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Rep. Inman rouses crowd at 2014 Labor Federation banquet, awards go to tornado relief efforts

ds - 1st Annual $1k Scholarship Award-Miss Lacey Daubenspeck

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Associate Publisher

House Democratic Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, delivered a rousing keynote address at last weekend’s “Labor & Friends” Banquet. The Central Oklahoma Labor Federation, sponsor of the banquet, presented several awards to union members, allies and a college student.

Inman assailed a range of laws enacted the recent 2014 legislative session, saying the Republican majority and chief executive did not advance the best interests of the Sooner State’s “working people and families.” Rep. Inman criticized pension reform legislation, declaring the new “defined contribution” structure will assure that future state employees will “retire into poverty.”

Inman stressed other issues where the minority caucus’ views clash with those of the Republican majority at the Capitol, including on corrections policy, state Trooper pay, health care policy (including Medicaid expansion) and tax reduction. Matching the sponsoring organization’s advocacy of a minimum wage increase, Inman decried a new state law that will forbid local jurisdictions from enacting mandatory wage rates higher than the federal minimum.

Cache High School graduate Lacey Daubenspeck, daughter of Terry and Debra, received a $1,000 college scholarship from the federation. Presently a student at Cameron University, she plans to finish her degree work for a master’s in Speech/Language Pathology at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Rev. Robin Meyers of Mayflower Congregational Church, author of ‘The Underground Church,’ was designated recipient of the Frosty Troy Friend of Labor Award. Rev. Lori Walke accepted the award for her colleague Meyers, who could not attend the event.

Allan Farris, member of the Operating Engineers Union, received the Keith Leftwich Volunteer of the Year Award for his efforts clearing debris and for good works after the May 2013 tornadoes.

Two organizations were presented the Whitey Sneed/Bob Spinks education and humanitarian award.

“Women of Steel” from the Sheet Metal Workers Local 124 of Texarkana were honored for assisting Moore and Oklahoma City residents immediately after the May 19 and 20 tornadoes here in the metropolitan area.

The state AFL-CIO was also hailed for humanitarian post-tornado efforts. State President Jimmy Curry and his assistant, Deb Wojtek, briefly addressed the crowd. The state office drew honors for coordinating relief efforts, using a sophisticated computer program Wojtek adapted to relief purposes.

A diverse group of community leaders were present for the festivities, including philanthropist Bob Lemon and his daughter Robyn, and City Council Member Ed Shadid.

Also attending were Democratic state Reps. Kay Floyd, Anastasia Pittman, Mike Shelton and Richard Morrissette, all of Oklahoma City, and Reps. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs and Eric Proctor of Tulsa. Democratic Sen. Connie Johnson, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, garnered a loud ovation from the crowd of union members.

State Sen. Al McAffrey of Oklahoma City and Emeritus Prof. Tom Guild, rivals in the upcoming Fifth Congressional District race, affably worked the crowd at The Centre banquet facility on N.W. 50 St. near Meridian.

Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Cathy Cummings, attended with her husband, Sean.

Other candidates for elective office in attendance included Jack Herron and Ivan Holmes, competing in the June 24 primary for the Democratic nomination in the Schools superintendent race. Several state Democratic officers greeted attendees, including Wallace Collins, Trav Robertson, Donna Russell and Christine Byrd, who is running for the state Senate this year.

Other political hopefuls in attendance: William Molden, George Young, Marilyn Rainwater, John Handy Edwards, Sarah Baker, Collin Walke and Mary Sosa.

Federation President Timothy O’Connor was master of ceremonies for the gala. Federation Secretary Roy Gordon led an opening flag salute, while Trustee Bob Bearden gave the invocation.

O’Connor closed the event leading the crowd, along with Lee Graham and Fitz Jenning, in singing several verses of “Solidarity Forever.”

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