The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 27, 2013

State secondary offices should remain on ballot

NORMAN — When Oklahoma was granted statehood in 1907, populism was a common theme among its residents. Many were from Kansas where populism had deep roots.

There was widespread distrust of big corporations, utilities and railroads. Centralized power was feared. A diffused government was best with various elected, rather than appointed, officeholders.

There are still many populists out there, only disguised with other stripes. That’s why a legislative plan to make three statewide officeholders as appointees of the governor, rather than elected by the people, seems to be on unstable grounds.

Senate Bill 598 would let the people vote on whether to give the governor power to appoint the labor commissioner, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction. If voters approved, the appointments would begin in 2018.

It doesn’t seem to us like the best progression of state government to make state offices appointed. It’s a better check and balance and makes all officeholders accountable rather than just one person.

We hope lawmakers kill Senate Bill 598 or, if it comes to a vote of the people, that voters turn it down.

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