State Insurance Commissioner John Doak honored (L-R) Jacob Maloney, 17, Caleb Maloney, 14, and Jake Kisling 14, for their efforts in helping the community following the May 24 tornado. Doak, and several other state and federal officials were in attendance for a legislative breakfast hosted by chamber and school board members.
State and federal government officials were in attendance for Thursday’s legislative breakfast, including a representative from U.S. Sen. Tim Coburn’s office that said the Oklahoma senator would be unveiling a “buffet-style” budget reduction plan next week.
“Sen. Coburn is going to release next week what I call a buffet of (budget) cuts,” Craig Smith, a representative with Coburn’s office, told the crowd. “It’s going to be $9 trillion worth of cuts for the next 10 years. We are going to lay it out for our citizens and colleagues, saying here are ways to make cuts and you can pick and choose like you are going through a buffet.”
Congressional leaders and the White House are currently involved in a debate on whether to raise the debt ceiling by Aug. 2. GOP leaders have argued that the debt ceiling should not be raised unless major cuts are made to the budget in an effort to reduce the deficit.
“There is a lot of political rhetoric…and there is going to be a lot of high drama,” Smith said, specifically addressing President Obama’s statement this week that social security checks could be delayed if the debt ceiling is not raised.
“You will hear a lot of comments like that but the reality is I think there is money available there to do some shifting and make our (payments),” Smith said.
A representative of U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas’ office was also in attendance and said the looming debt ceiling deadline was a concern because it could cause a government shutdown.
“Of course I don’t want that to happen as a government employee and I don’t think you should either, because it could affect things like social security, which the president mentioned,” Shawn McDavid said. “Likewise, we know trillion dollar annual debts are not sustainable.”
McDavid also said seven town hall meetings scheduled for next week across the state have been canceled as Congress will not be taking a planned recess in an effort to work out a deal with the budget.
State Insurance Commissioner John Doak spoke briefly and gave special recognition to a group of local students for their efforts in helping a Piedmont family clean up their property following the May 24 tornado. Caleb Maloney, 14, Jacob Maloney, 17, and Jake Kisling, 14, were issued a certificate of appreciation from the state insurance office.
“I think your community and your school should be very proud of these young men,” Doak said. “I have a son that is 12-years-old and I have told him about what you did. When we catch young men, or women, doing what is right we want to support them and let them know they can make a difference.”
Doak challenged the students to continue giving back to their community and possibly consider a future in public service.
Doak also said his office had been very busy in the recovery efforts of the tornado and that many new programs he helped establish were already making a difference.
“We established a Catastrophe Team…I think it is actually meeting the needs, making sure that things happen quickly,” he said. “We want to find better ways for debris removal and getting adjusters in here quickly. Getting boots on the ground to make a difference in getting your claims paid quickly is our goal.”
Also in attendance at the legislative breakfast were Sen. Ron Justice, R- Chickasha, Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher, Canadian County Commissioner Phil Carson, County Sheriff Randall Edwards and County Assessor Matt Wehmuller.
The legislative breakfasts are held quarterly at city hall and are hosted by members of the Piedmont school board and chamber of commerce.