Thursday, May 13, 2004

Oklahomans for Jobs Now - Who Are They?

Have you seen the TV commercial attacking Governor Henry and Senate Pro Tem Cal Hobsen for their lack of action on getting tort reform passed? The commercial shows a group of supposed legislators and lobbiests sitting around a very dark smoke-filled room rubbing cigars back and forth between their thumbs and fingers and laughing - at the hapless voters no doubt. From personal experience I can tell you this scene is close to accurate - except they usually carry on in well-lit offices with the door shut. That is except when the lobbyists are treating them to drinks at the Clarion or dinner at the T.

But who are these people who call themselves the "Oklahomans for Jobs Now"? The commercial doesn't tell us. Even their website is quiet on their identity - except in one of their press releases they let it be known that OKC magnate Bob Funk (CEO of Express Personnel Services)is their honorary chairman. On their board of directors are Paula Marshall-Chapman (CEO of Bama Pie) and Wes Stucky (Ardmore Economic Development CEO), Larry Mocha of Air Power Systems in Tulsa; Ike Glass of Glass Trucking LLC in Newkirk; and Ricky Dickson of Blue Bell Creameries in Broken Arrow.

The ad is pretty pointed in its criticism of Henry and Hobsen. This must sting both gentlemen. Wes Stucky was Brad Henry's first pick for state Secretary of Commerce but he declined. Stuckey is the most effective economic development professional in Oklahoma - at least at attracting distribution centers. Not too long ago I was sitting near Cal Hobsen when he called Bob Funk to ask for a political donation. Bob Funk thought Hobsen was calling to ask for his input on legislation and was miffed when all Cal wanted was money.

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