Some provisions of the $787 billion stimulus bill signed into law Tuesday by President Obama will be good for Edmond and Oklahoma, said U.S. Congressman Frank Lucas, at a reception Wednesday in his honor at the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce.
He wished Obama well for the tough set of economic challenges facing his administration.
Lucas said he would not have written the congressional stimulus bill the way House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had written it. But he acknowledged the nation needs a stimulus bill in the midst of a national recession.
“I will work with you as I worked with your member of Congress (Mary Fallin) and your U.S. senators that we will get our fair share,” said Lucas, who voted against the stimulus package.
Lucas said his goal is to keep Uncle Sam out of taxpayers’ pockets.
“Once we make the determination about what the resource base is going to be, when we bake the pie, then your legislative elected officials have responsibility to get out the sharpest knife, to work with you, to make sure we get the fairest slice,” Lucas said.
Edmond’s economic development is significant for Lucas, he said.
“Your community, your prosperity, your progress, your economic growth is important to me,” he said.
Edmond’s neighbors in Logan, Lincoln and Canadian counties are his folks and constituents, he said. And many of them drive to work in Edmond, he added.
“You are and have tremendous potential to continue to be an engine of economic growth,” Lucas said.
Businesswoman Patrice Douglas made several personal introductions of Lucas to a crowd of about 50 people.
“We are technically not his district, but we are clearly his fans,” she said.
Douglas, who has been a board member of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce and a past trustee of the Edmond Economic Development Authority, is running for mayor against incumbent Dan O’Neil in the general election set for April 7.
“Sometimes you have to have a forceful individual to make things happen,” Lucas said of Douglas’ persuasion of him to speak at the Edmond chamber.
The 3rd District Republican congressman praised the progressive partnership between the cities of Guthrie and Edmond in the cooperative development of the Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport.
“It’s impressive to see how well it worked out, how teamwork between communities with matching state dollars, federal dollars and local dollars can make such a difference,” he said.
Lucas spent part of his afternoon meeting with members of the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, who sponsored his visit to Edmond.
“We represent 36 cities in the state of Oklahoma,” said Cindy Holman, OMPA general manager. “And Congressman Lucas, he represents 21 of our cities.”
Lucas called the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Science Center in Edmond an amazing facility after his tour earlier in the day.
“I’m not so sure every teenager in America shouldn’t come see just how the science of law enforcement is, to make an impression,” Lucas said.
EEDA Chairwoman Mary Ann Karns said Edmond would be the best place for new forensic science standards to be set nationwide. “It would stimulate the economy and there would be jobs,” Karns said.
Lucas told The Edmond Sun that House members are still “digging through” the details of the 1,000-page stimulus package that Obama signed shortly after it came out of committee. One element with the potential to benefit Edmond and Oklahoma is infrastructure money for roads and bridges, Lucas said. He said details of the stimulus package will surface within the next couple of months.
“We all need to work very aggressively to make sure that every community that qualifies should be a recipient of whatever we can find in that bill,” Lucas said.
Everyday Americans can help instill confidence in their community by taking an aggressive interest, Lucas told The Sun. They need to support and become involved in community activities, city government, churches and school programs.
“City government is the most direct form of democracy we have in this country,” he said. “Your city officials are more accessible to you than anyone.”
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