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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

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For Immediate Release: April 14, 2008

Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson
Sen. Kathleen Wilcoxson

Sen. Wilcoxson Says Adair Nomination Not Supported for Legal, Policy Reasons

Senate Education Co-Chair Kathleen Wilcoxson said she did not support the nomination of former House Speaker Larry Adair to the State Board of Education because that nomination was in violation of state law.  The nomination failed on a tie vote of 7-7 to win the full support of the Senate Education Committee.  Wilcoxson said the committee’s decision not to confirm the nomination was not about personality or politics, but was about public policy and the rule of law.

“I have tremendous respect for Speaker Adair and his contributions to our state,” said Wilcoxson, R-Oklahoma City.  “However the law is very clear and it was affirmed in a 1998 Attorney General’s opinion.  If the Governor withdraws a nomination, he cannot turn around and re-nominate that individual for the same post.  That is exactly what happened in this case, and I am bound by my oath of office to uphold the law.

Wilcoxson said her vote was also based on public policy and the need for additional reforms in public education, adding Speaker Adair had failed to support important reforms in the past.

“I believe strongly that we need greater accountability, more transparency and significant reform in order to lower our drop-out rates and improve student achievement levels,” Wilcoxson said.  “I would have serious concerns about any nominee with strong ties to the status quo in public education.  It comes down to whether we want to stand still, or move our state forward.”

Wilcoxson said that she believed Adair was only the second nomination submitted by Gov. Brad Henry since his 2002 election to be defeated in any committee.  She also stated that for more than a year she has encouraged the governor to work with the Senate to find a consensus nominee capable of winning the bipartisan support of the majority of members of the Senate Education Committee.

For more information contact:
Senator Wilcoxson's Office: (405) 521-5618

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