Senate District 37 candidate R. Jay McAtee speaks at community forum

R. Jay McAtee, a Republican candidate for Senate District 37, spoke at the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Tulsa Technology Center Monday morning in Sand Springs.

The following is a transcript of his opening remarks. Candidates were given a five-minute time limit, followed by a question and answer session.

"My name is R. Jay McAtee. Today's my anniversary, I've been married to my wife thirty-five years today. I love you dear.

I'm a lawyer in Tulsa and a judge here in Sand Springs. I've been a municipal judge for fifteen years, it's taught me a lot. I've represented businesses and families for thirty-five years. I represent workers' compensation businesses and insurance companies, defending workers' compensation claims. 

I've been living in South Sand Springs (Prattville) since 1990. I live on Overholt Drive off 51st Street. Raised my two kids there, my wife and I did. We call Sand Springs home. I attend First Presbyterian Church, I'm a Clerk of Session there. I've been attending First Pres for sixteen-seventeen years. That's my church home.

That's who I am. Now why am I running for State Senate District 37? It's not for the money. I don't need it. I'm a successful attorney, I've got a good practice. My wife asked me 'why are we doing this?' I told her because I'm fed up of forty-eighth or worse. It's time I give something back to this state, and I think I've got the ability to do that. 

Just yesterday, what was in the Tulsa World? 'Deep-pocketed non-profits use dark money to sway Oklahoma elections.' Oklahoma is controlled by special interests. That's not right. We need to take Oklahoma back. We need to give it back to the citizens of Oklahoma. And I don't intend to let special interests dictate my vote. I truly believe that special interests have caused Oklahoma's problems.

The legislature needs to take the budget and make it their number one item on day one, February 8-9, 2018 and they need to not attend to any other business until that budget is addressed. Folks, you can't cut forever. I'm a businessman. You cannot cut down to the bone. If you get to the bone, you're done. So we have got to figure out how to meet Oklahoma's budgetary needs.

Gross production tax - yes I made the oil industry mad at me last week when I went in front of the State Chamber's lobbyists and I said this. First thing out of their mouth was 'where do you stand on gross production tax?' Well folks, the reality of it is, the horizontal drilling is robbing us. That horizontal gross production tax is for the first three years. You know what they get in the first three years? They get all that they're gonna get out of that well. 

The vertical drillers are paying 7%. They're getting robbed. And we're getting robbed by out-of-state interests - big oil - and it's time for them to step up and help fix Oklahoma.

We can't pay our teachers until we figure out how to do the budget. I am absolutely in favor of paying teachers. My mother taught in Laverne, Oklahoma, out in the panhandle thirty-plus years. She had her Master's in English. I believe in teachers. It's a profession just like lawyers, just like anything else. There's good, there's bad, there's mediocre, and there's excellent. I think teachers generally are excellent, because they're responding to a calling, and we need to support them.

We need to support roads and bridges, we need to do a lot of things, but none of it's going to happen until we have bold leadership that's ready to step up at the Capitol and say 'no, we are going to stop the special interests from dictating to Oklahoma what Oklahoma needs.' 

I hope I get your vote. We have a lot of good candidates running against me. It's gonna be a fun race."