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A senator’s parting thoughts



To the Republicans at the Capitol: Being entirely dismissive of the minority party’s views is just as toxic to good government as it was when the ruling Democrats did it. Little good comes from single-party rule — regardless of which party is in charge. Don’t become what you used to abhor.

To Republican voters in OKC: Many of you are much more moderate than you realize. This shouldn’t scare you. Oklahoma City’s dynamic growth over the past 20 years has come from a mixture of both conservative and progressive initiatives between city government and the private sector. The day soon may present itself that a centrist Democrat or independent candidate is more in line with your policy positions than a conservative Republican candidate.

To straight allies of Oklahoma’s LGBT community: The far right in Oklahoma cannot hold back the inevitable evolution taking place in regard to LGBT equal rights across America, even in this deeply red state. But your gay and lesbian sibling, colleague or friend needs you to step up publicly more often and affirm that he or she plays an important role in the mainstream culture and commerce of this city and state.

To Oklahoma Democrats: Despite what many in the local media say about the reasons for the demise of the Democratic Party here, we local Democrats bear little of the blame. What could we have done to stop right-wing talk radio and cable news, political activism from evangelical pulpits, and the political money from Oklahoma’s business community that all have effectively made the Democratic brand unacceptable to the state’s swing voters? I suggest holding your ground in the political middle, while elected Republicans try to outrace each other to the far right.

To public-education reformers: I trust you realize there is no easy fix. But I maintain much of the most important and difficult work to do is outside of the classroom, not inside of it. Kids from low-income families bring to the classroom a host of domestic, emotional and economic problems that can overwhelm even the most dedicated and experienced teacher. Check out Educare in south OKC, and learn how that facility creates stability for the entire family of the student.

To future candidates for the Legislature: Campaigning door-to door is a must. It does not ensure victory, but it’s very hard to win if you don’t do it. It will inoculate you well from your opponent’s attacks, and will build a unique trust between you and your future constituents. Plus, it will provide meaningful memories on those days at N.E. 23rd Street and Lincoln Boulevard when you ask yourself, “Why in the world did I do this to myself and my family?”

To my constituents: Thank you for entrusting me with the privilege and responsibility of being your senator for six years. I tried to match your fierce, independent-minded spirit in my day-today work. It was an honor to serve you.

And lastly: Go, Thunder!

Andrew Rice is a member of the Oklahoma Senate, representing District 46. He is resigning his seat Jan. 15 to move with his family to another state.

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