A completely different culture
Hilbert and Lawson talk about what it’s like to be more experienced, and how glad they are to be working under Stitt.
Until right at 7:30am on Friday, it looked as though this “town-hall” style get-together of representatives and constituents might be light—really light. Sapulpa Times arrived roughly fifteen minutes ahead of the start time, and for several minutes after, we were concerned we might be the only attendees. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
After introductions, Hilbert took the floor and immediately began to talk about the difference the last couple years has made.
“The longer you’re in, the more responsibilities you get, even more so for Mark and I, because of the 46 new (Representatives), I was telling someone earlier, they still don’t know where all the bathrooms are, much less how to take an idea to a bill to the governor’s desk,” Hilbert said.
“The culture is just by far much different in a better way, a more positive way. But of course, the last few years we’ve had the budget deficit or we had a teacher walk out there was a lot of animosity and a lot of distrust with the legislature, the agencies…there still is, somewhat, but just the momentum that we have right now is fantastic.” Lawson said.
Continuing on what it’s been like working under Governor Stitt, Lawson says “the governor is absolutely trying to transform the way that government is delivered to you guys.”
Lawson also gave a lot of credit for being able to do what he does best: “I’m able to really dive in deeper with the Department of Human Services and very thankful for that, very thankful that the governor has made that a priority.”
Someone brought up the new bill that gives the governor the power to hire and fire agency directors. It’s been met with some opposition from deomcratic members, but Lawson says otherwise. “It’s good policy for the governor of the state to actually be the governor of the state and be in charge a lot of these agencies. We left the boards in place, they still are there to get the rules and approve the budgets and everything for those agencies. And the only authority that they don’t have is hiring, firing the director. That means if an agency is doing what it’s supposed to do, you can hold the government accountable.”
County Treasurer Don Engle spoke up: “You have no idea what that means to me…I appreciate what you did. Because to me, that was the biggest problem we had in the state.”