Oklahoma House Speaker Lance Cargill and former state Rep. Thad Balkman say a new "100 Ideas Initiative" will be used to lobby state legislators " but they won't say who is bankrolling them.
Unveiled at a January 2007 press conference at the Oklahoma History Center, the 100 Ideas Initiative seeks ideas from people all over Oklahoma, at its Web site, www.100ideasok.org.
"This is truly, I think, a think tank-type operation in the virtual world, to gather good ideas for our state, for everyone, not just a select few, not just those who have access to the halls of the state," Cargill said. "Instead of government dictating to the people, we will hear from the people directly."
Balkman said he wants Oklahomans from all over the state to send in what they believe to be their best ideas. But he suggested a few criteria. Ideas:
" Should be relevant to day-to-day life,
" Should help our state today and in the future, and
" Should not expand the role of government.
"We will begin the process of selecting the best ideas, and we will publish a book," Balkman said. "You will see constant updates on the Web site."
Balkman said these ideas will be presented to the Republican-controlled Legislature, of which Cargill is the House speaker.
PUT TO USE
Cargill said that not all the ideas would be used for laws, but for other governmental matters, as well. He said the ideas would be used to benefit private business as well from governmental programs.
"There are plenty of good things we can do with this state in collaboration with the private sector with the forms, agencies, commissions and others that will not necessitate an actual, legal bill," Cargill said. "Ben Fenwick
Q&A with Thad Balkman
Q: How is all this being funded?
A: This is a private venture. There (are) not any state resources being used. It will just be funded through private citizens of Oklahoma.
Q: Who are the funders?
A: Well, they are private citizens of Oklahoma. They are. "¦ I actually have no permission to divulge their names, but certainly they have given "¦ their agreement.
Q: This is a public venue "¦ why can't you tell us who they are?
A: I guess that's the difference between public and the private sectors. When something is private initiative, those things are "¦ private.
Q: But you are using public officials to carry this all over the country. Why can't you tell us who is paying for it?
A: We will pay our bills. Whether it's public or private, we will pay our bills. We don't expect anything for free or under the table.