Thank You! I Will Always Remember
Article Number 585: 04.28.2018
585 weeks ago, as the 2007 legislative session commenced, I wrote the first in this series of articles. This week, the 2018 legislative session ends. It's my last regular session as your state representative, and this will be the last in this series of articles.
Please do know that I have not taken for granted the many kindnesses that you have provided to me over the past twelve years.
You have continued to take the time to read my weekly emails or their newspaper article counterparts even though they are all-too-often a bit nuanced. Your kind words of response—both positive feedback and constructive suggestion—provided the encouragement and inspiration to keep writing each week.
Time and again, you said that you were praying for me. I absolutely believe in the value and the impact of those prayers and I cannot thank you enough for them.
You allowed me to continue serving you, even though I had no inclination to play the political game of trading votes. In fact, I always knew that I would disappoint you if I devolved into a politician who gauged success by the amount of other people's largess brought back to our district. I knew better than to break this trust.
It wasn't hard for me to represent and aggressively advocate for the values of innovation, transparency and small, constitutional, limited government. Voting was an easy and even an enjoyable task because I grew to know the values of the Oklahoma and Logan county constituency, and I always knew that I was representing those values with my votes.
You were a great employer, endowed with comity; consistent and predictable your views; and easy to work for and represent.
For the prerogative of working for you, I am most grateful. Your kindnesses have not been taken for granted or forgotten—and they never will be.
In 2015, I interviewed Rep. Murphey, after he again achieved the top score in the Conservative Index. Here is that interview.
Sooner Politics: You keep scoring so well in the Oklahoma Constitution's Conservative Index. How do you do it?
Rep. Jason Murphey: Well, thank you. I use a checklist for each bill that comes before me. It's really not that hard if you can learn to accept that your friends might not like how you voted. My duty is to ask myself what my own motivation is, and keep asking myself tough questions about what is motivating me.
The budget itself was incredibly irresponsible! We depended so much on one-time funding sources. Next year we may have about one billion dollars less than we appropriated this year. It was incredibly irresponsible!
Sooner Politics: Can you share that checklist with us?
Rep. Jason Murphey: Sure!
Sooner Politics: Are there any votes from this past session in which you wish you could recast your vote?
Rep. Jason Murphey: Well, I seem to recall one. It was a bill which dealt with insurance regulation. It went into great detail about how an insurance company deals with coverage of various medical treatments. After the bill went to the other house, one of the senators; I think it was Nathan Dahm?... anyway, someone got back to me and said the senator asked a great question about whether the state has a legitimate role in dictating which coverage an insurance policy must provide. I'm not sure where the bill ended up, but I recall how I, in hindsight, wished I'd done a better job.
Sooner Politics: Aren't there always going to be scenarios where more details emerge after the legislation is voted on? Where event, discoveries, and other developments lead you to wish the matter was reconsidered?
Rep. Jason Murphey: Oh, yes! And you have to just accept that reality.
Sooner Politics: What legislative developments are you most disappointed about, from this session?
Rep. Jason Murphey: The Bond Issues! Oklahoma is going further in debt and I really don't think the people realize this!
Sooner Politics: What else were you disappointed in?
Rep. Jason Murphey: The budget itself It was incredibly irresponsible! We depended so much on one-time funding sources. Next year we may have about one billion dollars less than we appropriated this year. It was incredibly irresponsible!
Sooner Politics: What about the law which prohibits counties and cities from restrictions on petroleum production techniques? That has to be a concern to your hometown of Guthrie?
Rep. Jason Murphey: Well, it was really bad timing. We finally saw a shift in the geological conclusions about what is causing the epidemic in seismic activity. Now that there is a better understanding about some injection well association in some areas, many in the industry are changing their practices on their own. Since 1935 the state policy has worked well. I don't think we needed to change it.
Sooner Politics: Wasn't it similar to how counties can set a burn ban if they are having a drought, without waiting for the governor's office to act?
Rep. Jason Murphey: That's an excellent analogy. If there's a drought in the panhandle, does it have to be a state government duty? Or can a county handle their problems more effectively?
Sooner Politics: What advice do you have for legislators?
Rep. Jason Murphey: Frequent introspection. Challenge yourself often. If you do, your legislative decisions will be very consistent. If you change, ask yourself why? But you have to provide the same representation you told your constituents you'd provide.