Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Brad Henry Doesn't Like to Talk Negative

A couple of days ago the Tulsa World reprinted an editorial from the Wall Street Journal that flamed Oklahoma State Senator Stratton Taylor for soliciting other trial lawyers around the US to try their cases in Oklahoma because of the no-cap on jury awards to plaintiffs in our state. Stratton Taylor happens to be the Senate Pro Tempore in the Oklahoma Legistlature - in other words, he controls the Senate agenda. He is also a trail lawyer and he grows rich suing companies. He has a vested interest in not letting the Legislature put a cap on jury awards as the Texas Legislature did last year. Now, this is quite outrageous. Our Legislators have put Senator Taylor in position to thwart tort reform knowing full well that this is a full-blown conflict of interest for him. Why would our Legislators act so outrageously? Could it be because many of them are also lawyers?

So, what is Governor Brad Henry going to do about this? Nothing. A big fat nothing. Our so-called economic development Governor cares more about not rocking the boat at the Legislature than he does about fixing one of Oklahoma's worst problems. When the Tulsa World asked the Gov what he thought about Stratton Taylor's letter and the horrible publicity it brought Oklahoma all he could say was that he didn't want to "talk negative" but wanted to talk about what is good about Oklahoma. So Governor Henry wants to bury his head in the sand and ignore serious problems such as tort reform and the fact that it drives business (except lawyers) out of the state? Could the fact that the Governor (and seemingly everyone in his cabinet) is a lawyer and a good buddy of former colleague Stratton Taylor have anything to do with the Governor's unwillingness to face the problem head-on?

The Governor and his Democratic Party need to get real on this issue. They need to repudiate Taylor and this conflict of interest and address tort reform. The Governor needs to remove his rose-colored glasses and stop paying lip service to economic development.

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