Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Fourth Reading: Jolley Fought the Good Fight

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Fourth Reading: Jolley Fought the Good Fight

Article excerpt

This week, state Sen. Clark Jolley did something I never would have expected of him.

He made me smile.

For the record, Jolley, R-Edmond, has authored many proposals I have disagreed with. From his budget ideas to calls for changes in the judiciary, the good senator and I have been on opposite sides of the political fence on many occasions.

This week, however, Jolley stood on the floor of the Oklahoma Senate and offered the perfect example of how to be a statesman. The issue was the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum.

Authorized by legislation in the 1990s, the center had become the political version of kick the can. Questions were raised about how the agency was managing its money and construction cost overruns. Many of Jolley's fellow Republicans raised hell. Gov. Mary Fallin called for an audit.

The audit was finished. No problems were found.

Another plan was developed. Last year, after devastating tornadoes hit Oklahoma, that plan was shelved. All the while, the center sat unfinished.

This year, however, Jolley, along with state Sens. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, and Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, had another idea. Jolley offered legislation to fund the center from the state's unclaimed property fund. Loveless worked with Senate members, hosted tours and helped answer questions. Treat, even though he voted against the bill, helped craft the legislation.

On Tuesday, the bill came to the Senate floor. Jolley stood and fielded numerous questions in a patient and thoughtful manner. For more than 90 minutes, he answered the center's critics. The questions were difficult and, at times, harsh.

Jolley remained cool and composed.

That afternoon, following a break for lunch, Jolley returned to the arena for more debate. Like the questions of the morning, the debate was difficult. Again, as he had earlier, Jolley remained composed and thoughtful. …

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