I insist on placing truth and transparency in governance above the mere appearance of unity. If House Republicans go into a special session being told that the appearance of a unified front is of utmost importance, we have set the stage for a week of compromise at the expense of the people we are elected to represent. I was not elected to compromise. I was elected to represent the individual Oklahoman and to stand firm on principle.
It was a foregone conclusion that the Democrats would claim gerrymandering in the redistricting process last week. Of course, we can use the map drawn in crayon by preschoolers and the Dems will claim gerrymandering so long as the Republicans are in the majority. I have no evidence to suggest staff was anything but honest and transparent in drawing the new lines.
However, it is troubling for the State of Oklahoma to redraw district lines based on data sent from the United States Census Bureau, without question! For us to do so suggests either an undeserved faith in a federal agency or an unwillingness to press for truth. It should be of primary concern, as is no secret, that the Census did not even require citizenship in its questionnaire and derived data. President Trump was in the attempt to change that when the political coup occurred. How can I approve a map based on counting illegal aliens for the purpose of apportioning representation?
Of further concern is that we can see with our own eyes that a significant population shift is underway in Oklahoma from urban to rural areas. Yet according to the federal census numbers, the urban areas have grown significantly! When I have questioned population changes based on my observations, I have been told that the low rural Census numbers are the fault of rural Oklahomans. Supposedly, rural Oklahomans in D2 gave 50% participation while urban D1 gave 67% participation.
Yet the US Census Bureau reports 99.9% counted in EVERY SINGLE STATE! First, as the purpose of the decennial census is to COUNT numbers of the population, how can the Census Bureau determine when 99.9% have been counted? Something smells fishy! The actual self-participation is much lower. In Oklahoma, it’s 61% participation. So how is nearly half of the data which determines our representation at every level being collected? By talking to neighbors and making assumptions!
If these participation numbers are accurate, then we have a serious problem in our state. Oklahomans are independent-minded supporters of government limited within its proper bounds. Independent-minded Oklahomans likely refuse to answer a census questionnaire that steps outside of its Consititutional responsibility of mere enumeration. Would the Census have higher participation rates among rural Oklahomans if it only collected numbers of people? And would urban population numbers be lower if illegal aliens were not counted along with citizens?
I question Census data for the same reason I question election data. I have a pretty good idea who is involved and what their objective is. I want Oklahoma to get relentlessly to the bottom of it to ensure accurate representation. Thus my NO vote.