By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Enid native and Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb lauded the state’s efforts to attract business during a speech Friday to Enid Noon AMBUCS.
Lamb spoke in the Northern Oklahoma College Enid Gantz Center about his love for his hometown, the state’s public policy efforts to attract more business and the state’s economic successes.
Lamb said public policy was an ongoing process, something he has first-hand experience with during his time in the Oklahoma Senate.
But, he said Oklahoma is uniquely positioned as a state because of it’s central location within the United States, and because it has a unique heritage.
“I think the state to our south does a pretty good job at common education,” he said. “They must do a pretty good job at common education. If you talk to a Texan, they think they won the Alamo.”
Lamb continued, “No state, no state in the nation, can compete or touch the rich history of the state of Oklahoma. The 13 original colonies are pretty special, but no state can compete with our heritage.”
The lieutenant governor said no other state was settled in the way Oklahoma was.
He said American Indians were in the state first, not relying upon government and making their living off the land. Then they were joined by other Indians forced into Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears, overcoming death and other trials and tribulations.
Lamb credited those earliest Oklahomans for their entrepreneurial spirit, that led many to lease grasslands along the Chisholm Trail to cattlemen from Texas,
“If it weren’t for a lot of our entrepreneurs here, Texas would have starved to death,” Lamb said. “I’m expecting a thank-you card from them any day now.”
Lamb also spoke of the men, women and children who took part in the land runs that settled much of the state.
“They gathered on a line and had a track meet for 160 acres for new hopes, new dreams, seven times right here,” he said. “Because of that, fast forward to 2013, we have more to offer than any other state.”
Lamb said he “loves the job of selling Oklahoma” and noted the state has more than enough to offer.
“We don’t have enough mouths to eat all the wheat grown in Oklahoma. We don’t have enough mouths to eat all of the corn grown in Oklahoma,” he said. “We don’t have enough people to buy all the commodities we make in Oklahoma.”
He said Oklahoma is part of not just national commerce, but international commerce, as well. He said public policy matters and cheerleading without backing it up is fruitless.
He said Gov. Mary Fallin has called a special session for next month to address 2009 lawsuit reform legislation that was found unconstitutional because it addressed more than a single topic.
He said he was pleased Oklahoma was able to pass a pro-business measure this last session.
“Oklahoma has finally passed meaningful, comprehensive, substantial, real workers’ compensation reform,” Lamb said. “That’s been a huge burden on employers.”
He said one of the most “overwhelming” issues in the past few years was workers’ compensation reform.
Lamb also shared news about Oklahoma’s continued economic growth.
“In the last two or three years Oklahoma has lead the nation in net job growth,” he said.
Oklahoma has lead the entire country in manufacturing growth at a growth rate of 6.7 percent. He said the state also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, with rates between 4.9 and 6.1 percent over the past few years.
“The lowest statewide unemployment rate of any state with more than 2 million people,” he said. “We have to add that last part because North Dakota’s rate is so low thanks to a guy from Enid.”
He was referring to Harold Hamm, whose Continental Resources has sparked an oil-drilling boom in North Dakota.
Lamb said he wanted to “tweak every bit of public policy” to ensure Oklahoma will continue to lead in every category that matters. He said he will continue to work with chambers of commerce and local industrial alliances.
“So, collectively we can work on that public policy and focus our strengths and gather in a team effort to make the very best thing in Texas I-35 North,” he said.