HD47 Candidate Harold Jackson Visits OPEA Members

State employees representing DHS, OESC, OJA and the state Health Department met at the Chickasha Public Library recently to interact with House District 47 candidate Harold Jackson, who is running for the open seat recently vacated by Susan Winchester.

“We face so many issues in our agency and for state employees in general that it was very important to me to learn what philosophies my representative will take to the capitol,” said Lillian Norton, a DHS employee who attended the meeting.

After an introduction from OPEA Deputy Director Scott Barger, Jackson took questions from the floor with topics ranging from state employee pay and turnover to health insurance and retirement issues.

On the subject of state employee pay, Jackson, who owns the McDonald’s franchise in Chickasha, said he understands the need for proper compensation.

“You need to pay your people,” Jackson said. “This is a simple principle of business. It is only right for employees to expect pay raises every year to keep up with this economy. I have a permanent plan in my business to offer my employees raises twice a year.”

Regarding the $80 million lost to the state on employee turnover due to low salaries and other issues, Jackson said in his business turnover can be crippling.

“Unfortunately, I deal with turnover every day,” he said. “It wastes many resources to train and replace employees.”
As the meeting concluded, Barger stressed the issue of involvement to the state employees in attendance.

“This is a crucial election for state employees,” Barger said. “By your participation tonight you have shown you understand that it takes a group effort to get a candidate elected – I challenge you now to put out yard signs, help knock doors and get your fellow employees involved in the process. We have to get forward thinking candidates like Harold Jackson elected so state employees can receive their due at the Capitol,” Barger added.

Jackson, a Democrat, is the former mayor of Chickasha. Leslie Osborn, Jackson’s Republican opponent, did not attend, citing a previously scheduled fund raiser.

Also attended the meeting were Nate Mansell, OESC; Jo Richter, OESC; Sharon Page, Oklahoma Health Department; Faith Heidtman, DHS; Allen Jacobson, OESC; Walt Wilson, DHS; Rebecca Rawson, DHS and Shawn Dalrymple, OJA.

OPEA’s next scheduled political meetings are October 7, in Altus, between Democrat Dan McMahan and Republican Charles Ortega and on October 9, in Duncan, for House District 50 candidate Daisy Lawler.

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