Help Set OPEA's Legislative Agenda By Submitting Platform Planks

Meetings have been set across the state for OPEA members to gather to discuss platform planks to be presented at this year’s annual convention. These local meetings are open to all OPEA members and are where OPEA’s legislative agenda begins.

“If members want to have a voice in OPEA’s future, they need to attend one of these meetings and work with fellow members to decide OPEA’s direction,” said Candice Scarpitti, OPEA membership director. “Our program needs to come up from the grass-roots, local level and be finalized at the convention.”

Platform planks that are approved at the local meetings are then voted on by the membership at the annual convention in August. Those that are approved there are worked on during the year by OPEA staff and membership.  If a member wants OPEA to take a certain position on an issue that is important to them they need to discuss it with other members at their workplace,  take it to their local platform meeting and propose it.

A platform plank form and a regional map is contained in this edition of The Advocate. We encourage members to complete them at home and then bring their plank to their local meeting. If they can’t attend the local meeting, give your completed form to your Regional Director or another member who will attend. Platform planks sent to the OPEA office will not be considered. They must be heard at the local meeting.

If you have any questions, please contact Candice Scarpitti or call her at (405) 524-6764

The current meeting locations and times are as follows. Additional meetings may be scheduled for future dates:

Region 1:
June 4th, 6:00 p.m., High Plains Technology Center
Main Building, General Meeting Rooms - Room 201C
3921 34th St., Woodward, Okla

Region 2:
June 15th, 5:30 p.m., Lawton Public Library
110 SW 4th St., Lawton, Okla

Region 3:
June 17th, 10:00 a.m., Enid Public Library,
Red Earth Room
120 W. Maine Ave., Enid, Okla
June 29th, 6:00 p.m., Pizza Hut
2301 N 14th St., Ponca City, Okla
Region 4:
June 25th, 5:30 p.m. Ardmore Public Library – Smith Room
320 E St., NW, Ardmore, Okla
June 30th, 1 p.m. Salita’s Mexican Restaurant
1102 W. Main, Durant, Okla
Region 5:
June 2nd, 5:30 p.m., OPEA office
13 NE 28th St, Oklahoma City, Okla
Region 6:
June 15th, 3:00 p.m. Norman Central Library, Room C
225 N Webster Ave., Norman, Okla
June 18th, 5:30 p.m. South Oklahoma City Library
2201 SW 134th St., Oklahoma City, Okla
June 26th, 6:00 p.m. Pizza Hut
413 S. Green Ave., Purcell, Okla
Region 7:
June 9th, 5:30 p.m. First National Bank – Motor Bank Community Room
235 N. Wilson, Vinita, Okla
June 23rd,  11:00 a.m. Bricktown Brewery
11909 E 96th St., Owasso, Okla
Region 8:
June 18th, 5:30 p.m. Ollies Restaurant
4070 Southwest Blvd., Tulsa, Okla
Region 9:
June 11th, 5:30 p.m. JL’s Barbeque
5501 S. Mill St. Pryor, Okla
Region 10:
June 23rd, 3:00 p.m., Disabled American Veterans
4815 W. Okmulgee , Muskogee, Okla
June 25th, 5:30 p.m. Okmulgee Public Library
218 S. Okmulgee, Okmulgee, Okla

Region 11:
June 30th, 5:30 p.m. Roseanna’s Italian Food
200 E. Washington, Krebs, Okla

June 15th, 5:30 p.m.
Papa Poblanos
502 Lincoln Rd, Idabel, OK

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President's Corner

The phrase “All Politics Is Local” is attributed to former Speaker of the House Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill but it has been used by many people throughout the years to describe our country’s political process. These four words hammer home the point that regardless of who is in office, elected officials should answer to the folks back home.
Oklahoma’s legislature is especially “local”. I’d bet nearly every OPEA member knows at least one legislator. You may have gone to school with them, worship with them, cheer on the local teams with them or do business with them. If you don’t know them personally, you may know someone in their family. If you live or were raised in a small Oklahoma town like I was, you know that everyone knows everyone else. Sometimes we know too much about our neighbors.

But when it comes to politics, knowing your local elected officials away from the political arena is vital to being able to communicate your feelings about an issue. If your lawmakers know you by name and recognize you when you meet, you need to use that relationship to let them know of the great things that state employees do.
When the lawmakers go home after the session is over, I challenge each OPEA member to contact your house member and state senator. If you already know them, this will be easy to do. If you don’t yet know them, get to know them. Believe it or not, our representatives want to hear from members of their community and that includes state employees and retirees. By establishing a relationship with them now, it will be more meaningful when you contact them later about important issues.

OPEA is local too. Sure, we have an office in Oklahoma City and much of our work is with the legislature and state agencies’ central offices, but we are a statewide, grass-roots organization that spans across the Sooner State. OPEA works best when our members form strong local chapters and become active in their hometowns and local workplaces. OPEA’s board and staff are here to help you start a local chapter or energize an existing one.

Soon, members will have several opportunities to have their views heard and also consider whether or not they would like to take a more active leadership role in our association. Plans have been made for local platform meetings during which members will discuss and select items that they would like to see OPEA take an active role in promoting. Sometimes, these “planks” are in the form of resolutions that guide OPEA’s actions or they may set the legislative priorities for the next year.
These meetings are a great opportunity for members to have a say in what is important to OPEA. I know that we all are busy with work, church and family activities but I hope you will attend your region’s meetings. The OPEA board and staff have them scheduled and you can find them in this edition of The Advocate.

Another way to “localize” OPEA is to have strong and active regional officers. Elections will be held this summer for directors in the odd-numbered OPEA regions and the retiree west region.  Members elected to those seats are the local OPEA leaders in their region and serve on the board of directors. Today, we have a committed group of leaders who have been elected. However, it is always good to see new people take an active leadership role in our association.  As with any board, OPEA’s board works best when we have a diverse mix of experience, energy and perspective among those on the board.

If you are a member in one of this year’s regions, I hope you will consider running. Serving takes time and commitment but the personal reward and benefits to our association can be great.

Our staff and board are here to work with you to make OPEA as effective as it can be but we will accomplish so much more when we have active and engaged members across Oklahoma.

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OPEA's mission is to unite public employees in Oklahoma to improve the quality of state employment. We are a grass-roots, member-driven organization. Our board and staff receive information and ideas through member dialogue and participation.