Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Lawmaker Opposes Commissioner Doak's Use of State Aircraft

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma Lawmaker Opposes Commissioner Doak's Use of State Aircraft

Article excerpt

Saying he was concerned by recent actions taken by the Oklahoma Insurance Department, a state lawmaker said he would file legislation this year to prevent it or any other state agency from wasting taxpayer money on unnecessary travel expenditures.

State Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, said his bill would prohibit any statewide official other than the governor and lieutenant governor from chartering a state aircraft.

In a media statement announcing the bill, Coates said Insurance Commissioner John Doak is the only statewide official to charter the planes besides Gov. Mary Fallin and Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb.

The insurance commissioner, Coates said, has used the state aircraft to travel around Oklahoma to survey storm damage as well as attend speaking engagements and various meetings with citizens, insurance agents and community leaders. Coates said Kim Holland, the state's former insurance commissioner, didn't use the state airplane, nor has any other statewide elected official.

"There is no reason for state elected officials or agency directors to charter these aircraft and none of them have except Commissioner Doak," Coates said. "Commissioner Holland never used these planes and she was able to carry out her responsibilities to the people of Oklahoma. I realize that Commissioner Doak may need to go survey storm damage but as with past commissioners, he can ride with the governor or lieutenant governor. It's ridiculous that he has used the planes more than our lieutenant governor."

Coates said the Insurance Department is a nonappropriated state agency with a budget of monies paid by citizens and companies for various types of fees. …

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