The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 20, 2013

Enid reps meet with legislators during Enid Day at the Capitol

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

OKLAHOMA CITY — Enid Day at the Capitol Wednesday went well, said Jon Blankenship, president of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.

“The legislative breakfast went real well. It was well attended by the legislators and other state agency officials,” Blankenship said.

 Among the officials attending were Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Oklahoma Department of Transportation head Gary Ridley and many legislative and staff members. About 30 Enid-area residents attended to help host the event. Blankenship said he was happy to see so many make the trip in the snowy weather.

Following the breakfast, Enid representatives met with state Rep. Scott Martin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee; Speaker Pro Tem Mike Jackson; and Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman. The group thanked the legislators for their support for a project to lengthen the runway at Enid Woodring Regional Airport and for other support they have given the community.

Other topics discussed included workers’ compensation reform, the importance of keeping Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid open, and funding for water and roads in mid-size cities.

Concerning NORCE, Blankenship said he thinks there are opportunities to review and re-evaluate the decision to close the Enid facility and Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley.

“We continue to stress the importance of keeping it open,” Blakenship said. “The reality is many clients won’t survive a group environment. Furthermore, there aren’t any homes available.”

It is important to continue to convey that message, he said.

“We’re not giving up on it,” Blankenship said.

He said there is concern among the local legislative delegation and their colleagues about the plan to close the facilities and the process involved.

 “At the end of the day, the only issue is providing the highest possible quality care for those clients at NORCE and SORC. The only way to do that is to keep those facilities open,” Blankenship said.

This is the sixth year for Enid Day at the Capitol, and Blankenship said he believes it has been good to promote Enid and northwest Oklahoma. He thanked state Sen. Patrick Anderson, Jackson and Rep. John Enns for helping to plan and promote the event.

Sponsors were AdvancePierre Foods, Security National Bank, the city of Enid, Hiland Partners, Scheffe Prescription Shops, Visit Enid, Enid Regional Development Alliance, Eagle Marketing and Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce. Nearly all of those organizations had a representative present.