Enid News and Eagle: Local group to take annual trip to the nation’s Capitol

Feb 16, 2011
In The News

ENID — About 20 people have made plans to go to Washington, D.C., March 8-9 for the annual trip by Enid officials.

Representatives of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce and the city of Enid make the trip annually. Jon Blankenship, president and CEO of the Enid chamber, said the trips have been taken for more than 30 years.

The agenda includes a visit to the Pentagon to discuss military construction issues at Vance Air Force Base. Recently, a new control tower was built at the base, and officials hope to have a consolidated operations center funded. Dan Ohnesorge, Enid Woodring Regional Airport director, will attend as chairman of the chamber’s federal government committee. He also will give an overview of airport projects, including new hangars, the 66th Street widening project and creation of a foreign trade zone.

Congressional meetings are scheduled with U.S. Reps. Frank Lucas, Dan Boren and James Lankford and U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe.

“We have some good news to tell them in our overview of Enid,” Blankenship said. “Unemployment is down, sales tax is up and the census is favorable.”

Data released Tuesday by U.S. Census Bureau indicated Enid’s population grew by 5 percent since the 2000 Census, to 49,379.

There also will be some concerns expressed by those on the trip. Blankenship said there is concern about wind energy, health care reform and proposed carbon regulations that will impact several areas of Enid’s economy.

City Manager Eric Benson said some of the newly elected commissioners are taking the trip, as are Fire Chief Phil Clover and Police Chief Brian O’Rourke. Both departments have received a number of federal grants to help purchase equipment.

“They have never gone, and I thought it was time,” Benson said.

The trips also will be good education for new commissioners, he said.

The group will sponsor a legislative reception March 9 with all members of the Oklahoma delegation in the House Agriculture Committee meeting room.

Blankenship said the list of who is attending is not complete, but the cutoff will be early next week to make hotel deadlines. Also attending are Mike Cooper, chairman of the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission and Vance Development Authority; Ernie Currier, chairman-elect of the chamber; Cheryl Evans, chamber chairwoman; Brent Kisling, executive director of  Enid Regional Development Alliance; John Little, chamber member; Don Roberts, of Autry Technology Center; Curt Roggow, government relations consultant for The Wind Coalition; and Bill Shewey, mayor-elect.

Also attending will be commissioner-elect Mike Stuber; commissioner-elect Tammy Wilson; Randy Waters, of Bank of Oklahoma; Cale Walker, field representative for Inhofe; Chris Bauer, city planner; city commissioner Drew Ritchie; and Jennifer O’Steen, assistant city attorney.

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