District 10 developments

Ponca City Now - November 13, 2019 2:45 pm

By Sen. Bill Coleman

Having met with numerous groups in recent months, we’ve got a lot of exciting developments happening around Senate District 10.

I recently met with Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. Great things are happening with the tribe, thanks to the Chief’s efforts to get Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio to film “Killers of the Flower Moon” in Oklahoma.   The film, an adaptation of David Grann’s true-crime thriller subtitled “The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” is scheduled to begin filming next spring.  It documents the FBI investigation into the multiple murders within the Osage tribe during the 1920s after oil was found on their land. This is a promising project for the tribe and local communities.

I also recently attended a conference at Lake Skiatook about developing more property around Oklahoma’s lakes. It was great to have Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell in our district for this event.  We have so many miles of beautiful shoreline in Oklahoma, and we need to utilize that beauty to boost our local economies.

You’ve probably heard that Oklahoma has more shoreline than any other state, but unfortunately that may not be entirely true. There is no agency or organization that compares all kinds of shorelines (oceans, great lakes, ponds and lakes).

I was curious so I looked it up. According to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Oklahoma has approximately 3,000 lakes and ponds (10 acres or bigger), which includes more than 200 man-made lakes. The OWRB says that Oklahoma’s lakes and ponds total more than 55,600 miles of shoreline.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lists Alaska as the state with the most shoreline at nearly 34,000 miles, but that total doesn’t include any of their lakes or ponds.

Oklahoma has a lot of shoreline, and our lakes are one of the state’s top tourist attractions, so there is great economic possibility.  The buzz word is P3, Public Private Partnership – this is how government and private business can work together.  I’m looking forward to working with Lt. Gov. Pinnell, other state leaders and business owners to find more ways to utilize Oklahoma’s lakes and parks to boost tourism.

It was a pleasure speaking to the Osage County GOP in Pawhuska about the upcoming legislative session. I want to thank them for inviting me and their hospitality. Every time I’m in Pawhuska, I’m amazed at the license plates from all over the country (and even one from Canada).  It’s a great community with a lot to offer visitors.

I also attended the annual bison round up at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve this month. We’re grateful and owe a lot of thanks to the Nature Conservancy for their dedication and hard work protecting this precious ecosystem and the animals in it.  It’s always incredible to see them herd up 2,500 head of bison at this special annual event.

Great things are going on at the Stephenson Cancer Center on the campus of OU Medical Center.  I watched a presentation and learned how it’s highly recognized around the country for its state-of-the-art cancer treatment and research.

I’ve also met with members of Oklahoma State University’s Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) at the Capitol. Other members of the food industry who partner with OSU and this center also attended the meeting.  It was great to learn how this public/private partnership has been working for years and continues to flourish in Oklahoma.

Finally, I want to thank the Ponca City Association of Classroom Teachers for allowing Rep. Ken Luttrell and I to speak to them.  We aren’t finished with our effort to improve the education system in our great state.  Teachers, we thank you for your important work and dedication to Oklahoma’s youth and future. We won’t stop working for you.

Speaking of education, I also had a great meeting with the State Chamber concerning some ideas I have for promoting the teaching profession in Oklahoma.  The number of young people looking to enter this profession is continuing to dwindle, so we need to do all we can to boost it and assure youth that this is a rewarding profession.

You can contact me at the state Capitol by calling (405) 521-5581 or by email at [email protected]

 

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