Phil Nollan, 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.
"I'm used to being the guy in the background, doing the research. I know a lot of you out here in the audience already, and you know our background as a family. Maybe you don't know that I grew up in Tulsa and went to Tulsa Public Schools. I graduated and went to Oklahoma State University where I met my lovely, and through some miracle - I'm not sure how - I managed to talk her into marrying me, and we've been married thirty-six years ourselves.
What was neat about that is, she brought me back to Sand Springs at a home football game when John Blake was still playing football. When Barry Switzer was recruiting him I saw him in a big fur coat down on the sidelines. But what was neat about that was the home town feel that we had here in Sand Springs, in the stadium. When Jadine walked around, she knew everybody. That's something I didn't get in Tulsa. I said, 'Jadine, when we get married I want to move back to Sand Springs and I want to raise our kids here.' That's what we've done.
We have three kids, two grandkids, and we're blessed to have our two grandkids living close to us. I love being a papa, it means more to me than anything else.
Now a bit more about me and my career. I got a computer science degree at OSU when computer science was not the cool thing to get. I went to work for the oil and gas industry. I've been in the industry about thirty-five years as an information technology professional.
I'm a nationally-certified project manager. I think during my process of my early years I learned how to manage projects and programs, I learned how to lead teams, learned how to work on big IT budgets, learned how to deliver things as promised - on time and under budget.
My recent employment with EMC, I had to work with Fortune 100 customers like Chesapeake, Devon, Williams, Conoco, Phillips 66, OU, OSU, and a lot of companies here in Oklahoma. What I found in working with those companies is, they had big demands like I know this job has. Like I know the job that my wife has to do. Meeting those demands is not going to be easy, but you've got to keep your word. You've got to keep your promises, and you have to do the best you can do to make it happen.
You've got to develop relationships with people in the organization. You've got to develop relationships with the people up in the House, and in the Senate. You have to develop relationships in the business community and in the school community. I think that's maybe an advantage that I have a little bit at least in the Sand Springs and West Tulsa and Berryhill area, because I've knocked on a lot of the doors that Jadine's knocked on. I've heard the concerns of the people at the door.
The number one polling issue is education and education funding. That is the number-one polling. What's number two? The State budget. How do we fix the State budget. Then public safety and health follow that.
Those are the big issues, and they're glaring everybody in the face. Everybody has answers to them. There's a lot of opinions on both sides of the aisle. There's even opinions within the caucus itself, and that kind of fragmented everybody to try to come up with a solution this past year which we didn't come up with too many good solutions this past year.
My wife and I, we've served all our lives in the community. We enjoy serving. We're at a stage in life now where our kids are grown up. This is something that I could do full time. I could be your State Senator full time.
I have a personal passion for education. My wife was on the school board for eleven years. I worked closely with her behind the scenes doing research and working with the schools. Heck, I was on the committee that helped build the stadium that we have now after fifty-seven years of the rock stadium that we had before. What a great project that was for Sand Springs. Our new stadium that we have and the track out there and our fine arts center. Those are some of the things that we've done.
We've got a lot of good things happening in Sand Springs in our community business-wise with the Vision 2025 corridor, our parks, our quality of life projects have really stepped up. We've had a lot of new things.
I want to take that excitement and that energy to the State Capitol. I want to say there are a lot of great things we can do, all we have to do is get together. We've got to come together, we have to stop this bickering between the aisles. And really, the Republican caucus is so big, there's bickering within the caucus itself. Those don't all work good together.
I'm just excited to be here. This is so much fun. I've been on the sidelines for seven years and I've wanted to get in the game. Coach, call me in! And I haven't had a chance. This is an opportunity and I'd appreciate your vote on September twelfth."