the confirmation process by a sponsor. Traditionally, the senator who represents the district where the appointee resides has the first chance to serve as the sponsor.
Hicks’ refusal to carry the nominations means another senator will have to shepard the appointments through the Senate.
Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, who could carry the nominations himself, said he plans to talk to Hicks before reassessing and moving forward on the nominations. As of Thursday afternoon, he had heard rumors that Hicks would not carry the nominations, but had not heard that from her directly.
“There’s a number of ways forward,” Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said. “I want to have a conversation, out of respect to Sen. Hicks, with her before I make a decision on that.”
Wow. A male Republican lawmaker in the Oklahoma senate wants to treat a female Democratic lawmaker with respect? Maybe he should start by disciplining Paul Scott?
Anyway, I don’t follow the school board circuit to closely, but I do think Hicks is on the right side of this, especially when it comes to Estela Hernandez. Check out her background:
Hernandez, who is a small business owner and licensed real estate agent, declined to comment Thursday, saying things are “still very fluid.” Hernandez also previously served as vice president of engagement for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, vice chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party and commissioner on the Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women.
Yeah, she was the Vice President of Engagement – whatever that means – for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. It’s the conservative “think tank” that’s operated and funded by right-wing nutjobs that have erotic wet dreams about public education being privatized. Their former employees deserve to be on a board for public education about as much as a former Lost Ogle writer deserves to be on the board for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs.