Stillwater News Press

January 10, 2013

Payne County lawmakers meet residents

By John Filonow
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Rain didn’t stop a good turnout for the League of Women Voters and Friends of the Library legislative reception Thursday.

Stillwater Public Library Director Lynda Reynolds said approximately 95 people came to the event. She was pleased with the turnout.

State Sen. Jim Halligan, R-Stillwater, State Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, State Rep. Dennis Casey, R-Morrison, and State Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, gave brief introductions.

City of Stillwater and Payne County elected officials met with residents before Reynolds introduced the legislators.

Stillwater League of Women Voters President Kirsten Tautfest read questions the audience had written to ask the legislators.

On the issue of school safety, Casey said Oklahoma is a long way from arming teachers.

Williams said he had heard from educators who were against arming teachers, but none who supported it. Money for putting guns in the hands of teachers could go to mental health programs, Williams said.

On providing funding for mental health programs, Halligan said many Oklahomans opposed the Affordable Care Act.

“It is difficult to underestimate the antipathy that most of the representatives of the people of Oklahoma and the Senate have for Obamacare,” Halligan said.

Williams said he was disappointed that Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin rejected the act.

“We left a lot of people without insurance,” Williams said. “We just gave away a bunch of money.”

Stillwater resident Ron DuBois said his question, about methadone treatment for county inmates, was not asked. He said he disliked the format change from previous years in which the audience could ask direct questions.

“We’ve lost our spontaneity,” DuBois said.

League of Women Voters member Jodie Franzmann said it was the second reception she had been to and the legislators seemed willing to work together.