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Oklahoma Legislature

For Immediate Release: May 24, 2010

      Sen. Susan Paddack     Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield  

Legislators Vow to Fight Closure of SORC in Pauls Valley

Legislation that would close the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center (SORC) that passed out of a House committee late Friday evening and landed in a Senate committee on Monday has a group of southern Oklahoma legislators vowing to do their part to kill the measure before session ends on Friday.

State Senators Susan Paddack and Johnnie Crutchfield and State Representative Wes Hilliard say they are frustrated the move came in the waning days of session by urban legislators who do not represent the people living in the community of Pauls Valley or have an understanding of the residents who have called SORC home for years.

On Monday afternoon, Sen. Paddack (D-Ada) gave an impassioned debate against House Bill 2456 in a Senate committee where the bill passed along party lines. She centered her debate on the issue of valuing the lives of the residents of SORC.

“We talk a lot about valuing life in this building and this legislation that would close SORC and leave these residents and their families out in the cold, simply to save a dime, does nothing whatsoever to value life,” Paddack said. “How can you say you truly value life if you are simply going to turn your backs on the most vulnerable citizens of this state?”

Senator Crutchfield (D-Ardmore) said he is appalled any decision to close SORC would not include the legislators who represent SORC and whom have been working with SORC and DHS officials for months on alternatives to closing the facility.

“That’s not the way you do business around here,” Crutchfield said. “We were elected by the people of this area to represent their voice, and now urban legislators who have no interest in what happens in our area are trying to silence our voice and it’s simply unacceptable.”

Rep. Hilliard (D-Sulphur) said the plan to close the SORC is short-sighted and will likely be devastating for residents and their families.

“I believe the residents of the SORC and their guardians should be included in any discussion that so directly impacts their future and quality of care,” he said. “Oklahomans who have family members at SORC are devastated and expect us to do what we can to stop this measure from becoming law and that is exactly what we intend to do.”

Paddack, Crutchfield and Hilliard said they will continue to fight against the passage of HB 2456 at every possible step left in the legislative process. The Legislature must adjourn by 5:00 P.M. on Friday May, 28th.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Paddack: (405) 521-5541
Sen. Crutchfield: (405) 521-5607
Rep. Hilliard: (405) 557-7412

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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