As the voice of business in Oklahoma, the State Chamber takes politics seriously.
We advocate for good laws and fight the bad ones, and we educate lawmakers, regulators and other officials about how their decisions affect businesses of all sizes. We don't just represent big companies; we advocate for everyone who provides the jobs, goods and services that make our society great.
The Oklahoma Legislature and Congress, which set the framework and policies affecting how we live our lives, are filled with people, and one of the great victories of democracy is that the voters get to choose those people.
To create and maintain a strong environment for business, the State Chamber take a close look at the candidates running for office in our state. Their decisions help or harm millions of people, so the stakes are high.
As Oklahomans, we know best what our people and our businesses need. That's why we were disappointed when the U.S. Chamber didn't consult with local experts and leaders before barging into Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District race and endorsing Rep. Kendra Horn.
The U.S. Chamber claims it supports business but disregarded Rep. Kendra Horn's votes on key bills that were critical to Oklahoma's business community. The State Chamber urged them not to just look at Horn's aggregate record, but to consider her actions on high-priority measures. Local and state chamber input would have added valuable perspective for D.C.-based U.S. Chamber staff.
Horn has a weak position on the oil and natural gas industry, which forms the backbone of Oklahoma's economy and provides benefits to every other sector, including providing the largest share of state revenue.
How does it benefit Oklahoma to have thousands of people here lose jobs because of over-regulation and a desperate, misguided desire to stop production of affordable, reliable energy? That's not being good for business, and many other groups have seen the evidence.
Americans for Prosperity have Horn rock-bottom ratings, and her score on the National Federation of Independent Business scorecard is currently 56% while the rest of the Oklahoma federal delegation has scored 100%.
We had hoped that Horn would have been more business-friendly, but the jury is still out on that judgement. That is why we asked the U.S. Chamber to remain neutral in this race. Unfortunately, they ignored local input and did not.
When you are deciding who to support, think about whether the candidate is backed by the people who know Oklahoma and work to make it a friendly business environment every day.
Note: This article was first published in The Journal Record on September 11, 2020.