What is OPEAPAC?
It is the Oklahoma Public Employee Association Political Action Committee. The OPEAPAC Board does not govern or coordinate with the OPEA’s Board of Directors. They are a separate sister organization from OPEA that determines endorsements and political campaign contributions that are in the best interest of Oklahoma State Employees. OPEAPAC is governed by a 9-member Board all of which are OPEA members. OPEA members have the option to donate money to the PAC. You choose whether to donate when they joined OPEA. If you do not donate to the PAC none of your money can be spent on political action such as endorsement, donations, or electioneering.
Who is OPEAPAC?
Sharita Ramsey – Tax Commission – President
Jess Calahan – Department of Human Services – Vice Chair
Connie Stockton – Retired Department of Tourism – Secretary/Treasurer
Tricia Parker -Retired Employees Group Insurance Division
Mike Rogers – Department of Corrections
Lynn Hodges – Retired Department of Health
Pat Hall – Previous OPEA Executive Director
Lew Logan- Retired Department of Tourism
How do I know if I donate to OPEAPAC?
When you joined OPEA you had the option to join OPEAPAC. If you don’t know if you are an OPEAPAC member or not please email Candice Steele at email@example.com and she will let you know your membership status.
How does the OPEAPAC decide who to endorse?
Most political action committees(PAC) are partisan which means they only support Democrats or Republicans. However, The OPEAPAC is a nonpartisan organization. The OPEAPAC board members must ignore any political issue other than state employee issues when determining endorsements. The OPEAPAC is tasked with determining who is the best choice to advance state employee issues with the current makeup of Oklahoma Leadership.
Each PAC board member comes into the election cycle with personal bias so how do you remove partisanship and bias from OPEAPAC endorsements? OPEAPAC board decided the only fair way to evaluate candidates is by prioritizing each incumbent candidates voting record on OPEA-supported legislation. Each OPEAPAC Board member must put aside political parties, social issues, and economic policy. They must only consider advancing the interest of Oklahoma state employees. If you’re an OPEAPAC donor and your only priority is to elect candidates from one political party you should reconsider your contribution to the OPEAPAC because their goal is to improve state employment. Let’s take a look at some recent examples:
Example #1: Governor Kevin Stitt
Governor Stitt has a 95% voting record on OPEA supported legislation. Now we did endorse Drew Edmondson in 2018 because then Kevin Stitts’s rhetoric was anti-state employee. However, over the last four years, OPEA & OPEAPAC have done a great job educating Stitt & his staff on the importance of improving state employment. The full list of Bills Stitt signed is included at the bottom of this article. His legislative highlights for state employees include:
- Hb 3422 – State Employee Market-based pay Concept
- DOC, ODOT, DHS, and Tourism have already implemented pay raises from this concept and many more state agencies will follow.
- HB 3420 – Continued Civil Service Modernization, Statutory Clean up, RIF Package
- HB 3888 – Employment protections and contract requirements for Schools of the Blind and Deaf
- HB 4118 – Pay raise for Court Reporters and Secretary Bailiffs
- HB 1146 – Civil Service Modernization
- Expanded due process rights to 95% of the state employee workforce
- HB 1876 – Exempting state employee’s private information from public inspection
- Previously state employee info such as a home address, phone number, etc. could be obtained by an open records request
- HB 2689 – Court Reporter equipment stipend
- SB 63 – Removed the reemployment requirements from RIF packages
- SB 282 and SB 333 – Allows annual and comp time to roll over during state emergencies
- SB 650 – Benefit allowance increase
- Tied the benefit allowance to the cost of Healthchoice High until 2024.
- HB 3350 – First Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA) for state retirees in 12 years
- HB 3068 – Eliminated requirement to fire state employees for being out of tax compliance
- SB 1424 – Targeted DOC Raise (Facility Specific)
- HB 2771 – Targeted Pay Raise
- SB 1045 – DOC pay raise
- HB 2770 – Court Reporter Raise
Example #2: Representative Chris Sneed
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