Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY – From an editor’s notebook, the nomination of Scott Pruitt ignites a home-state
clash of the titans, members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors visit the president-elect, and students at a local elementary school welcomed Santa (and one of the “most famous reindeer of all”) for a visit this week.
Trent England, host of a popular local radio talk program, has called on the head of the state’s legal guild to resign. England was responding to attorney Garvin Isaacs sharply negative comments, in an interview, concerning President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
England, also vice president of strategic initiatives at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA),deemed Isaacs reflections “outrageous,” declaring “Oklahoma attorneys deserve better, more responsible leadership than Garvin Isaacs has shown. By going out of his way to run down a popular fellow Oklahoma lawyer, Isaacs has used his position to politicize the Bar, needlessly so.”
England continued, “Isaacs is Exhibit A for why the Legislature should reconsider the Bar Association’s role in licensing attorneys and selecting judges. Nearly two-thirds of Oklahomans voted for Pruitt in 2010, and no one even filed to run against him in 2014. Garvin Isaacs isn’t fit to carry Scott Pruitt’s briefcase.”
Issacs, president of the Oklahoma Bar Association, provoked England’s reaction when he said the choice of Pruitt as administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is “the worst thing in the history of our environment. We are in danger. The whole country is in danger. Our kids are in danger. People have got to do something about the Citizens United decision that is turning our country into an oligarchy, run by oil-and-gas interests.”
Isaacs’ verbal assault on Pruitt was reported in a negative assessment of the Oklahoma attorney general written by Jane Meyer for The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/scott-pruitt-trumps-industry-pick-for-the-e-p-a). Meyer wrote the leader of the state’s lawyers believes that in choosing Pruitt (her words, in this case, summarizing Isaacs) Trump “outsourced his environmental policy to the Republican Party’s most powerful private donors — the oil-and-gas magnates who have funded Pruitt’s campaigns in Oklahoma.”
On Thursday (December 15), Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and other members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors met with President-elect Trump in New York. Cornett is current president of the conference, a diverse group that includes leaders of every partisan and philosophical hue.
With Cornett for the session with trump were New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (vice president of the conference), Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin, Second Vice President, Burnsville, Minn., Mayor Elizabeth Kautz (Past President) and Tom Cochran, (CEO and executive director of the conference).
According to a press release from Mayor Cornett’s office, “the delegation discussed priorities related to infrastructure investment, public safety, unfunded federal mandates, and immigration.” In the release, Cornett characterized the meeting as follows:
“We had a very positive, wide-ranging discussion with President-elect Trump today, and we appreciate his strong desire to work with the nation’s mayors on shared priorities that can strengthen America’s metro economies.”
On January 17-19, the conference of mayors will gather in the nation’s capital, on the eve of the inauguration, for their 85th Winter meeting. Cornett’s office said, “The Trump Administration has been invited to send top-level appointees from both the White House and federal agencies to engage with the mayors at the Winter Meeting.”
And, to end on a decidedly upbeat note, long-time journalist Bryan Painter, who now works for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, circulated a cheerful bit of news from F.D. Moon Elementary School in Oklahoma City:
On Tuesday (December 14), the Clydesdale horse Blazer, who works for Express Ranches, “stomped out of his trailer and lifted his huge head to the sky. Doug Sauter [the former Oklahoma City Blazers hockey coach] talked softly around Blazer and two miniature horses as Sauter told the children about how to approach a horse safely and pet its nose.”
The F.D. Moon students and staff, before enjoying the outdoors, “warmed up and enjoyed a breakfast snack donated” by directors of the state Department of Agriculture and the state Wheat Commission. “Sticky fingers eagerly grabbed donuts and washed them down with hot chocolate to get fueled for the last day of school.”
Painter wrote the agency’s leadership met with “Ag in the Classroom coordinators as they taught agriculture lessons from the award-winning preK-12 curriculum. Students tried their hands at milking Betsie the Cow, a large wooden cow-shaped cutout with a balloon udder. Coordinators also talked about milk and all the good things made from milk.
“Best of all was the sound of reindeer hooves on the school playground. Two of Santa’s reindeer found their way to Oklahoma and amazed the children with giant antlers and thick, soft fur. Prancer posed for photos with Santa and students from each class.
Although the reindeer didn’t fly around the school they delighted the students as part of the special happy holiday wishes from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.”