In a commencement speech that demonstrated great respect for state employees, Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill was the final speaker for the first ever OPEA Government Relations School.
Cargill opened the speech with an appreciation of state employees.
“I want to thank you for the job you do,” Cargill said. “My mother is a long time state employee so I know that you are servants of the people, even though you aren’t elected!” he said.
Cargill went on to say that day to day state employees rarely get the recognition they deserve.
“It’s a team effort every day to keep Oklahoma running,” he said. “And I know each of you do your part.”
From there Cargill thanked the employees for participating in the political process.
“By your being here today, you have proven that you have an interest in the best government possible,” he said.
Cargill believes that the more state employees become involved in the political system the better.
“Stay involved,” he said. “You are on the ground and know what needs to be done to keep government running.”
Finally, Cargill addressed his vision for the future.
“It’s time for us to modernize state government,” he said. “Oklahoma has over 515 agencies, boards and commissions, compared to Kansas with 115 and Arkansas with 200.”
Cargill said that work toward a bright future must begin immediately.
“The political process does not reward long term thinking,” he said. “We have come out of our Centennial year excited about Oklahoma and its future.”
As far as a pay raise for state employees, Cargill offered hope.
“The House leadership team wants to see a pay raise bill for state employees advanced,” he said. “Even there with an estimated $32 million in excess revenue there are ways to reallocate existing resources to help make this happen.”
Cargill ended by saying that it will take creative methods to bring Oklahoma into the new century.
“By using fresh ideas, combined with a can do attitude, there is no limit what can be achieved in Oklahoma,” he said.